Newsletter September 2013

Newsletter

Hurrah, the anxious wait is over, you can breathe again; it's here, the third Abaseen Newsletter!

What’s been going on in Education and Research?

Child attending Bagbhanan Health Centre

The last few months have been the usual hectic round of activity. The focus of our work in Pakistan and the UK has been our education projects, but the research team have also been busy.

In case that isn't enough we have been pursuing a bid with DIFD, the government department responsible for international development that, if successful, will significantly extend the range of healthcare services at Baghbanan Health Centre, the facility that serves the Baghbanan community where the Noor Model School is situated. We are anxiously awaiting the decision due next month.

Gluttons for punishment, we are in the process of submitting a bid of over half a million pounds to The Big Lottery which would allow us to develop and integrate the health and education services at Shamshatoo and also increase our capacity to embed research and dissemination of good practise into all our projects.

Our existing Wellcome Trust project, which is examining the effectiveness of the Jirga (a community decision making forum in Pakistan) in disseminating health messages, is progressing well. The research team, based in Pakistan and the UK, submitted an interim report to our sponsor the Wellcome Trust and the project is due to finish on time and on budget. Reflecting our commitment to promoting best practice we have already given presentations of our findings so far at relevant nutritional research conferences.



The Jirga
Jirga     Delivering health messages Delivering Health Messages to Homes
 

Twins!

In another exciting development our schools in Pakistan have twinned with 2 schools in Oldham, The Waterhead Academy has twinned with Mian Gul and Greenacres Primary School with Noor Model School. Helen Bingley Abaseen UK Chief Executive and Mukhtiar Zaman, Abaseen PK Chief Executive visited both UK schools in May and attended school assemblies where the pupils heard from them about the very different lives of the children in their Pakistan 'twins'. The Oldham children are keen to raise funds for their counterparts, but importantly it will be a 2 way street and will offer a chance for the children in both countries to learn from each other.

Abaseen UK gives birth to an offspring! (It isn’t just the Royals!)

We have been approached by a group of our active supporters in Oldham about establishing an Oldham based branch of the Abaseen Foundation. There is a significant Pakistani population in this area and we are thrilled by this development. The group will include representatives of the 2 schools as well as a number of community representatives. This is a recent initiative and the group is still getting established. Although it is only in its infancy it is already setting itself some ambitious goals including organising an annual dinner, the first to take place later this year, and a target for sponsoring a certain number of school children each costing £100 per annum. News about the group will appear on the Abaseen Foundation website www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk as plans advance so watch this space! You can also go there to find out how you can sponsor a child yourself or make other more modest donations for example to buy books or uniforms or a variety of other essential items. You can also read about any of our projects in greater detail.

And in other developments

Moving on from the desperately contrived baby theme above Mukhtiar Zaman, Abaseen PK Chief Executive visited the UK in May. As usual, he hardly had time to draw breath during his time here because we worked him so hard. He visited the 2 schools as mentioned above. Also, as well as attending the mosque in Lancaster where he was invited to speak about the work of the Foundation after Friday prayers and attending a hurja in Oldham to network with the Pathan community there, he also attended a Quaker Meeting in Lancaster as we have close links with the Quakers and are grateful to many Quaker friends for their generosity over many years. He was guest of honour at our most successful annual dinner yet. He spoke with his customary passion about the work of the Foundation and inspired us to redouble our efforts. The evening raised an astonishing £10,000 thanks to the contributions of those who attended on the night and also other sums from other individual donors. Once again we were treated to the extraordinary hospitality of the Sultan Restaurant in Lancaster. The owners, the Munshi family and their dedicated staff did us proud; food and service were splendid. As if that wasn't enough they donated the cost of the food so ticket sales could go directly to fund our projects.

Stepping Out in Aid of the Foundation

Helen Bingley and Julie Collins plan to don their boots and do the Lyke Wake Walk, a 40 mile tramp across the North York Moors National Park on Saturday 21st September to raise funds for the Abaseen Foundation. They haven’t quite got their act together in setting up the facility for you to donate yet, but for further news keep a close eye on the website www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk

Looking to the future of Abaseen Foundation

The Newsletter is skidding towards an impetuous conclusion, but other news is still to come. While Mukhtiar was in the UK we took the opportunity to look forward and come up with a 'cunning plan', more formally called a 'Strategy' for the future. A great deal of the 2 day discussion was centred on ensuring that we continue to deliver effectively in all our projects and that we can still offer our supporters and sponsors the reassurance that projects are regularly monitored and evaluated to ensure that money goes directly into the projects as advertised. However, you will notice that for some time we have been reporting more projects and an expansion of existing projects in health and education and successful bids for increasingly large sums of money. Over the years Abaseen PK have employed an increasing number of staff to run the projects. More recently in the UK, thanks to the collaborative working with and generous support of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), we have some paid for staff time dedicated mainly to the research side of Abaseen UK, but as has always been the case, most of the work here has been done by unpaid trustees and supporters who do it, often in addition to full time employment. An important outcome of the strategy session was the decision to explore further the idea of a part time paid post based in the UK because of the expansion of the work needed here. We were influenced by evidence of another similar organisation who had adopted this approach. Fundraising was a key element of the new role and with dedicated time for this purpose the individual successfully applied for grants and initiated other fundraising activity that generated very significant income for the charity concerned. BUT.........at the moment there are substantial cost pressures out in Pakistan. We are victims of our own success; in addition to our usual running costs of servicing our projects more children mean additional teachers, more desks and chairs, a new bus as minivans have to make repeated trips to get the children to school and that is just for a start. Money from donors to build the Mian Gul School depended on match funding which is also a significant drain on our limited resources. The difficult security situation has generated additional costs as well to protect our staff. Do I need to go on........? In short we have a hump to get over before we can afford to employ someone. We are caught between a rock and a hard place. We believe it would help us to have someone dedicated to generating more money for the projects, but the projects all need money now to keep going. So at the moment we are just letting you know that trustees have agreed the idea in principle but no timeframe yet also in case you haven't guessed already that this Newsletter will finish as the earlier two did with a shameless plea for money.

And the inevitable final paragraph!

Young boyPlease help us if you can: empty your pockets, raid your money box, rummage about under the mattress, turn your granny upside down (no no only joking), or even fill in that standing order form you have been meaning to do for months now! We tell you about the successful bids we have won not to put you off donating, but so you will know that we are doing everything we can to benefit the largest number of people possible. However we want to stress that equally important to us are our regular givers by standing order, visitors to our website www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk who press the 'donate now' button and those who put loose change or bank notes in our collecting tins and sign sponsor forms of our supporters who run walk cycle in events to raise funds. Please don’t condemn this little boy and many children like him to a life labouring on the brick kiln like the one below.

Be a good deed in a naughty world TODAY!

Brick kiln

THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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