Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For those who say it's not our war & Appeal for Donations

Photos from BBC website
by
Ghazala Minallah
I cannot get the image of the young wounded soldier lying helplessly in the CMH out of my mind. His thin bullet-riddled body was covered with bandages, and his face was sad. He was 21 years old, my son's age, and when I prayed for his recovery he asked me to pray for Pakistan. 'Pakistan hai to hum hain'. Another young soldier said that the nation was not being told the truth. The casualties were far more than those being reported. His grievance? That precious lives were being sacrificed in a war which most political leaders said was not theirs. Not a single government representative has ever bothered to visit the troops to boost their morale.I fail to understand that if my countrymen and women are being massacred, if my children are being killed and maimed, if my soldiers are coming home in coffins, then how is it not my war? Who are the people in the videos, cutting the throats of innocent citizens? Who was spewing poison in the FM broadcasts in Swat? Who is training young impressionable minds to blow themselves up in the name of God? Who challenged the writ of the state after the peace deal? Is Hakimullah an American, or was Baitullah a Jew, or is Fazlullah an Indian? And does it make any difference whether they are or not? For the mother who weeps over the ravaged body of her child, does the identity of the culprit matter? Were Mir Jafar or Brutus outsiders? Is it the name Taliban which is causing the problem? Are we really that stupid and naïve to fall for that argument?I request those who are confused about whose war this is to visit the bullet-riddled soldiers, the three-year-old daughter of Pervez Masih, the recently widowed Nasreen bibi in Lal Kurti, the hospitals in Peshawar where injured children scream in agony, and the graveyards where families have buried the pieces of their loved ones. These are the victims of a split second of madness. Does it matter what these murderers call themselves? Whoever they are, and whoever is behind them, they are traitors and enemies of Pakistan and Islam. Unless we recognise the enemy within, we will end up in history books as a nation that once was.





Donations for Blast Victims in Rawal Pindi/Islamabad Please call Ghazala Minallah: 0300 527 0330.
Contact: Maham Ali at maham.ali.05@gmail.com
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Urgently required for IDP camps in D.I.K for schools there, donate pencils ( lead and coloured) erasers, sharpners , copies, school bags, please contact Quatrina Hussain 0301-828-6168.
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Appeal for Peshawar blast victims
from Noor Donations
Dear all,
Recently Peshawar which is the provincial capital of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan has been under the grip of one of the worst terror attacks of its history. The new wave of terrorism that started on September 26, 2009 has claimed 205 lives, injured over 400 besides causing colossal material loss to the people. Peshawar, once known as a city of flowers and a home to centuries old cultural and historical heritage has become a mayhem of death, destruction for the last few months. The death and destruction continue unabated.
On October 28, 2009 a car bomb exploded at Cherri Koban Road between the densely populated Meena Bazaar and Koochi Bazaar. The car-bomb played havoc with human lives, killing 122 people, maiming and injuring over 250. The two markets mainly deal with daily use items for women. This was the reason that 33 out of 120 people killed in the deadliest blast were women and 12 children. Over a dozen people, including two couples, are still missing and are believed to have been killed and their bodies completely blown to pieces.
The people of Peshawar are yet to come out of the shock of the deadliest bombing in the city despite the passage of time. Those who lost their loved-ones in the worst terror acts are still in shock and trauma. Those who got the bodies of the victims have at least resigned to fate but there are others who continue to sit at the site suspended between hope and despair that they might find bodies of their dear ones as the removal of rubble at the blast sites continues at a snail pace.
The Meena Bazaar blast deprived several families of their sole breadwinners. A host of people have lost shelters and/or a lone source of their living or income as the area hit by terrorists destroyed the buildings that were serving both as residential facilities and shops.
The families which lost their breadwinners in the blast are worried about their survivals while those injured or maimed in the blast are in need of assistance to undergo proper medical treatment.
Our government is trying to deal with the crisis but is faced with several other issues and cannot meet the challenge of terrorism alone. It is time for us all—the members of the Civil Society—to rise up to the occasion, as witnessed previously during displacement of the internally displaced people from Swat and during the earthquake, to reach out to the affected people.
Numerous households are devastated by the recent inhuman and barbaric acts and are in dire need of help. Contacting all of them might take some time, but the media are reporting cases which can serve as a starting point for relief work. A group of individuals have decided to help the affected families by raising donations or some other kind of support for the above mentioned. A committee has been constituted with representation from different sections of the society to spear head the drive and seek your support and generosity.
Please contact anyone of the people whose names are given in the list for your own convenience or for the mentioned areas.
Ms Zubaida Noor –Peshawar for donations.
Email address : noor.zubaida@gmail.com
Phone: 091-5704802, 5703209. Cell # 03455560018.
Ms Rukhshanda Naz - Islamabad for donations.
Email: rukhnaz@hotmail.com ;
Cell # 03038872001
Dr Muhammad Salahuddin - Peshawar for medical support and donations.
Email: drsalah63@gmail.com, Cell # 0333-9163615.
Sehrish Khan for time input and donations.
Email: khan8798@yahoo.com
Phone: 091-5704802. Cell # 0334-5661366
Aftab Ahmad for media highlight and appeals for support and donations.
Email: aftabthenews@yahoo.com
Cell # 0301-8837677.
Hamza Saranjam for overseas donations.
Email: hamzasaranjam@gmail.com
Cell # +61420224068
Rahim Ahmad Khan Bangash for sending moneygram.
Email: rahim_ahmad@hotmail.com
NET Official Email: meraghar@brain.net.pk
Cell # +92-345-5560020
We appeal to the larger public to come forward and extend any kind of help possible to support the affected families by donating cash, in kind (goods, items) or even voluntary time to visit and console the families and show solidarity.
You can contact any member of the above mentioned committee for pledging your support or obtaining further information.
Direct cash donation can be sent to the given account number or send money gram in the name of the given person and address;
Bank details.
Account Name : Noor Donations
Account Number: 0224-79002497-03
Bank :Habib Bank Limited
Bank Address: Cantt Branch Peshawar, Pakistan (0224)
Swift Code: HABBPKKA224
Routing Code: 026007809
Moneygram details.
Name: Rahim Ahmad Khan Bangash
Address: House10, Hadi lane, Old Bara Road, University town Peshawar.
NIC: 14101-1067195-7
Check out the link for photographs of Meena Bazar bomb blast at;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2009/10/091028_pes_blast_pics_rh.shtml


UPDATE ON DONATIONS GIVEN BY US;

Rs 100,000 to Noor Foundation Courtesy Waltraud Torrorian 's friends in Austria for Rabia Shah

Rs. 30,000 Nasreen Bibi widow of Pindi Bank blast victim

Rs. 60,000 for 2 widows in Swat give to AIRRA

Rs. 30,000 Nusrat Jabeen, widow of the driver of Brigadier Moin Haider who was gunned down G 11, Islamabad

Thanks to Humaira Masihuddin, Mrs Nuzhat, Bushra Arbab, Rangez Shah, Farrah Ali, Faria and Abid Hassan, Helga Siddiqui & Bushra Shahid these donations were possible.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Diya - a Hero's Daughter

Text & Photos by Fauzia Minallah


Diya with her father Pervez Masih's photograph

Diya 3 and her mother Shaheen

Diya is only three, she is lost and has many questions about her father Pervez Masih. Pervez was a janitor at the International Islamic University. On the fateful day when IIU was attacked by suicide bombers, he was the hero who stopped the terrorist from entering the cafeteria for female students. Pervez lost his life, while saving the lives of more than 300 students.
He will always be remembered as a true hero by us. Diya will always be known as a hero’s daughter by us.


The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rehman Malik, publicly announced that his family will receive a compensation of approximately $10,000. According to his widow Shaheen and sister Perveen, so far, the family has not been contacted by anyone from his office. The IIU administration helped the family with Rs. 10.000 for the burial costs, employed his widow Shaheen as a sanitary worker and promised to help with Diya’s education. Other than that there has not been any help from anyone for Pervez’s family. The only person who has helped this hero’s family so far is a young student of Behria University, Maham Ali. She motivated her friends to donate funds for Pervez's family. She collected Rs. 52,500 and bought toys and clothes for Diya.
Maham and Diya.
We might be going through tough times, but even in this darkness there is hope. And for me that hope is in young people like Maham. She was our pillar of support by collecting funds for our effort in helping the internally displaced Pakistanis.

As a society we need to recognize our heroes, we need to rise above our prejudices and name streets, buildings and squares after Pervez Masih. So what if he was a poor Christian sanitary worker, he saved the lives of 300 Muslim students. Shaheen is happy that the IIU administration have employed her, but we should ask ourselves, is it fiiting for a hero's wife to remain at the bottom of the social ladder? Doing the most menial job?
At least on November 16th on the 'International Day of Tolerance', Maham was there to cheer up Diya- a hero's daughter.

Here is a CNN story on Pervez Masih:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/11/11/pakistan.hero/
Some letters to the editor in The News.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This is in response to the couple of letters (November 23) published as a follow-up on Maham Ali's letter of November 20. The letters have made allegations on Maham and Islamabad's civil society which are patently untrue. Maham has single-handedly raised over Rs50,000 for the family of Pervaiz Masih. Details of her work can be seen here (http://funkorchildart.blogspot. com/2009/11/diya-and-maham.html). In addition Islamabad's civil society, particularly Fauzia Minallah and Ghazala Minallah, has been actively helping people affected by Taliban atrocities. The writers of the aforementioned letters should have double-checked their facts before pointing accusatory fingers.Samad KhurramHarvard University,Cambridge, US
*****
This is with respect to the letters by Umayr Sahlan Masud and K Hussan Zia (November 23) in response to Maham Ali's letter on Pervaiz Masih (November 20). Maham had lamented the fact that the government has yet to come forward with any assistance for the family of Pervaiz Masih and any serious acknowledgement of his sacrifice in saving the lives of about 300 students at the Islamic University bombing. Instead of acknowledging her point, Umayr Sahlan Masud and K Hussan Zia have criticised Maham for being critical of the government and have asked why she herself did not start a fund for Pervaiz Masih's family by asking her fellow students for donations. I just want to set the record straight by pointing out that Maham has in fact been doing just that, and she has already collected over Rs50,000. So the criticism directed at her is rather unfair.
Aqil Sajjad . Boston

UPDATE ON DONATIONS GIVEN TO PERVEZ MASIH'S FAMILY

RS: 52,500 GIVEN BY MAHAM ALI AND HER FRIENDS

RS: 70,000 BY A DONOR WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, WHICH WAS GIVEN AS A RS.56,000 CHEQUE TO THE WIDOW AND RS.14,000 CHEQUE TO THE MOTHER OF PERVEZ MASIH

ANYONE WHO WISHES TO DONATE DIRECTLY: WIDOW SHAHEEN 0301 535 5933 MOTHER 0344 522 7253

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Helping Children in Crisis

Pakistan is going through testing times. In early 2009, the military operation against Talibans started in Malakand division, due to which nearly 2.5 million people were displaced. Funkor Childart Center, organised special activities with nearly 1500 displaced children, using art and book reading to exorcise their fears. In collaboration with Civil Society Islamabad we distributed relief goods to nearly 3000 displaced families in Mardan, Swabi, Dargai and Islamabad. We also provided relief goods to the minorities, Sikhs, Christians and Hindus who had to flee the area because Talibans had imposed a tax, 'Jizia' on non-Muslims.
Funkor plans to organise more activities for the displaced children from Waziristan, where the military operation has started recently.


Distributing books in Mardan Church.

Distributing books in Mardan Church

Art activity in Islamabad

Art activity in Mardan Church

Monday, September 14, 2009

Helping the traditional craftsmen

Some embroidery from Kanju, Shah Deri and traditional Swati shawls and scarves from Islampur and Fatehpur are available at Swat Valley Handicrafts, in craftsman village near Mobilink flower shops, F6 Islamabad. Thanks to the CDA, we helped a craftsman from Swat to get this shop, because his market was destroyed by the conflict in Malakand. It is a space specifically to promote traditional cratfs from Swat and craftswomen and men from Swat keep their hand made crafts in this shop for sale.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Artwork of students of Khushal Public School for Girls Mingora

by Nosheen Malik

Shajar-e-Ilm an emerging youth organisation, dedicated to promoting creative and progressive education throughout Pakistan, and creating networks of support for youth in the spheres of education and social activism, hosted a summer-retreat for 26 girls from Swat Valley from 14th to 20th August 2009. For more information please visit http://swatvalleygirls.com/

To hold this retreat, Shajar i ilm collaborated with a respected and progressive educationalist from Swat Valley, Ziauddin Yusufzai, who has been working selflessly for female education in Swat Valley despite tremendous opposition and threats. The award winning New York Times documentary “Class Dismissed in Swat Valley” documents his tireless efforts, which is available for general viewership on the New York Times Website.
http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/02/22/world/1194838044017/class-dismissed-in-swat-valley.html

As a healing experience for the girls of Swat Valley who suffered tremendously over the past few months Fauzia Minallah organised a painting activity, 'Painting Colours of Education', in which these promising young girls painted their hopes and aspirations about education.
They painted a mural as well, in which they depicted three girls, one in a black 'Burqa' who dreams of going to school, 'If only I could learn' is written next to her. Two girls are depicted in school uniforms with one holding a placard of 'IQRA' a word from the Holy Quran, highlighting the importance of education for both boys and girls. They wrote messages i.e
It is a duty of all Muslims to Educate themseves!
No one can Stop our Education!
Rebuild Our Schools!
We love Pakistan!



These young girls and thousands of girls in Swat have experienced immense trauma. They have seen violence of terrorism and war, shelling and bombing of their homes and destruction of their schools. For these promising young girls progressive individuals like Ziauddin are a ray of hope. His school Khushal School for Girls, Mingora needs help from all those who believe in enriching the lives of hundreds of girls who are enrolled in his schools with the gift of education. Against all odds he kept his schools opened, but three months of conflict made it impossible for him to pay salaries to his teachers. On urgent basis teachers have to get paid for 3 months the school remained closed due to the conflict. parents are not in a position to pay for the salaries. Private intiatives such as Khushal Public School need to be supported for a brighter future for children. Whoever wants to donate should do so in the following bank account:

Khushal Public School
Askari Bank Mingora,
Account No. 61 01 01 00 48 07 Current Account.

THANKS TO FOTON BUS SERVICE FUNKOR CHILDART CENTER DONATED RS. 100,000 WHICH WILL BE ENOUGH TO PAY FOR 3 TEACHERS' SALARY FOR 3 MONTHS. KPS NEEDS MUCH MORE THAN THIS DONATION INORDER TO PAY ALL THE TEACHERS.


Madiha Syed, Ghazala Minallah and Sara Mehmood Akhtar distributed Rs. 500 among all the girls to buy gifts for their parent.
Funkor Childart Center gifted paints and canvas to the young artists at Khushal Public School, for an art exhibition on 'Peace' held in Mingora on the occasion of International Day of Peace.

video

Monday, August 17, 2009

Artwork of Internally Displaced children




Fauzia Minallah, an artist who has encouraged the children to draw and paint, says they need help to exorcise their fear of both the Taliban and of army shelling...Barbra Plett, BBC
To read the article click on the following link:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8079496.stm

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Visiting Mardan Church

by Tajrin Midhat

Tajrin Midhat with Christian children in Mardan

Sometimes I wonder who we are. It’s perhaps not so facile a question to be perceived by the mind that utilizes only one percent of its ability to think. For the mysteries of the universe and our existence within, is not a matter as self-explanatory as we may like to think with our limited intellect.


But what really is the significance of man in this limitless universe, in which there are far more galaxies than people? The vastness of the universe is incomprehensible. The starry heavens above us, the celestial order, and the imagination that can take one places that are magical…I am barred by my limited perception to explain something that my mind is incapable of fully perceiving.


And back on ground, there is Gojra, so much for man being the microcosm of the universe. What have we learnt from history? What has science and technology given us except a mathematical precision guaranteeing the accuracy of targeting arsenals at those who have taken no part in this course of modernity? Cynical, and disturbed, yes my thoughts are, but they only epitomize the hollowness of the times that we are living in.


The ‘Internally Displaced People’ are supposed to be the subject here, a term that evokes nothing but a feeling of indifference perhaps. No matter how disconnected it may sound from the reality of those who come to be defined under this term, it is yet another example of how the powerful has dictated the life course of the weak, the dominated, the suppressed. It’s not a story of today, but a fact that represents the primitive instinct of man to dominate, to control territory, exposing the dual face of globalization.


The Christian IDPs in Mardan are yet another story, same old story, we should say of a people whose lives are turned upside down by a political upheaval, not based on any ideology but that of relentless materialism, a war in which there is serious money involved. The uprooted victims are of course struggling well, for what choice do they have but to go on living, living for the sake of just living, perhaps in hope of a better tomorrow, not knowing perhaps that those in power are too blinded by the temporary pleasures of the world to abide by any universal principles of justice and righteousness.


We happened to visit a part of Mardan that has long been buried in some deep dark corner of the city’s soul. The 120 years old church built in the colonial time stands still. How indifferent is the land to the fate of the creatures that inhabit it. Those rulers are gone. The trees remain there, alive; they have survived the vicissitudes of time.


Perhaps it is only nature that takes a just course, whether it’s the ruins of a bygone power in the deserts of Egypt, or the lost glories of a sunken empire, time levels all. For in the end we are all made of the same clay and shall return to it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It was Beautiful! Art Activity by Funkor in PODA IDPs Resource Center





Funkor Childart Centre distributed 40 ' Amai & Sadako Gifts' among children.


By Afshan Bibi and Nazia Taj

Funkor child Art is an organization works with children for art activities. They visited Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) IDPs Resource Center, at Pirwadahi Rawalpindi.
They facilitated children to make a mural. 38 children participated in this activity. Children were divided into two groups. Then Miss Nosheen Malik asked them to make beautiful environment on white cloth. Children were provided with painting material.
Pirwadahi, the slum area of Rawalpindi has the world’s most beautiful mind like any where else!!! Proved by Art Activity by Funkor. Children were enthusiastic extremely happy while painting trees, butterflies, flowers, sun, moon and houses the white cloth turned into a beautiful painting. Later on juices,biscuits, painting colors and drawing copies were distributed among children.
Thank you Fauzia Minallah and we wish you all the best!

Afshan Bibi and Nazia Taj work for the Potohar Organization for Development advocacy (PODA)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Helping Internally Displaced Christians in Mardan

Northern Diocese, Sarhadi Lutheran Church, Mardan
We donated Rs 50,000/- to the IDP fund of the Church and distributed Rs. 3000 each among 50 displaced families now staying in the church and with host families.

Nearly 30 displaced Christian and a few Hindu families are staying in tents outside the church, the others are staying with host families.
Bishop Peter Majeed asked us to paint the mural with children in the church.

Painting a mural in the church.


Hamid Shah distributing the gifts among children.
Gifts were opened and the drawing copies and coloured pencils were put to use.


Mary proudly showing her drawing.


Sonia showing her drawing to Sara
Artists who painted the mural............. Michel
Shalloo
Nikaash

Naina

Raakesh

Simran
Anil

All the artists recieved a copy of 'Sadako's Prayer'

Learning how to play Ludo game we gave as a gift.
An officer from the Social Welfare Deptt, Hamid Shah and Jehagir Toru checking the I.D cards of the displaced.


Tajrin distributed Rs 3000/- each among 50 families, on our behalf.

Bishop Peter showed us the historical monuments of Mardan.

and a beautiful church built in 1880's. Its foundation stone was laid by the wife of Governor of Punjab Mr. Aitcheson.
It has amazing stained glass windows.

Thanks to Bishop Peter, Major Asad and Jehangir Toru we were able to see this historical side of Mardan. It is impossible to see this beautiful old church without the permission of the Army as it is situated in the restricted Army Cantonment area. It is locked, the keys are with Bishop Peter it is indeed a pity that people cannot visit this place freely. We are extremely grateful to Shahida Bibi of Hoti Foundation who helped us in the orderly distribution of cash.
THANKS TO FOQIA SADIK KHAN, SHAHRUKH KHAN, TAHIRA ABULLAH'S FRIENDS AND FAMILY M. Bilal (London) & Mona Nana & HUMAIRA MASIHUDDIN and her friends and family Asma Siddiqui, Ayesha Mohd, Farzana Ansari, Bitto Baji WE WERE ABLE TO HELP THE DISPLACED CHRISTIAN AND HINDU FAMILIES, WHO ARE ONE OF THE MOST MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES OF PAKISTAN