HARIPUR: Established in 1932 through the efforts of a philanthropist, Haripur Orphanage is a baronial establishment in the heart of the city of Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The decades-old property which features its own shops, markets, and farming land, was purposely built to provide a lifetime of financial independence and sustainable living to those in its patronage.
However today, the decades-old orphanage which has been no less than a cash cow to its administration seems to be succumbing to the test of time; featuring a crumbling façade and a sight of neglect which taints its hollow corridors. All the while, it continues to be listed as the richest orphanage of the province and generates millions in revenue for its custodians’ pockets through rent and surplus from its farming land.
On the other hand, the 26 children living at the orphanage are forced to spend their nights crammed in a single room like chickens in a coop. The fans don’t work and the bathroom is a sanitary nightmare. Deprived of the most basic of facilities like health and sanitation, these children remain entirely dependent on alms and charity for sustenance, which too sometimes falls short.
The orphanage which appears no less than a concentration camp, allows children living under its shelter a single set of garments in a year. While there is no arrangement of any grooming facilities for the children and the shortage of electricity, water and gas are a routine affair. For several years, the orphanage administration has saved its face through the support of its influential patrons and has kept its doors shut for visitors and especially journalists to cover its deficiencies.
PTI MPA and Chairperson Social Welfare Momina Basit made a surprise visit to Haripur Orphanage and expressed her dismay at the efforts of the current in-charge, Lehrasab Khan, in the upkeep of the facility. Taking strict notice of the embezzlement of revenue, she ordered an audit of all funds acquired by the orphanage and assured that the issue will be raised at the provincial assembly to ascertain immediate action against all responsible for the fraudulent activities.
“Even if no funds were allocated, the orphanage could have been easily maintained from the millions it generates in revenue from all the land it owns. There should be immediate action to mend the facility and ensure cleanliness and sanitation at the very basis of things.”
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