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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Women rights

We've all heard the politicians, human rights activists, various NGO's emphasising on Women Rights, but if you visit the rural villages of our country - be it Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan or KP - you'll find that many women aren't even aware of their rights, let alone practising them. These women are still under the "men rule" and are made to sacrifice at every step, most of the times reluctantly.

The question that comes to one's mind is: What are these activists doing then? Why aren't NGO's helping these women?

We can't answer these questions, but probably deep inside we all know the answers; however some young people have taken notice of the appalling situation. These young people have developed an organisation called "AIM" and are spreading awareness about "Women Rights" in the rural areas of Pind Dadan Khan.

The AIM group is led by a young person, Ubaid Malik.

"I attended the British Council's Active Citizens Workshop and gained the passion and enthusiasm to do some thing for my country. I know many other young people are working for environment, education and career counselling for youngsters. I saw the women are deprived of their rights in Pind Dadan Khan. This looked like a great opportunity to spread awareness about "Women Rights" and even practice them," Ubaid indulged in a detailed explanation about his reasons of spreading women rights' awareness. He spoke with a conviction that is hardly found in any political leader's voice.

Hence, he induced practicality to his ideas and started campaigns where women were informed about their basic rights. These campaigns were organised in a village meeting areas called "Bethaks" which were easily accessible to the females. Many of them were shocked when they found they had the rights to acquire education, vote and even earn their own living.

"I thought we - women can't gain education, i always thought our lives were bound to revolve around household chores and serving men," an elderly village women said shaking her head in disbelieve. There was sadness in eyes as she further added, "I spend my entire life with no education. Now, I want my daughters to be educated for sure."

Ubaid Malik and his AIM colleagues did a poll during the campaign. They asked the women to clap if they (women) think they are given all the rights which were under discussion. Unfortunately, there was a very faint clap which indicated women weren't given those rights! Many women unanimously said they would clap after today, when they would go back home and protest for their rights!

Such an enthusiasm was infused amongst the women of Pind Dadan Khan.

Ubaid and his fellow friends have done their work, they have spread awareness and knowledge. All we need to do is hope these women accomplish to practise their rights and gain freedom!

We wish the women of Pind Dadan Khan all the best in their efforts!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Emerging Light Group

Remember there was a cartoon series back in 90's called the Captain Planet? Captain Planet was fighting on the planet's side to save it from pollution, deforestation and an eventual distinction.
There were Planeteers too, helping save the earth from the bad guys. Captain Planet would always say, "The power is yours..."

Well, there are a few youngsters who seem to be carrying Captain Planet's legacy forward. They call themselves "The Emerging Light" and are working to save the environment from man-made disasters. The group attended Active Citizens Workshop and got inspired to do something for their country. This group has started working in Multan, raising awareness about environmental pollution and its hazards.

"We put quite a lot of thinking into starting to work for the environmental problems. We thought when will the citizens of this country realise they are harming the atmosphere brutally? They are chopping the trees, their cars emit black smoke, they use plastic bags which take ages to dissolve," said Sana Kunwal, a member of Emerging Light when we asked her the reasons of starting this project.

The Emerging Light group held exhibitions in different colleges and their university, displaying paper and cloth bags and encouraging people to use them, instead of the cheap and readily available plastic bags. They've even launched a campaign to abandon plastic bags in their university.

Besides environmental work, these young people are striving to help those who can't afford expensive medical treatments. The group has signed contracts with various pharmaceuticals who provide them free medicines and vaccines to distribute amongst the needy people. This way the group is helping community people too.

"We are endeavouring to make our communities healthier. We want to save the elderly and kids from 'death due to sickness' as they couldn't afford treatment," said Farhan Siddique, another member of The Emerging Light group.

The Captain Planet cartoons were watched by millions of kids through out the world, but I wonder how many would have understood the message that cartoon series was trying to convey? The Emerging Light Group is trying to bring a change in one of most important things that we neglect most of the times - The Mother Nature!

The members of Emerging Light Group are:
Sana kunwal
Zoya khan
M.Nasir kalam
Farhan siddique
M.Naveed anjum

Way to go young Planeteers and remember: "The Power is yours...!" :)

Maternal Health Assistance by CDA

I'm sure all females wish to become mothers at some point in their lives. Becoming a mother is a beautiful feeling and a blessing, but many a times we've noticed that mothers-to-be aren't as careful about their's and baby's health as they should be.

In Urban cities, mothers-to-be are given numerous facilities like ambulances, constant and undivided attention by the female doctors, the family's usually supportive and so on. Our media is also playing an important role in raising awareness about the do's and don'ts while one's expecting.

Nonetheless, females in the rural areas are still deprived of these life-saving conveniences. Many couples rely on Mid-wives only, who aren't well equipped in dealing with the complicated delivery cases. As a result, the mother or the new born dies or in some cases, both.

Therefore, to combat the increasing percentage of female deaths during pregnancy, Channan Development Association (CDA) has decided to step forward and take action.

"We decided to help the women who are expecting because we noticed an alarmingly high rate of pregnancy deaths. Awareness will do women good," Alyas Rahmat explained his reasons for starting a project of such nature.

CDA executed a three month project called "Save Pregnant Women and Infants" at Nishat Colony in Lahore. They held seminars and group discussions - raising awareness about the precautionary measures that should be taken during the pregnancy and at the time of delivery. They encouraged couples to seek medical assistance at the right time, rather than delaying and involving Mid-wives in child birth.

We interviewed Alyas and he informed us about the execution of his project. "Government dispensaries have agreed to arrange free medical assistance for females. They've started counselling couples and so far 7 out of them have agreed to regularly visit the lady doctor. Apart from this, Dr Shahida is going to do free routinely medical check-ups of the pregnant women between 4.00 till 6.00 pm, twice a week," he said with bright eyes and a proud face.

The work that CDA has undertaken is very important for the development of a healthy society. Only healthy mothers can give birth to healthy infants.

Mother and infant health is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) identified by the United Nations. I'm very glad that our youngsters are promoting and working towards MDGs.