Making a difference…

Published Us Magazine, The News International. April 16th, 2010.

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Thanks to the plethora of bad news that engulfs us, the positivity very often goes disregarded. For one, we are one of the largest charity giving nations of the world – third from the top according to some sources. Though there are a variety of charity organizations in the country, some among them outshine the others owing to their inventiveness and revolutionary schemes; this article underlines some of them. However, such organizations rely profoundly on public support and it comes down to us to help them sustain their noble work. Here’s being grateful to them for striving for a brighter tomorrow and making us proud.

10# Edhi Foundation:

If Calcutta had a Mother Teresa, Karachi has even better: Abdul Sattar Edhi. Practically no article about charity in Pakistan can be considered inclusive without the mention of Edhi Foundation. A heart of pure gold, love for the poor and an equally compassionate wife is what makes Edhi the noble phenomenon that he is. The organization now boasts of 300 centers around the country, and is the pioneer of instigating the use of air-ambulances in South Asia. Offering a virtually infinite number of services, the foundation relies heavily on volunteers and donations, which of course come too eagerly given the repute of the foundation. Hailing from the illustrious Memon community, Edhi’s first ‘call’ for charity came during the era of chagrin that followed 1947 when he single-handedly rushed through the streets of Karachi in his private vehicle, providing aid to the destitute immigrant. There has been no looking back since. To this date, the foundation has saved over 20,000 abandoned babies and nurtures 50,000 orphans. The foundation has also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest volunteer ambulance organization in the world. A proud winner of three international and eight national awards, we hope that future has in store for Edhi the Nobel peace prize.

9# WWF Pakistan:

Given that many people in our country strive for basic amenities, environment and wildlife often go ignored. Yet, this cannot undermine the importance of the conservation of our environment, and the WWF Pakistan holds that. Formed in 1971, the organization has its head office in Lahore, and another thirty regional offices. There are about 23 projects in progress, which range from the conservation of high altitude wetlands to the restoration of species of Oriental white-back vultures. In addition, the organization also monitors 14 national parks throughout the country and protects them. WWF Pakistan occasionally arranges competitions to impart education about the environment and its conservation. It also prints a quarterly magazine, ‘Natura’ with the mission of promoting a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. You can either become a member, donate or volunteer for this exalted cause.

8# Sungi Development Foundation:

Another active charity organization which has made it to our list is the Sungi Development Foundation, with a flamboyant and wide spectrum mission. The winner of six different awards by Pakistan Poverty Alliance Fund, the foundation works in several arenas. From campaigning against gender violence to helping the victims of the Balochistan Earthquake; from developing the skills in the disabled to empowering women, Sungi does it all. Predominantly based in NWFP and Kashmir; the development work of the foundation reaches far and beyond. The foundation also promotes the traditional handicrafts of the region and through this program; it creates a livelihood for the marginalized communities; and has won the UNESCO’s seal of excellence for its products in 2007. In the IDP crisis that hit us last year, Sungi emerged as one of the most active organizations. The various informative and educational publications of the foundation can be availed on its website. Recently, Sungi won the Social Performance Reporting Award, 2009.

7# Zindagi Trust:

Very few are the people who redefine charity, to the appraisal and revelation of others. Shehzad Roy did just that. In a country where Child labour is on an incessant rise, education becomes a rare commodity. Shehzad Roy’s NGO, ‘Zindagi Trust’, attempts to impart education to all. Through its inimitable concept, ‘I am paid to learn’, the organization gathers a group of working children in rented schools in the afternoons for education, and pays each pupil a weekly sum of Rs. 50, for which they otherwise, have to work and shun education. Currently, over 2800 students have been enrolled in its various schools. Canadian Music sensation Bryan Adams also praised Roy for his trust’s innovative idea when he came to Pakistan. Of late, Shehzad Roy has also started a program to reform the government schools, so as to bring them at par with the best private institutions of the country. Roy has been awarded with the ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’, as recognition to his humanitarian efforts. The various methods through which we can help are enlisted on the website but the easiest one is to send a blank message to 137.

6# Make A Wish Foundation:

This organization which sprawls over 33 countries and has granted wishes to more than 250000 children internationally recently came to Pakistan, and is helping our little angels realize their last wishes. The foundation serves children suffering from medically threatening disorders in the age group of 3-18 years. The wishes of the Pakistani children have been innocent and charming so far. Two children from inner Sind suffering from leukemia and tuberculosis wanted to witness the sights and sounds of Karachi. Another girl wanted to have a TV so that she could keep herself engaged while undergoing treatment for hepatitis C. Some other children expressed their desire of meeting television celebrities like Saher Lodi, Danish Nawaz and Dr. Shaista Wahidi. The organization with this touching idea needs our support, encouragement and monetary assistance.

5# Ansar Barni Welfare Trust:

Born on August 1956, Syed Ansar Ahmed Barni is the pioneer of Human Rights in Pakistan. An advocate by profession, he set up ‘Ansar Barni Welfare Trust’, ‘Prisoners Aid Society’, and ‘Bureau of Missing and Kidnapped Persons’ in Karachi in the year 1980. Even in student life, Ansar Barni was imprisoned two times in consecutive years for raising his voice for human rights boldly. It was in the jail that he met many guiltless people with miserable conditions. Therefore, he decided to help such people through his non-profitable and civil rights organization. Till present, he has been successful in releasing about 700000 illegally imprisoned persons. More to his credit is the appointment of 84 people in various jails and asylums to look after the mental patients and prisoners, and tracing of 100000 kidnapped children. As recognition of his efforts, Ansar Barni has been awarded with more than 200 awards and medals. On 23rd March, 2002, he was awarded the prestigious ‘Sitara-e-Imtiaz’, making him the first person to achieve it in Pakistan from the field of Human Rights.

4# Rozan:

We are all well familiar with the psychologist who provides counsel and relief to the victims of child abuse through the ‘In your Aangan’ section in this magazine. However, this is not it to Rozan; there a lot more. Based in Islamabad, the NGO predominantly voices for the rights of women, children and youth. There are four active programs at Aangan contemporarily, each with its discrete mission. Aangan: which centers on child sexual abuse; Zeest: which is concerned with violence against women; Youth helpline: working on emotional and reproductive health and Raabta, Rozan’s police training program. Rozan also holds various workshops, training programs and seminars to impart general awareness regarding various issues to the pubic. In addition, it also promotes this vigilance through different publications, many for each program, and most of which are given free of cost on request. Volunteer or support this serious NGO doing a lot of vital, serious work on emotional heath, gender and violence.

3# SOS Children’s Villages of Pakistan:

Since this international welfare organisation came to Pakistan, it is adamantly bent upon achieving its goal: homing the orphans and abandoned children. However, it is not done in the traditional orphanage way. The SOS Children’s villages of Pakistan provide each child with a family, and provide them an environment like home. It also pledges to pamper, nurture the child, supplies him with efficient education and then also provides basic job training. Internationally active in 132 countries, it also has emergency relief programs. Its major projects include children villages, youth homes, Hermann Gmeiner schools, vocational training centers and rural support programs. Currently, the villages are present in eleven cities across Pakistan, and the organization hopes to enhance its network.

2# Smile Again:

According to a New York Times report, acid attacks on women in Pakistan are on an all time high currently, and constitute a considerable chunk of the offences against women. Most of the victims either commit suicide or have to suffer wordlessly. Depilex owner Mussarat Misbah took an initiative by devising a simple yet radical formula to help these affected. Through the Depilex Smile Again Foundation, she not only provides medical treatment and physiological and psychiatric support to the patients, she also assures that the future of these women be secured. She has sent many of such women abroad for vocational training and herself hires them in Depilex salons, providing them an upright living. This wasn’t easy. At first, many of her clients didn’t buy the idea of being entertained by physically disfigured beings. Misbah’s dignified perseverance, however, paid off. Her foundation is also active in spreading awareness about this felony, ultimately leading to its obliteration, or at least reduction. Help her to bring the smiles back.

1# Hashoo Foundation:

Annually since 2005, the BBC puts together the World Challenge, a competition that aims to limelight the innovative social projects globally and awards them a fund in approbation of their gracious work. It is a quite interesting, although meagerly known fact that in 2008, the winner was none other than very own Hashoo foundation, for its ground-breaking project ‘Plan bee’. Through this project, the women of Gilgit that had adopted bee-keeping as a calling for earning bread were facilitated as the foundation bought the honey from them at international price and sold them in proper markets, which otherwise would have been impossible for these women, given the conservative environment and inaccessibility to developed cities. Previously, even if the women could find a clientele, they weren’t paid deservedly. Besides this project, the foundation has various other projects in motion, and it hopes to evolve from a charity based NGO to a leading development NGO. The foundation on the whole focuses on economic development, education and skills development, special needs, and social welfare and emergency relief. Having proved its mettle in the country, it is rapidly winning acclaim, friends and supporters on the international front. This, and more, has made the Hashoo foundation our sure shot winner.

 

– Most of the information has been taken from the websites of these organisations.

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