HOUSTON: The family of a high school exchange student from Pakistan who was killed in a Texas school shooting have started a foundation to honour her memory through providing university scholarships to low-income Pakistani women.
Sabika Sheikh, 17, was killed in a May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston that left 10 people dead and at least 13 others wounded.
Her parents, Abdul Aziz Sheikh and Farah Naz, have created the Sabika for Peace Foundation to expand educational opportunities for those most in need.
“I’m always worried that we might forget (Sabika),” Farah Naz, the mother, told the Houston Chronicle during a Zoom interview with the family from their Karachi home. “But starting this foundation I know this is impossible. I know if I continue working with the foundation, she will always be with me.”
The foundation has partnered with several prominent nonprofit organisations, including the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and the American Council for International Education.
ACIE, the American Institute for Foreign Study and the International Education and Resource Network are also contributing a $300,000 seed grant to initiate the foundation. The nonprofit organisation will help provide scholarships to fund university studies for low-income Pakistani women, particularly those with civic engagement aspirations.
“The Sabika for Peace Foundation will start by focusing on scholarships for universities in Pakistan, but it will expand to providing exchange opportunities for American schools so that the connection and ties with the US continues,” said Sania Sheikh, Sabika’s sister.
“I think my sister spent the best days of her life in America,” Sania Sheikh said.
The foundation will be run by a board of directors, which will comprise representatives from the Sheikh family and four independent members selected by the family in consultation with the partners.