A Reuters representational image.

Quintessential Karachiite: Fighting the pandemic quietly

Farheen Naveed distributes rations among needy in confidentiality, ensuring their self-respect is not hurt

Kashif Hussain April 13, 2020
KARACHI: There are doctors, paramedics and other health workers, fighting the coronavirus battle on the front line. And there are the likes of Farheen Naveed, director of the Drug Free Pakistan Foundation - an organisation working to curb drug addiction and rehabilitating addicts - who don’t create many ripples. Rather, they go about their way quietly, helping people who otherwise may shy away from receiving help.

As Sindh went into a lockdown and the majority of people worried about impending doom, Naveed was occupied by thoughts of how the move would add to the hardships of the poor, needy and daily-wage workers.

Their livelihood would be lost. They would be devoid of any means of earning. And many among them would not have it in them to seek help.

In a bid to support these helpless people, Naveed collaborated with a group of Karachiites based in the United States, who, via a platform called Karachiites, had taken the initiative to provide aid to those suffering due to the lockdown in the metropolis.

According to Naveed, she had initially set a target of providing ration to 150 needy families but the requests for help kept coming in. “Among them were also those who didn’t have access to any welfare organisation,” she said.

The number of recipients continued to grow and now, just three week after the launch of the aid campaign, Naveed spearheads the distribution of ration among 900 families.

All these recipients had to show their national identity cards to register themselves for receiving the aid under the initiative. “Around 3,000 families are on the waiting list for registration and 3,500 more requests are in pending,” she told The Express Tribune.

To cater to so many is a tall task but Naveed is hopeful. She claims that many citizens have come forward to contribute to the cause and overseas Pakistanis had already sent donations of $25,000.

As a result, between 100 and 150 family are provided ration bags every week.

Naveed’s team purchases ration two days a week, prepares ration bags over next two to three days and distributes them over a period of two days.

For the purpose of distribution, a collection centre has been set up in a community hall in Gulistan-e-Johar, where recipients can collect ration bags, containing 10 kilogrammes (kg) of flour, 5kg rice, 1kg each of different kinds of pulses, gram flour, chickpeas, cooking oil, ghee, spices, sugar, tea, dates, packaged milk, milk powder, soap and other items, at allotted times on specified days. However, families that have children and in urgent need of an essential item can contact the team of volunteers at any time.

Nevertheless, this manner of allotting separate time for recipients to collect ration not just avoids crowding, but also ensure that the self-respect of those receiving aid is not hurt.

“After all, the purpose of the campaign is to help people secretly so that their self-respect remains unhurt,” said Naveed.


Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2020.


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