PESHAWAR: Earning name and fame for its rescue, relief and rehabilitation work during the 2005 earthquake and later the natural and man-made disasters that hit the country, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, the Al-Khidmat Foundation has become a unique multi-sectoral non-governmental organisation (NGO) that has now focused attention on orphan care and projects in different sectors.
Registered as an independent NGO in 2002, the foundation initially launched different projects in several sectors. “But the frequent disasters that started hitting this province in particular and the country in general since the massive earthquake on October 8, 2005 made us disaster specialists. Everybody is witness to the services we provided during the earthquake, the internally displaced persons (IDP) crisis and devastating floods,” said Inayatullah Khan, provincial president of the foundation in an interview with The News.
He said the Al-Khidmat Foundation carried out rescue, relief and rehabilitation operation during the earthquake worth billions of rupees with the support of philanthropists from across the country and abroad. “The foundation’s activities during the earthquake proved a source of credibility for Al-Khidmat and it then started consolidating its services,” he said. The IDP crisis gave it further boost as the 10,000 volunteers of the foundation began helping the displaced people right from initial evacuation till their return and rehabilitation, he added.
He said during the 2010 floods, the volunteers of the foundation were seen in action all over the country helping the people everywhere. After the floods, he added that the foundation was organized at the district level across the country.
Inayatullah Khan, who is former provincial minister for health, said the foundation is ready all over the country to meet any untoward incident besides running routine projects.
He said the foundation had focused attention on seven sectors, including disaster management in which Al-Khidmat had gained experience and expertise. “Our main strength in disaster management was our incomparable number of competent volunteers. Training and refresher courses are arranged for the volunteers to provide them relevant skills and update their knowledge. Our ambulance service in the province has over 60 vehicles,” he added.
He said that the foundation had established two facilities at Batkhela and Charsadda on the flood routes where all necessary equipment like boats, life-saving jackets, etc are stored for use in emergencies. “We are also working in health, education, clean drinking water, community services and prisons. For the current year our main focus is the recently launched orphan care project,” Inayatullah informed.
He said the foundation has sponsored over 5,000 students, including 300 orphans, hailing from poor families. “For the purpose the foundation has set up 24 own schools and is supporting deserving students at other schools,” he stated.
In the health sector, he said, the foundation had established some 56 hospitals, clinics and laboratories across the province, where quality treatment is provided free of cost. He said some 600 free medical camps were also arranged in different districts during the last couple of years to provide consultation and medicines to some 0.257 million patients.
Inayatullah said the foundation imparted technical skills and job opportunities to the needy people. “We have set up a shoe production house in Charsadda, where shoes are manufactured to serve the dual purpose of imparting training and enabling the workers to earn livelihood for their families,” he said.