Pakistani students at Dalhousie University broke down cultural walls on Friday with a dance, dinner and fundraiser for Halifax's homeless.

It was called Mehfil: An Evening in Pakistan and it was a night to celebrate and learn about Pakistani culture.

The word mehfil means gathering and hundreds of people did just that, showing up for the dinner at the student union building.

It was the first Pakistani cultural event at the university presented by the new Pakistani Students Association.

President Salman Sajid said interest is growing in the culture.

Pakistani dancers

The evening included skits, poetry readings, music, dance and of course food. (CBC)

"People are actually interested now to learn about Pakistan and the kind of stereotypes that goes with Pakistan, it's changing," he said.

"That is one of the main objectives we have through events like these, that we're fun loving people, we're full of colours."

The evening included skits, poetry readings, music, dance and of course, food.

Growing community

Sajid said the night reflects the growing number of Pakistani students at Dalhousie.

"I'm from computer science so in my faculty, I was the only Pakistani in about 3,000 undergrad students so now the number is changing," he said. "In the last two years there have been more than 78 Pakistani students."


Pakistani food was a big part of the night. (CBC)

The night raised money for the Caring Human Association, a new group that aims to feed Halifax's homeless population. A portion of the ticket sales went to the group as did all the proceeds from a silent auction that featured Pakistani jewelry.

Rana Zaman from the association said it is about giving back to the community.

"Nova Scotia is a diverse community and it, I believe, enhances the best of everyone here and it's just wonderful when we come out and support one another," she said.

The Pakistani Students Association hopes to make the fundraiser and dinner and annual event.

"We are just like you," he said. We love to dance, we love to eat and you're going to see that."