On their own: Just another day at the orphanage

Children with no relatives end up sleeping out the big day


Umer Farooq July 17, 2015
Children with no relatives end up sleeping out the big day. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: Roads in the city were deserted and residential areas empty after people left for their respective villages to celebrate Eidul Fitr with their kin. However, there are some who have nowhere and have no one to celebrate with.

“I have been living here and celebrating all festivals in this building for over ten years,” said 13-year-old Hassan, explaining his way of celebrating Eid at Darul Atfal, an orphanage in Hashtnagri.



Hassan was brought to the facility when he was only two-and-a-half-years old and since then has been living at Darul Atfal which is being run by philanthropists. A majority share is contributed by the widow of former senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour.

Left out, inside

The teenager said he sleeps away such days as he does not have many people to celebrate with. Most of the other children leave with their relatives. “I am used to being alone but on such occasions I wish I had family,” said Hassan.

“Relatives of other children take them outside the orphanage, take them home but since I don’t [have anyone to take me with them], I celebrate [Eid] here,” said Hassan. “Had I someone in this world, I would have not been sitting alone.”

“Home is home but since I don’t have it, this is my home,” added Hassan.

Hassan’s solitude is understood by Imran Gull, who has been living at Darul Atfal for at least 15 years. He said he and Hassan celebrate all these big days together – mostly inside the orphanage but sometimes they also get to “go for an outing”.

Gull added they were content as the staff and donors take good care of them. He said the blues only hit them when the facility is near empty after all other children leave for what looks like a fun day to these two boys.

Go set a watchman

The watchman at the facility said when he usually went to wake the two boys for Eid prayers, both of them would be awake but would not be willing to leave their beds.

“When I asked them to go for Eid prayers, they looked at me and I could see tears,” said Naseeb Zada. “I wish I could bring back their parents or at least relatives.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015. 

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