Newsletter October 2012

Newsletters are like buses; you wait 10 years for one, then two come along together!!!!!

Thank you for your positive feedback about the inaugural Newsletter issued in June this year; it has inspired us to produce another and we have so much to tell you.....

What have we been up to this summer?

We haven’t been swimming, horse riding, leaping over hurdles hurling the javelin or taking part in any other Olympic sports although sometimes it feels like a sprint to the line to get a bid in before the deadline, or a marathon when we think about how much poverty and malnutrition there still is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPH).

In the face of relentlessly depressing economic news at home and abroad it is lovely to be able to bring you positive ‘economic’ news about the work of the Abaseen Foundation thanks to your continuing support.

 
Mian Gul School has 216 children currently. Although there is space for more, we have decided not to increase numbers further for 12 months. This period of consolidation will allow us time to address issues relating to the transport of the children. We have described already the difficulties of retaining staff because of the journey time. Increasing the number of children would give us acute problems in the short term as we currently rely on a small vehicle making several journeys which will be unsustainable if we increase the number of classes. An urgent fundraising priority is the provision of a bus to transport the children to and from school and we are hoping you can help us with that.

Health

Nahaqi is Back!

Longstanding AF supporters will be delighted to know that AFPK has won the Government tendering process to continue to run Nahaqi Hospital. The new 5 year lease addresses many of the flaws of the original lease, however it will also bring new challenges since, for the first time, AFPK will employ all the staff directly. Government employment in Pakistan brings with it both status and pension arrangements which are highly prized, so some staff may feel aggrieved about the transfer. However, our colleagues in Pakistan relish the challenge of taking Nahaqi forward and we are glad to have our original project back in the AF ‘fold’. A further piece of good news is that a donor in Pakistan has given money to provide an ultrasound machine and lab equipment. We also plan to redecorate some areas in the hospital that inevitably lost their ‘shine’ during the protracted bidding process.

Better Health on the Brick Kiln
Baghbanan Health Centre     Schoolboys reading
 
The Baghbanan Health Centre is sited next to the Brick Kiln School and provides basic health services to a community blighted by malnutrition and the effects of living and working so close to the brick ovens. The Centre, which includes a basic pharmacy and laboratory to undertake diagnostic tests, provides obstetric and gynaecological services and nutritional support to help the malnourished children, as well as more general services to the community.

Arshad Javed, an AF UK trustee who is an orthopaedic surgeon, visited all the projects in April as we reported in the last newsletter. He noted, amongst other development proposals in his report, the need for an ultrasound machine so the pregnant women didn’t have to travel to Peshawar. Since his visit a successful bid for funding in Pakistan means the ultrasound machine and some additional lab equipment have already been purchased.

In terms of their achievements more generally, Centre staff have treated 18,650 patients for a variety of diseases since the Health Centre opened and distributed thousands of leaflets to generate awareness about the importance of health and hygiene issues in reducing the prevalence of common diseases.

Education

Mian Gul and Noor Model Schools Update and the Appointment of a New Head.

Our Education projects are also progressing well. We now have 73 girls studying at Mian Gul School in Shamshatu and 273 students (girls and boys) at Noor Model School on the Brick Kilns. Teachers in both schools have received training over the summer break and a joint Head Teacher for the schools has recently been appointed. We anticipate that she will be a key player in taking forward twinning projects with UK schools, which have proved difficult to progress at the Pakistan end for staffing reasons.

Construction of 16 additional classrooms and a community hall for the Mian Gul complex is underway, using money secured through the successful bid for a grant from US Aid that we told you about in the last Newsletter.

 

Mian Gul Schoolgirls      Child Worker
 

AFPK are engaged in an admission campaign to encourage parents to send their children to school. This is a challenge in an area where children are needed to earn a wage to contribute to family finances and where there has previously been little opportunity to access education particularly for the girls, but AF are committed to addressing the appallingly low literacy rates and we see education as the only route out of poverty for these children and their families.

Research

Wellcome Research Project- Progress Made

Recent research work has focussed on the Wellcome Trust project we started last October. This is exploring the opportunities for using the Jirga system to deliver important health advice and health research. It is progressing despite anticipated delays over the summer due to the heat and Ramadan. Research staff, funded by the grant and our partners, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are now in place in both the UK and Pakistan and some of the preliminary work has been undertaken including what turned into a very large household survey of the brick kiln community. AF UK Trustees visited Pakistan earlier this month and will shortly be providing information about recent progress on this and other projects.

International Research Centre Launch

In recognition of the groundbreaking work Dr Nicola Lowe, our Director of Research and her team undertake, The Institute of Nutritional Science and Food Safety Studies has been established within UCLan. The Institute was launched on the international stage In Peshawar this October during the trustees visit when they were keynote speakers at a symposium held at Khyber Medical University.

Dr Zaman Rubs Shoulders with the Movers and Shakers!

Recently Dr Mukhtiar Zaman, Chief Executive of AFPK was invited to attend a prestigious multi agency workshop in Peshawar about addressing malnutrition involving numerous Government departments, Universities and large Non Governmental Organisations (NGO). It was an extremely important initiative and both demonstrates our influence in the area and places us at the hub of future developments.

These are just the latest ‘juicy’ bits! For additional details about all our projects click now on www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk

Keep the Projects Rolling!

At the last UK trustees meeting on September 3rd Mark, our Treasurer circulated a table outlining AFUK Income from Standing Orders, one off donations and grants since 2003 when we started. We have raised a staggering £742,747 so THANK YOU again for your support.

At the meeting we agreed to transfer £10,800 to AFPK to address their current priorities; specifically some capital match funding related to the Mian Gul building project, plus a contribution to running costs for the Noor Model and Mian Gul schools.

3 Peaks Challenge; were those aching legs REALLY worth it?

We reported in the last Newsletter that the annual 23 mile Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge had just taken place in dreadful weather conditions. We can now report that the event raised £3,200. Many thanks to the doughty walkers and to their generous donors. Also to our supporters on the day who kept us very well fed and watered. Just to remind you all that it is an annual event so it’s not too late to get involved!!

To find out what other fundraising events are taking place go to our website at www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk

Gluttons for Punishment!!!

AFPK have recently submitted an Expression Of Interest to the World Bank to manage health facilities in 5 conflict affected districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPH) where all our projects are based. There are not many charities, even the larger ones who have experience of delivering health services in some of the conflict affected areas where we already work in Pakistan. However, this would represent a significant and challenging new area of work for us. Watch this space......

So Can We Put Our Wallets Away Yet?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

We hope that you don’t think that this Newsletter which celebrates our achievements so far and refers to grants already secured means that we have all the money we need. We still need to generate the running costs of The Brick Kiln Health Centre and School and the expanding Mian Gul complex and Nahaqi is back under our wing. The projects are successful but, there is still so much we have to offer to communities in KPH blighted by poverty and preventable diseases. Despite our size, AF is recognised as an organisation that can be relied upon to deliver projects in areas where other NGOs struggle to operate. Mukhtiar’s invitation to the recent summit addressing malnutrition and Nicola’s well received groundbreaking and influential research are evidence of that. If we are successful with our bid to the World Bank this will mark a further step change in our activities. Our colleagues in Pakistan deliver extraordinary work that has already transformed the life of thousands of people in Pakistan and we are committed to supporting them to transform thousands more. We hope we can rely on your continuing support with this.

Not Long To Christmas!! (Ho ho ho)

VolleyballThose of you who attended the annual dinner had the chance to purchase lovely AF gift cards produced by Rose Anderson, AF Joint Chair. For those of you who were not at the dinner the gift cards allow you to donate varying sums towards elements of specific projects. You can send the cards to family and friends, indicating that the donation has been made on their behalf. They could be the solution to those tricky Christmas present dilemmas. However, they are not Christmas specific so they would also be ideal for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and festivals. Frankly you never need to shop for gifts anywhere else!!!

For example, for a relatively modest £10 you could help us provide sports and play equipment for the children at both schools or donate £20 to buy books for the library; a great birthday gift for a book lover. Alternatively you could spend £6 on nutritional supplements so one of our malnourished children could enjoy milk and fruit. There is also the opportunity to make a larger donation. Perhaps you could join with others to buy a wedding present with a difference; £100 will educate a child for a year. There are so many options!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

Abaseen Foundation
Abaseen Foundation UK Registered Charity Number – 1095882
www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk
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