New SOS Village

Desert’s Children to Receive New Child Care Center

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KARACHI: Former Caretaker Chief Minister of Sindh, retired Justice Maqbool Bagar, has hailed the initiative to establish the SOS Children’s Village in Premnagar, Islamkot, saying that the care center will be the first-ever in the arid region of Tharparkar for the education and upbringing of both natural and social orphans belonging to Muslim and Hindu communities, which are the two main communities residing in the entire district.

He said this at the unveiling ceremony of a plaque for the new SOS Children’s Village in Premnagar, Islamkot, which was held at the Zia Mohyeddin Theatre at Napa here on the evening of 3rd July 2024.

Justice Bagar, who was the chief guest at the event, appreciated the services of women who serve as mothers of deprived children and help nurture them as brothers and sisters in the unique SOS way of loving care for children.

The event was attended by prominent citizens of Karachi, donors to SOS from Islamabad, Karachi, and elsewhere, and children, teachers, staff, youth, and volunteer members of SOS units in Sindh.

Justice Baqar appreciated the presence in the gathering of the children and women from Tharparkar, who had specially traveled from remote villages to mark the launch of the construction.

He referred to the talent and spontaneous energy of the children from the SOS Children’s Villages in Karachi, who presented three short, entertaining musical segments celebrating Pakistan and its people. Brief videos of SOS units were also screened.

Justice Baqar said that as evident in how alumni of the existing SOS Children’s Villages in Karachi, Jamshoro, and Khairpur became educated and self-reliant citizens, so too in Tharparkar as well, disadvantaged children would soon surely be able to achieve significant self-empowerment through the love, security, and guidance provided by the SOS.

Tariq Hasan, the architect of the new SOS Village, who has also designed the SOS Villages in Jamshoro and Khairpur, explained how a distinctive and innovative approach is being used to create the structures in eco-friendly and culture-friendly ways.

Dr. Ramesh Vankwani, former MNA and chairman of the Sital Das Premnagar Trust, which has donated 11 acres of land near Islamkot for the construction of the new SOS Village, narrated how the Premnagar multi-sectoral welfare project, spread over 110 acres, is modeled on Rashidabad near Tando Allah Yar and will help advance social development in the area. Yacoob Zamindar, Chairman Emeritus of SOS Sindh, recalled how the Vankwani family’s visits to SOS Villages in Jamshoro and Karachi inspired them to request the cooperation of SOS to help introduce the network to Tharparkar and wished the project timely completion.

Former senator Javed Jabbar, Chairman of SOS Children’s Villages of Sindh, thanked Justice Baqar for his compassionate leadership, which enabled the government of Sindh to provide a substantive grant in aid of Rs433 million to meet a large part of the cost.

He said Tharparkar represented a model for the whole country of communal peace and harmony.

He was confident that the new village would stimulate the region’s progress to improve its very low rank in the 170 districts of Pakistan in terms of human development.

Naureen Hamid, secretary of SOS Sindh, read out the special message of felicitations sent for the occasion from their national office in Lahore by Souriya Anwar, founder and president of SOS Pakistan, and president-elect Shahid Hamid, both of whom conveyed their appreciation for the vital support provided by the Government of Sindh and by the Vankwani family to help bring SOS services to the vast region of Tharparkar.

She traced the growth of SOS Sindh over the previous 39 years.

Dr. Shankar Lal, President of Baanhn Beli, who led the participants from Tharparkar, recounted how Baanhn Beli, which has been serving in Tharparkar since 1985, worked together with SOS Sindh and SPDC, the research center, in 2022 to conduct a comprehensive survey in order to identify the scope and need for the first-ever orphan center for the 1.5 million poor people who reside there.

Zahida Hashmi, Regional Director of SOS Sindh, delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the children, mothers, staff, and volunteers of the organization.

The event was ably moderated by Hina Mir, a resident of the SOS Village in Karachi and a student of class 12 at the SOS Karachi High School.

Acknowledgment: Published in Dawn News on 5th July 2024.

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