Local northwest Lancaster based charity receives the MBE for voluntary groups Queens Award to recognise excellence in the voluntary service of the volunteers which was very much admired by the independent assessment committee chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE

Helen Bingley CEO and Nicola Lowe Co Chair were honoured yesterday to share tea at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and the award will be officially presented later in the summer. Helen Bingley said, “ We are deeply honoured to receive this award in recognition of our efforts over the last 20 years, I have always been deeply impressed and moved by the motivation of the voluntary efforts of all the people who support our cause, I am sure that this recognition will take their motivation to another level”.

What the Abaseen Foundation volunteers have done to deserve this award: Since 2002 volunteers have worked tirelessly to grow and develop an organisation to provide Education, Health, Research and Humanitarian Relief to some of the poorest people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in North West Pakistan, not an easy place to work.

Education

Abaseen Foundation currently educates 1000 children, mostly girls, sponsored by people in the Northwest of England through the Sponsor a Child to go to school scheme. Literacy rates for girls in this area are less than 3%. Abaseen Foundation believes that ‘If we educate a girl, we educate a mother and a whole family’.

One of the Abaseen Foundation schools, Noor Model School, is situated on one of 700 brick kilns surrounding Peshawar where children are born into bonded labour, 68% of the children are severely malnourished and their life expectancy is age 38. Through education Abaseen Foundation gives these families hope, if one educated child gains employment they take the whole family away from the brick kiln and out of severe poverty, the average family size is 14.

One group of donors in the UK provide funds through the Feed a Child Scheme to provide one meal a day at school for the severely malnourished children. The Abaseen Foundation has twinned their schools with schools in the UK – Waterhead Academy in Oldham and Eldon Primary School in Preston, bringing teachers and children together across the miles.

University of Central Lancashire in Preston has supported the work of the Abaseen Foundation for many years in various ways and most recently has provided a free of charge degree place every year for a graduate from the Abaseen Foundation schools in Pakistan, the children in the schools are highly motivated but this greatly increases their efforts as this provides an opportunity to strive for something which is beyond their wildest dreams.

Healthcare

The Abaseen Foundation provides health care in this area which is not provided by the state and treats major illnesses e.g. TB, Polio, mother and child services and has been trusted with grants from many large donors including DfID, Wellcome Trust, UNICEF, US Aid.

Research and Development

The results of various research and development grants concentrating mainly on nutrition have influenced how the lives of people in this area and other areas of Pakistan and developing countries can be improved.

When the communities that Abaseen Foundation work with suffer natural disasters e.g. the major earthquake, floods and displacement of people e.g. when 3 million people needed to leave SWAT due to terrorism, Abaseen Foundation supporters step up to provide help and support – we are in everything together with the communities we serve.

A very recent achievement

A few days ago supporters returned from the first international fundraising trek to Gilgit and Hunza and the most northerly part of Pakistan. The experience was unique, very challenging and in many ways life changing and the people taking part successfully raised the £30,000 target to build the next much needed section of the Mian Gul School.