A Dutch journalist’s impressions of a Karachi dream turned reality

Babette-Cambridge-April-06I am proud of my old friend Ahsan Jamil for the work he is doing in Karachi, and delighted to have introduced him to another old friend Babette Niemel, who was inspired to write the following article about Aman Foundation, published in The News on Sunday, on March 10, 2013.

A Dutch journalist records her impressions of how Aman Foundation is changing the lives of Karachi’s underserved people

I have met Ahsan Jamil several times during my frequent visits to Karachi over the years. A modest, lively, kind man and a close childhood friend of my friend Beena Sarwar; when I met him once again a little over a year ago, he was positively beaming.

Engaged and committed: Aman Foundation CEO Ahsan Jamil and Manager Command and Control Center in discussion.

Engaged and committed: Aman Foundation CEO Ahsan Jamil and Manager Command and Control Center in discussion.

It was a cool summer evening in Karachi and we were out on the porch at Beena’s house. Ahsan was inviting her to come and checkout the new work he was doing. He could give us a tour of the facility, he said, extending the invitation to me as well. Continue reading

Pakistani doctors in America: Giving back to the community

Poet Fehmida Riaz with Dr Naseem Shekhani of NHF at the launch of the Urdu English Medical Dictionary in Karachi, Dec 31, 2010

Anyone interested in healthcare in Pakistan – check out and support National Health Forum (NHF), a registered tax-exempt organisation in America initiated by a group of Pakistani doctors, many of whom were activists with the progressive National Students Federation (NSF)in their student days.

Screengrab of NHF website

I know some of them personally and am inspired and moved by their dedication and the work they do. The causes they have taken up include maternal care, child cancer (working to build a children’s cancer hospital) and helping flood survivors in Pakistan through the Pakistan Medical Association. They also support non-profit organisations in USA in the healthcare and medical education sectors. I love that Dr Sher Shah is listed in their website as one of the ‘projects’ they support (if you don’t know who he is, you should. Look him up). Another project, and a great success, is the launch of the much-needed Medical Urdu-English Dictionary. The informative website includes links to PDFs of their reports). Also do check out and ‘like’ the NHF facebook page. :)

Women rock the boat

Pakistani women demand their rights. Photo: courtesy Nasir Mansoor, LPP

WOMEN’S DAY RALLY IN KARACHI: Thousands of working class women, many of them home based women workers, with red flags in their hands marched on roads of Karachi, chanting slogans against ‘mullahism’, religious extremism and for their democratic rights. The march started from Karachi Press Club and culminated at the Arts Council of Pakistan where a seminar was held in the open air theatre followed by songs, theatre and documentaries. They demanded: *End all discriminatory laws against women and minorities *End religious fundamentalism *Recognize home based women workers as workers in law, extend social security cover to them *Equal opportunity to women in all fields of life

Also see: Dedicated to Pyari Pakistanis: Happy Women’s Day, y’all! - a delightful sum up of the situation of Pakistani women, with statistics and action points, by blogger and cartoonist Mehreen Kasana. Check it out :)

Karachi rally speakers and demands: Continue reading

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