Newsletter June 2014

Here comes Summer!

Welcome to the second Newsletter of 2014! The months are flying by and the arrival of summer brings a number of key regular events in the Abaseen Foundation Calendar, the Yorkshire 3 peaks sponsored walk and the Annual Dinner. However, there are also a number of ‘new kids on the block’ in terms of fundraising efforts. We will be telling you more about these below.

What’s been happening with the Pakistan Projects?

We reported last time that we had been successful in securing a grant from DFID, the government department responsible for international development. The money was to extend the range of healthcare services provided at Baghbanan Health Centre, the facility that serves the Baghbanan community where the Noor Model School is situated. Although the project only started in January there has already been significant progress and we are meeting milestones DFID have set. A new pharmacy room is nearing completion, staff are being trained to undertake an expanded immunisation programme and the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CNAM) and to provide the necessary ante and post natal advice and screening. Birthing Assistants have also been identified to strengthen the support available to woman during delivery.

Although it is early days the immunisation programme has begun and the nutrition unit is supporting malnourished children and pregnant and lactating mothers with advice and nutritional supplements. Routine patient checkups are undertaken and the staff issue the necessary medicine and treatment to the malnourished patients.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing. Keeping vaccines at the correct temperature in the heat is proving a challenge. The fridge relies on solar power, but the single panel is inadequate so we will need to raise funds to increase the number of panels. However challenges can be turned into opportunities and colleagues in Pakistan have realised that if we purchase panels with sufficient capacity we could generate power for the whole health centre and the Noor Model School which is adjacent to it. Although this would involve a significant capital cost it would offer significant ongoing revenue savings.

There have also been issues relating to the remote location of the projects which was having an impact on staff retention and we were losing key staff after only a short period in post. Most live in Peshawar and they have to travel significant distances to work which is arduous for them and costly for the Foundation transporting them. In consequence staff in both the health and school facilities have moved from working 6 to working 5 longer days. Everyone is a winner as service delivery is maintained, staff have less travel and two days off during the week and importantly the travel costs are reduced for the Foundation which is helping manage the budget.

Noor Model School, is now full to capacity with 348 children between age 5 and 11. 3 girls who have just completed their schooling will start shortly as classroom assistants. This will allow them to earn some money, but also continue to study.
Funding Noor Model School depends entirely on charitable donations from the UK. We seek to make all our projects self sustaining, but the brick kiln community is so poor that measures such as user charges that we are able to use elsewhere are not feasible here. Some families can make a small contribution, but others can afford nothing and if it wasn’t for your continuing generosity these children would have no access to education. At the annual fundraising dinner recently AF Pakistan Chief Executive, Professor Mukhtiar Zaman described how attempts to give the children school holidays are met with wails of protest because the children’s thirst for knowledge and enjoyment of school is so great. It is hard to imagine a similar scene in the UK!

Children Being Issued With New Uniforms Purchased Via Your Donations
New uniforms bought through your donations

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.

Research

The Jirga project sponsored by the Wellcome trust that investigated the potential for using the Jirga system to promote health messages has now come to an end. The study demonstrated that the jirga could indeed be a valuable route for health promotion in this case prompting an increase in the use of iodised salt for cooking to address thyroid problems in the local community due to a lack of iodine in the diet. The study did however identify that the process of adding iodine to the salt at the supplier was inadequate and this issue is being addressed locally. A full report has been sent to the sponsors and Professor Nicola Lowe, our Head of Research will be presenting the findings at a micronutrient forum in Ethiopia in June.

Anwar Salt Factory

Anwar Salt Factory

Twinning Project

We reported last time that our Pakistan schools have twinned with 2 schools in Oldham, The Waterhead Academy has twinned with Mian Gul and Greenacres Primary School with Noor Model School. Teachers at the schools were amongst a swelling band of walkers on the Yorkshire 3 peaks event. Sacred Heart School in Blackburn is also involved in fundraising efforts and has just raised their first £100 to sponsor a child so well done to them.

New Abaseen group gets off the ground

We told you in the last Newsletter that a group of our active supporters were establishing an Oldham based AF branch. They are moving ahead with their fundraising efforts; organising a fundraising dinner in September and have been adopted as the Mayor’s Charity which is a great achievement. They also participated in the Yorkshire 3 peaks sponsored walk so we are very excited by all this new activity.

Is that all we have done since we were last in touch?

Of course not!!

Dr Mukhtiar Zaman visited the UK in May. As usual we worked him hard during his stay. We organised the annual fundraising dinner at the Sultan restaurant in Lancaster and as always he gave us an inspirational update about what is going on in the various projects, but more importantly described the poverty of many of the beneficiaries and the impact your donations have made. The staff at the Sultan did us proud as always and we enjoyed the evening and left vowing to redouble our efforts. The evening raised over £5,000 AF supporters in East Lancashire invited Professor Zaman and Helen Bingley, AFUK Chief Executive to a dinner during his visit. This wonderful gathering of people in Burnley has opened a route for us into the community in East Lancashire. More news in future Newsletters so watch this space!

We have also been successful in applying to be one of the charities featured in the Radio 4 charity appeals. This won’t happen until 2015, but it is an excellent achievement and we are looking forward to working with the BBC on this.

We have purchased some collecting boxes which supporters have been placing in various businesses, but which others have been putting in their homes. These individuals have been contributing personally and encouraging friends and families to do so as well. This is a recent project, but looks very promising. If you have a business or know a business that would be prepared to ‘host’ a collection box or if you would like one for your home please get in touch with Jabien via e mail; jkauser@uclan.ac.uk

New Look Website

After more than 10 years of faithful service our website is being re-launched with a new look. We hope that the changeover will happen at the end of June. A huge thank you goes to Steve Smithson who has provided our web development and ongoing support for all these years including sending you these Newsletters.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

There have already been several references to the Yorkshire 3 Peaks sponsored walk to raise funds for The Foundation. 64 AF Supporters participated in the event on Saturday June 14th. Participants declared they had a thoroughly good time despite tiredness and aching muscles and left, apparently already planning for next year. This involved bringing others to do it with them and doing more training first! The enjoyed the excellent refreshments provided at the checkpoint by our cheerful support crew. If you want to show them your support, it is still not to late to do so. There is a My Donate page – https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jabienkauser1

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Sponsored Event – Leaving Ribblehead after Stocking Up at the Refreshment Point
Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge

Changes at AFUK

Last time we reported that we were in the process of changing our charitable form to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The legal process is complete and we are now dealing with the practical implications of that. We are still overseen by the Charity Commission and it shouldn’t have any noticeable impact on you as donors.

We also told you last time that for the first time we had employed someone part time to support the unpaid volunteers on the UK side in running the charity. We have been victims of our own success in that the volunteers have been finding it increasingly difficult to manage the work arising from all the projects in addition to what is in some cases full time employment. When we sent the last Newsletter in January Jabien Kauser had joined us only 2 weeks previously on a 3 month temporary contract. Just to give you a little background, Jabien has worked in the public sector in managing and developing training and education government programmes to be delivered across Lancashire. This also entailed commissioning and procuring programmes of delivery. In the last several years, she has been working in the voluntary sector managing Lancashire wide charities to support and develop disadvantaged individuals and communities through capacity building voluntary groups. When I spoke to her she was enthusiastic about her new role and said “I am honoured to, now, work with Abaseen Foundation to use my experiences and skills to help the deprived needy people in Khyber Pakhtunhwa by raising awareness amongst South Asian community”.

At a recent trustee meeting her contract was extended for a further 12 months, a reflection of the huge impact she has had already. She has been working to increase regular giving via standing orders and these will now bring in almost £20,000 per annum an increase of over £4,000 which is fantastic news. She has also been working with the new web designer to ensure that they have the information they need in time for the launch. She is instrumental in planning a fundraising campaign for Ramadan and her links with the South Asian community are very helpful in this regard. She played a key role in organising the administration of the annual dinner and the Yorkshire 3 peaks.

Jabien (left of the picture) In Action at the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Sponsored Walk! (Afzal Hussain AF UK Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees on the right)
Jabien and Afzal

New Year’s Resolutions?

As the last Newsletter came out in January we asked you to make a New Year’s Resolution to improve the life of someone else by donating to AF. New Year resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, learn Mandarin or climb Everest often fade with the Christmas lights, but we hope that you can maintain the ‘habit’ of giving to the Abaseen Foundations as our projects still need your help.

Noor Model School costs £14,000 per year to run, not bad value to educate 348 children. We need £20,000 to purchase additional solar panels that would provide all power to Noor Model School and the health centre next door. £14,000 would allow us to buy a second hand bus to transport the children, £3,600 would pay for additional furniture we need to open more classrooms at MGM School and provide play faculties.

You are reading this because you are interested in the work that we do and perhaps are a regular giver or make one off donations. Could you support our work by setting up a regular standing order with your bank? You can go to our website to access the necessary form www.abaseenfoundation.org.uk. If you are a UK taxpayer you can make your donation work even harder by completing the gift aid form at the same time which increases the value of your gift by around 25% at no extra cost to you. This form can be found on the website too. If you already have a standing order perhaps you could manage to increase it; every little helps! If regular giving via this route is not possible for you a one off donation via the ‘donate now’ button on our site would still be a great help to us or you could give a gift to a child in Pakistan by purchasing one or more of our gift card as a present. Over 2,700 well known retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, eBay and Tesco will donate a percentage of what you spend to the Abaseen Foundation UK to say thank you for shopping with them. All you have to do is register at www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/abaseenfoundation You could text ABUK10 followed by £10, £5, £4, £3, £2 £1 to 70070. Finally, you could donate to one of our sponsored events.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

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