Monday December 04, 2023

First Lady ventures out to meet least privileged women

July 28, 2019

Rawalpindi : It’s truly great that not only the doors of the Presidency in Islamabad have opened up to the public but the residents also refuse to stay inside the state bubble, and venture out to meet the least privileged specially economically challenged women.

There was a buzz and plenty of excitement as workers at Behbud Headquarters in Rawalpindi waited for the visit of First Lady, Begum Samina Arif Alvi, who has been a great supporter of this NGO’s .

Not only is Behbud Rawalpindi, one of Pakistan’s oldest NGO’s started decades ago by Mrs Akhtar Riazuddin the largest Industrial Home for home-based women workers in Pakistan, it also aims towards women empowerment projects while also working in the fields of Health and Education.

Begum Samina must have been surprised that Behbud Headquarters on a busy street on Murree Road, close to the offices of The News and Jang, has now gone truly ‘Green’ with a solar system and also the first NGO which has switched to a cloth bag at its outlets.

The ‘Smile with Behbud’ cloth bags, are going to be in great demand in Islamabad with the ban on plastic ones in place next month. As always it is the Pakistani women who lead the way.

“Behbud is very dear to me and its activities have gainfully affected thousands of women, giving them economic empowerment, independence and benefiting their families as well”, Begum Samina said in her remarks to a large number of Behbud volunteers, members of executive committees, many who have spent the sunshine years of their lives with this organization.

Amongst them was the silver haired and charming Begum Amna Asghar Khan, wife of one of Pakistan’s Air Force heroes.

“Behbud should join Ehsaas, because both are working in the same direction. The government has laid a very special emphasis on the eradication of poverty and set up a new Division in the name of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. That is why your work is of particular interest to me”.

She responded to welcome remarks from Senior Vice President Mrs Abida Malik, who had pointed out one of Behbud’s challenges, ‘population planning’, a forgotten subject in the government, especially after Devolution.

“Both Prime Minister Imran Khan and the President say that this message of family planning should come from our Maulanas. After we have the Surah An-Nissa which talks about women issues “, the First Lady pointed out.

Two girls, daughters of Behbud workers presented a bouquet to the First Lady and they didn’t stop smiling. She also went around visiting the Industrial Hall and the Health Services that Behbud offers.

“Now since this is the first visit of a First Lady to Behbud, I am going to invite Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi to also come to see the work we are doing for poverty alleviation”, said Mrs. Abida Malik. Take up the challenge gentlemen, its good to get out of your Sarkari Bubble once in a while.