“Blessed is the wealth of a person, from which he gives to poor, to orphans and to needy travellers.” (Bukhari)
Relief of Poverty for Chach Region via Education, Health and Welfare Programmes
The Chach (Abaseen Valley) is a region consisting of an alluvial plain extending from the Attock District of the Punjab, Southwest Pakistan to Topi-Swabi. It is bounded on the north and west by the Indus River, and is about 19 miles (31 km) long (from east to west) and 9 miles (14 km) broad. There are 87 villages in this relatively small but densely populated and the most disadvantaged region of Pakistan. There are three important areas to target in order to help the disadvantaged and the deprived section of the community: Education, Health and Food. Unfortunately, in Pakistan government provision and support are not always available to all, which means other voluntary agencies such as Sameera Foundation have to supplement the meagre official support. The school fee of a child in any Government school of Chach is Rs 20 per month (about £ 0.16 per month). We find that many parents in the villages cannot afford to pay this amount and are thus depriving their children of basic education. Similarly the school uniform of a child costs approximately Rs1,900 (about £15). Unfortunately many parents find it hard to buy uniforms for their children especially winter clothes. We are also aware of cases reported in the media of some students in Pakistan committing suicide due to the financial plight of their parents. There is at least one primary school in most of the villages but high schools are few and far between in this cluster of 87 villages. There are a total of 158 Government schools. Through its Educational Grants Programme, Sameera Foundation aims to reach and support deserving children, thus making a very significant difference to their lives. Free medical support is not available for the treatment of most of the citizens. We came across a number of poor children and adults who are suffering from chronic diseases but cannot afford to see a doctor or purchase the necessary medicines. The medical treatment for deserving cases including their medicines could cost about Rs 2500/- to Rs 5,000/- (£20 to £40). There are a few, very small basic hospital units in a few villages of the Chach area. The habitants need to travel several miles to visit a proper hospital of Hazro, Kamra or Attock City. The villages suffer from poor planning in terms of housing and infrastructure. Cars or other forms of transport cannot access many narrow and badly maintained streets making it very difficult to transport any trauma or disabled patient to the nearest hospital or bus station. This is compounded by an acute shortage of ambulances and wheel chairs. We estimate that by providing about 6-8 wheelchairs for every village could partially alleviate the problem of transport in this context. During the fasting month of Ramadhan annual distribution of food parcels and grants greatly helps in the sustenance of the needy. In the longer term the Foundation also intends to carry out charitable work in the local community by providing funds and means of raising the level of practical skills and thus improve the prospects of employment. A donor Trustee has offered a large piece of land for the construction of a Technical Training School for acquiring artisan skills such as plumbing, electrical, welding, masonry, decorating, woodwork, etc. This land is situated in Shamasabad near the main road within the central area of Chach. Another donor from UK has offered to donate about 4 to 10 kanals (about 5,000 sq m) in Shamasabad for the construction of a Female Welfare Centre, which will aim to equip the younger generation with the necessary skills for employment. The Sameera Foundation is formed to provide relief of poverty to help the under-privileged students, critically or chronically ill children or elderly citizens or people with disabilities living in the villages of Chach. We maintain transparency and accountability and perform charitable tasks according to the wishes and preferences of the donors. Each donor is informed at every step of how, where and on whom the money is/was spent. Our charitable works can be seen at the following link: www.facebook.com/sameerafoundation.