Lahore, 14 Sha’ban 1436/1 June 2015 (MINA) – Amid preparations for the holy fasting month, Pakistan’s 13 leading Islamic charities and conventional NGOs have set up Pakistan Orphan Care Forum (POCF) to launch a countrywide orphan care program from the 15th of Ramadan.
“15th Ramadan will be observed as Orphan Day across Pakistan in line with an OIC declaration, to renew our commitment for the welfare and care of over 4 million orphans in the country,” Abdul Shakoor, the President of Al-Khidmat Foundation, the country’s largest Islamic charity, told OnIslam.net.
The decision to launch the joint orphan care program was taken at a meeting of 13 NGOs in Islamabad in order to combine the unilateral efforts made by respective NGOs in this regard, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The NGOs included prominent Al-Khidmat Foundation, Edhi Foundation, which runs Asia’s largest ambulance service, Helping Hands, Qatar charity, an NGO run by Qatar-based Pakistanis, Muslim Aid and Muslim Hands. Abdul Shakoor was elected as convener of the POCF.
A four-member steering committee has also been set up to evolve a comprehensive strategy within the next week and then monitor implementation on the much-needed program.
“This is a huge development as all the major NGOs, no matter which ideology they belong to, have joined hands to put in combined efforts to provide food, shelter and education to hundreds of thousands of orphans in the country who are looking towards us,” said Shakoor, whose Al-Khidmat Foundation has already been running “Agosh” (shelter) program for thousands of orphans in the country.
“There are duplication in several programs (for orphans) being run by different NGOs in the country. This duplication leaves many areas untouched. That’s why we all (NGOs) have realized that a combined effort can yield much better results, and eradicate duplication,” he added.
“This is very encouraging that representatives of all the 13 NGOs have vowed to work together for this great cause,” he added.
Shakoor appears to be optimistic about the success of the proposed project, saying that the Pakistani society has always “generously” supported such programs.
“By and large, our people are philanthropists. The only thing they require is trust and authenticity,” he said.
“BY the grace of Allah, all the NGOs that have forged this alliance, are well-reputed and have a history of commitment, and dedication.
“The NGOs like Al-Khidmat Foundation, Edhi Foundation, and others have been working in this field for decades, and the people of Pakistan trust them,” he said, adding that funding for the project will not be the major issue.
“Yes, we do require funds, which [is an essential ingredient for non-governmental charities. But these charities have already been getting funds from different segments of society. The actually advantage of this alliance will be the coordination.”
The NGOs’ efforts will be divided on various sectors to guarantee better coverage for orphans needs.
“One NGO will be assigned the task to take care of education sector, while another will be looking after food and shelter, and yet another can impart technical skills to these children so that they can stand at their feet,” he maintained.
“Unfortunately, the government and the political parties have more important issues (compared to paying attention towards orphans) to deal with. I agree that the government is prime responsible for that, but this cannot be an excuse for us, as an individual or as a society”.
“If they are not doing this, we will do that because they are our own children,” Shakoor vowed.
Pakistan has been hit by floods, torrential rains, and earthquakes during the past decade, rendering thousands of children as orphans.
The worst-hit areas were mostly in northwestern Khyber Pkahtunkhuwa (KP), southern Sindh provinces, and Azad Kashmir, besides killing nearly 100,000 people, and causing a massive devastation.
Though there are no official statistics, surveys conducted by NGOs estimate that there are 4.2 million orphans across Pakistan and their numbers have considerably increased due to recent natural calamities. (T/P011/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)