By ANISAH ARIF
A Bradford-based charity has revealed ambitious plans to transform the lives of ten thousand poor people in Pakistan.
The charity enables poor young men and women to attend vocational training courses and acquire nationally and internationally recognised qualifications. It also offers support with finding jobs and setting up businesses and social enterprises.
Poverty Alleviation Scholarships Foundation has appointed leading community activist Asif Khan to spearhead its UK marketing campaign.
Asif said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for British Pakistanis to make a lasting difference to the lives of people in their families’ country of origin”.
“One-off gifts and donations can provide temporary relief for those suffering from abject poverty. But PAS Foundation transforms their lives forever by enabling them to gain the skills needed to earn a livelihood or launch a business.
“I am excited at taking on the new role of marketing and community engagement coordinator and look forward to raising awareness of our work and enabling thousands of families to face the future with confidence and hope.”
PAS Foundation provides scholarships that enable Pakistan’s poorest people to gain the skills they need to earn a living, instead of relying on gifts and donations to survive. It also offers support with finding jobs and setting up businesses or social enterprises.
Around 60% of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line yet the average vocational training course in industrial sectors such as construction, hair and beauty therapy or information technology costs just £200.
PAS has already helped a group of tailors and craftsmen to set up workshops in Lahore by paying for tools and rented premises. One of the skilled workers who has benefited suffers from polio and had been struggling to support his seven children and afford the rent for their cramped and squalid home.
Asif Khan has helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities based in the UK and Pakistan including Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Namal College, which is affiliated with the University of Bradford. This work involved hosting special television fundraising shows and events throughout Britain.
For many years Asif helped to enrich and promote the artistic and cultural heritage of Yorkshire’s ethnic minority communities. He has worked for local authorities, the not-for-profit sector and television and other media outlets. His voluntary work has included playing a key role in organising the Pakistan Festival 1997 in the UK. This attracted 25,000 people and widespread mainstream media coverage, being the largest overseas event held to celebrate the country’s golden jubilee.
Asif has led or supported numerous community organisations and is a former director of the Pakistan Club.
To find out more about how you can help Poverty Alleviation Scholarships Foundation visit www.pasfoundationuk.org