Monday February 06, 2023

Sindh recommends posthumous Sitara-e-Imtiaz for Sister Ruth Lewis

By Our Correspondent
July 23, 2020

Under a decision taken in the meeting of the Sindh cabinet earlier in the day, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday contacted President Dr Arif Alvi on a phone call to inform him that his cabinet had recommended the federal government to posthumously award Sitara-e-Imtiaz to Sister Ruth Lewis for her services to the persons with disabilities.

The president assured the CM that the decision of the Sindh government would be honoured in order to recognise the humanitarian work of Sister Lewis who passed away on Monday night.

A letter was also sent by the CM in this regard that read that the Sindh cabinet had approved the recommendation of a posthumous civil award to Sister Lewis in recognition of her social and humanitarian services.

The letter also included a brief account of humanitarian work rendered by Sister Lewis.

“Born on 2nd May 1946, Sr. Ruth Lewis was a Roman Catholic nun of the religious congregation for women, the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King. She lived and worked in Karachi, Pakistan and died on 20th July 2020 after contracting COVID-19 while serving COVID patients at one of her facilities,” the letter read.

“Along with Sr Gertrude Lemmens and Sr Margared D' Costa, she became one of the first to join the founding staff of Darul Sukun on 17th February 1969; home for around 150 cognitively disadvantaged and physically challenged persons mostly including children and teenagers.

“Since 2000, she had been incharge of the Darul Sukun. Due to her integrity and dedication to welfare of the neglected members of the society, a number of people assisted her financially as well as through volunteer work. She encouraged the volunteers coming from schools and other organizations to help feed the children and play with them. She was also assisted by volunteers from the Netherlands who stayed to help for as much as three months in Karachi as a result of her personal efforts.”

The letter read that the late philanthropist was particularly proud of four children who won medals in the Special Olympics held in the United States in 1998.

For her vision of creating an inclusive society for persons with disabilities, she continuously worked hard for 51 years to make state-of-the-art rehabilitation and skill development centres nationwide and her selfless contribution to our society would always be remembered and cherished, read the letter.

Among the institutions she established included a new extension of Darul Sukun on Kashmir Road in 2020, home for socially displaced boys in Quetta in 2007, home for the socially displaced girls in Muslimabad Karachi in 2010, centre for elderly people on MA Jinnah Road Karachi in 2015 and rehabilitation complex in Rashidabad, Tando Allayar, in 2020.

The letter also stated that she was awarded the Pride of Karachi Award on January 18, 2014, and Hakeem Muhammad Saeed Award in 2018. She was also included in the list of people who shaped Karachi in a book written by Imran Aslam.