I once read a quote by Albert Schweitzer. He quotes:
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
Those lines, if understood, would shudder you from the inside because in this world of materialism its real hard to find such pearls of humanity wanting to selflessly work for the suffering. Talking about our very own Motherland, we find many who are there to be critical about the system, status quo, rising poverty and deficiency but not many who would stand up and say, Yes I will be the agent of change. Luckily enough, I met a group of such monomaniac volunteers on Oct 13th, 2013 at the NICH (National Institute of Child Health) and just that experience made me believe that we can never afford to lose such precious resources. Those of you reading it would be like why I, being this whole spokesperson of volunteerism took so long in posting about it. Well, sometimes life and laptops betray you real bad. Thankfully its back on track now and I can write all about those who chose the road of Making A Difference. How did I ended up meeting them? Its an interesting story as well but to cut it short, all I can say is that when Allah wants to spread a message out, He makes His own ways for it. So, I being a part of the Revolution Flame community, got assigned to cover a charity based event of Roshni Trust in collaboration with Patients Helping Hands (PHH).
Before this, I never had a visit to NICH. The hospital itself, although being a Government one, is not in a very good state and that might not come as a surprise to anyone having information about the declining condition of the Government hospitals throughout the country. Pakistan's health care system is inadequate , inefficient and expensive. These poor conditions in the health sector may be attributed to a number of factors like poverty, malnutrition and unequal access to health facilities. That serves as a cause for the needy to be deprived of financial resources and also lack access to secondary and tertiary health care services. I can seriously go on and on about the disastrous health sector but that would do nothing except spreading more hopelessness. Getting back to the topic, My first introduction was to the Project Manager (name hidden on request of anonymity) The reason he has for remaining anonymous is because he wants to be remembered by his work and not by his name. Interestingly in our country it is a wide-spread idea that to start an organisation, especially a charity based one, the initiator needs to have big bucks in his bank account, should have crossed atleast 40 or can see that Allah is about to call him. Thankfully, neither was the case with the initiator of Roshni Trust as he is a young zealot optimist. Talking about placing the foundation of this beacon of hope, Mr. Project Manager told me that he along with his group of friends was already involved in the the volunteerism circle and were a very active part of it. But there was a voice, a call in their hearts to step forward and do more. At the beginning, it may seem just a drop in the ocean but that drop is of utmost importance because the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. That put them all into action and hence the foundation of Roshni Trust was laid on March 8th, 2012. Since then, the young lot is vigoursly moulding the present into a future of which we can all be proud.
A volunteer leader's personal passion for the group's mission is contagious and it motivates. That was very apparent among all the volunteers working under the shrewd guidance of their progenitor. The group had already had all the preparation done despite of the problems they faced a day back due to unavailability of stuff and electricity. Cartons of goodie bags were already packed and ready as well as the whole strategy as to how they would be distributed. It was evident that the patients there are children suffering from life-threatening diseases experiencing an intensely stressful time and their parents are in need of an emotional support as well. Volunteers were refrained from just giving away goodie bags like a mere task. Instead, they were advised to play an active role in significantly reducing patients and their parents stress through effective communication. Listen to their problems, convey warmth and understand the issues they are facing. So under the exemplary guidance and governance of Mr. Project Manager, the volunteers went floor to floor around the hospital distributing goodie bags to children and spending some quality time with them and their parents. As a person monitoring all this, I saw some real exemplary moments which at times made me and others there teary eyed. Children as young as age of 4,5, 8 etc were suffering from lethal illnesses and to top that, their parents didn't had enough money or resources to save their own child. Such a state of helplessness!! What would have been going through the minds of those parents who are watching their own child bearing all this on a daily basis for years and still for many there is no hope of recovery. At that moment, all they needed were kind words and thats exactly what the volunteers provided them with. It was lovely to see those honest sweet smiles and brightened-up eyes after the talk and receiving the goodie bags. A lot of the kid patients are usually stuck in their rooms for long periods of time. It can get very discouraging, especially for those who are here for many days on end so to have events like this gives them a little break and a distraction from not feeling good. It seriously was an immense joy to witness children rushing down from other floors to the volunteers to get their hands on these little forms of happiness in shape of goodie bags. I myself had the chance to talk to the parents and children as well. They were excited to express their joy:
“They put a smile on my daughter’s face. She has been in the hospital for two months now and it was wonderful to see the smile and the brightness in their eyes." Mother of kid suffering from Appendix
"I am very excited that they were able to come and do this for the children and make the kids happy.” Mother of kid suffering from Respiratory problems
"My goodie bag is so big with lots of candies and I love the pink wrapping." Ameena (7) suffering from Cardiac Problems
"Doctors don't talk to us very much and this ward has no colour. I am happy that I got to eat all the chocolates in this goodie bag." Abdul Manaan(9) suffering from a Chronic condition
One can not just ignore the simplicity and innocence of their emotions. Most of them hailed from interior sindh and among them were a large number of flood-affected who travelled to Karachi because of the lack of medical facilities in their cities. With the fate of being under-priviledged, they were forced to utilise the resources available even if they aren't good enough. After inquiring many about their background and what caused the disease, majority blamed the floods and the havoc they had caused. Monsoons have flooded Pakistan, displacing thousands of families and leaving millions homeless, but no major relief efforts have yet begun to reach the hardest hit regions that is becoming a hindrances in the quick health relief. This is such a sad state of affairs and it is pretty useless to target the Government as they won't be paying any attention to it. Nevertheless, on our part, we can just continue our efforts and giving out a hand to these people in need.
As the volunteers were done with the activity, I had the pleasure to have a word with all the ones associated with Roshni Trust. It was a delight to hear them talking about such positivity with immense alacrity. I had a more detailed talk with some of the members and I decided to quote the prominent messages of positivity they want to give out.
Project Manager: "When we started this venture, we always use to wonder "What could we do on our part and How?" But then the voice inside told us that we should take a step and Allah will be there to help us accomplish our goals. Many of the major members of Roshni Trust are career oriented people and have a job to do, have a family to take care off and have a house to run but still we take out time to serve the ones we are related to with the bond of Humanity. Through the whole journey up till now, we had many hitches and obstacles. There were even times when people made a commitment and then backed out, times like these breaks you real bad but thats where we stood tall and kept focusing on our tasks. A sad fact about some of the people associated with the volunteerism sector i.e they have placed this noble act into the fun category where they attend an event, hang out with friends as well, take pictures and upload them. Such people are in need of a strict lesson or a hard talk because volunteers are not mere human beings. They are those who reflect this nation's compassion and care for the needy. For our future projects, we have a lot in mind actually and we have been working on that. Currently, we are in plans to contribute in the Education sector. Whether its providing books, stationary, furniture, bags, teachers or even fixing the dreaded condition of the school, we are all ready to do as much as we can. Plus, It is my one of my largest dreams to do a project someday where we would provide clothes to approximately 250 needy children. It requires almost 2 laks which seems impossible now but I know it will happen someday InshaAllah."
Raheel Tariq: "We have been doing activities of such sort since long, even before the initiation of this Trust so we were all very comfortable with such activities and that led us to the making of Roshni Trust. As members of it, we have given our heart and soul to it as we work tirelessly and make every possible effort to reach our target because we know that if we keep struggling, thats the only way we can provide the under-privilledged with basic necessities."
S. Sohaib: "I was much involved into volunteer activities with my friends and then the initiator of the Roshni Trust pulled me in. It was was my first volunteer activity in a Government hospital and I got a very close outlook of how miserable the conditions of medical facilities, patients, equipments etc around here are. All this motivates me to step forward and do my utmost in every possible way. One of the positive things about our Trust is that we collaborate with other organisations so its like joining forces to fight a single cause. Roshni Trust provided me with a proper platform and I am utterly thankful to them."
S. Taha Abidi: "Usually we don't get a chance to see the raw human misery with our very own eyes and through this event I got a chance to experience that which literally made me realize how much I can contribute in the welfare sector."
M. Ahson: "It was an experience to remember. We have been preparing for this activity and have put much hard work because it was back-breaking to be exact but at-last by the grace of Allah we have accomplished it."
And if any of you were wondering that did I somehow forgot to talk to the Doctors and Staff regarding the hospital, No that's not the case actually. The day of the charity event was Sunday and guess what, Doctors and even the major administration was enjoying a public holiday at home *sigh* I seriously don't even want to comment on that.
Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action which shapes the overall stature of the society and effective volunteer leaders are the keys by which we unlock minds. Till when will we not choose to listen to our spirit, Till when will we prefer to live within a compound, Till when will we keep moving around our own familiar box of happiness? It's high time that we get out of our comfort oriented lives and give back to the society because volunteering is not a choice, it's a responsibility.
To get a more clear idea about the Trust, Click the following website:
To read my article of Revolution Flame regarding Roshni Trust click: