Bars demonstrate an increase in the Paani Ramadan Project's fundraising efforts from 2020 to 2022.
Design by Reid Graham

This year, Paani, the volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to uplifting communities in Pakistan that are impacted by the water crisis, has raised about $1.53 million to fund their projects. Water availability per person per year in Pakistan is declining due to climate change and the rising demand for food production. Paani’s fundraising efforts occurred during the month of Ramadan, a holiday celebrated by millions of Muslims worldwide. Their Ramadan campaign was reported to have raised $905,155 in 2021 and approximately $250,000 in 2020 to provide food and clean drinking water in Pakistan.

University of Michigan alum Sikander “Sonny” Khan, one of the founders of the organization, said that Paani’s efforts have created a bigger global impact since its launch in 2017 by U-M students. 

“It started off in an effort to, obviously, leverage our opportunities and resources to create a greater global impact,” Khan said. “It quickly grew into something more because there was so much support and love for the transparency of our work. Because of the way that we operate, we make sure that we keep the donor and the people that are part of the experience in the experience by sending them photos, sending them videos, sending them location details.”

Khan said Paani raised over $3 million in total within the past three years of fundraising during Ramadan. Khan said that Paani plans to expand their charity efforts outside of Pakistan, particularly in countries in Western Asia and Africa. 

“Now, we (have) reached over 10,000 water wells built (in Pakistan and other regions) and we also were able to expand into other countries and other adjacencies, such as providing food support,” Khan said. “We’re actually launching our first school in the next two months and we’ve also started other projects to support homeless people.” 

Khan said he looks forward to making more progress on global issues with Paani’s initiatives on global issues with Paani’s initiatives and reflected on Paani when it first started as a student organization at the University.

“It’s been super cool to see the growth of something that started at the University of Michigan now getting the whole world engaged,” Khan said. “In our first year, we raised $600, and that was just as students at the University of Michigan. And quickly, now we transformed, where we’ve been able to raise over a million dollars in a single month.”

U-M alum Shewar Ibadat, Director of Finance for Paani, discussed how Paani has extended its support for building water wells to other causes, such as food. This year’s fundraiser was the third time Paani raised money during Ramadan. 

“So this time, we focused a lot on different causes and more specific causes,” Ibadat said. “While the last ones have been more towards just water in general, because that’s the main aspect that we were started on to provide clean water, as we have grown a lot more we’ve been given or have access to more resources to help with more stuff other than water.” 

Rising LSA senior Shayaan Aqil, creative director of Paani, said he looks forward to Paani continuing to expand its outreach and project efforts in different world regions.

“I believe it’s always good to keep furthering your expectations,” Aqil said. “We always want to keep building upon our previous efforts and pushing the limit to have the greatest amount of change that we can.”

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