IBA Karachi and Bargad Organization for Youth Development co-organized a session on ‘safe charity’ at the G&T auditorium, IBA Main Campus. An initiative of the IBA Community Welfare Society, the session had representatives from Bargad, Alamgir Welfare Trust and Alfajr Academy. The seminar provided a thought-provoking forum on the merits of ‘safe charity’ and a stimulating interaction between the IBA students and the above mentioned charity organizations.
The seminar started with the welcome address by the society host, followed by recitation from the Holy Quran. The host emphasized on the importance and impact of charity on Pakistan and the whole community. An emphasis was placed on bringing transparency to charity collection and making sure that it goes to the deserving and not to radical organizations. Since the month of Ramadan is just around the corner, everyone was urged to not only to donate to charities, which take up worthy causes but also to ensure that the money is utilized to strengthen and not deteriorate Pakistan.
Ms. Sabiha Shaheen, a representative of Bargad Organization also welcomed the audience and gave a brief introduction to the organization. According to her the vision of the organization is to ensure politically aware, democratic, responsible, and gender sensitive youth communities, which respect freedom and equality. She said the Mission of the organization is “To promote peace, justice and cooperation among the youth in Pakistan”. She also mentioned that Pakistan has an enormous charity collection of 650 Billions, which isn’t utilized properly and this is why they came up with the idea of safe charity. By starting this initiative they plan to streamline the charity distribution channels in a period of 4 months. The organization plans to start the project from Karachi, operating in the most revenue generating areas of the city like Gulshan-e-Iqbal, DHA, Koranagi, Site, Sadder, etc. She also encouraged students to volunteer at Bargad so that their efforts can help them achieve the goal at the earliest.
Moderating the session Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Professor IBA spoke about the scholarship opportunities offered by the organization to individuals, who plan to pursue their studies abroad and then return to Pakistan upon completion to serve the nation. Dr. Huma then introduced the Panel Members, namely: Dr. Najam Anjum Assistant Professor IBA, Mr. Rehan Yaseen- Alamgir Trust, Mr. Asim Ismail- Alfajar Academy and Ms. Sabiha Shaheen -Executive Director Bargad.
The panel discussion was based on the ground reality that “Pakistan has an annual charity contribution of around 650 Billion, which isn’t properly utilized” and the biggest contributor is Karachi! An informative discussion ensued on how this significant amount can be efficiently utilized to benefit the underprivileged and to contribute towards strengthening Pakistan. Initiating the panel discussion Dr. Najam Anjum talked about the grey areas in the structure of collecting, distributing and utilizing charity. He mentioned about people charting for the various causes, which are then used by officials for personal uses and benefits in the form of building businesses, buying properties etc.
Mr. Rehan Yaseen- a representative of Alamgir Trust briefed the audience about the operations at Alamgir Welfare Trust and its transparent methods, which include computerized documentation of the donations that they receive. He mentioned that to make the structure more transparent and flawless, the Alamgir Trust has encouraged over 1500 Pakistanis to get their National Identity Cards.
Ms. Salma from Bargad said that ‘It’s important for charity organizations to work collectively and in cohesion with each other to ensure that the money pouring in form of donations is utilized properly and not falling in the hands of radical organizations, which will detriment both the citizens the country.
Taking the discussion a step forward Dr. Huma Baqai asked Ms. Sabiha about the charity given by USAID to organizations and how is it used, to which she answered that “The charity given by USAID is documented and the government is completely liable for its distribution to registered organizations. So they have a defined procedure for spending it”.
In the Q&A session, a question was raised whether money earned illegally should be utilized for charity purposes or not. Mr. Rehan of Alamgir Trust said that their organization keeps a thorough check and doesn’t accept such money, while Dr. Huma opined that if such money can help feed hungry mouths and is not utilized to raise terrorists than it’s perhaps still somewhat acceptable.
Concluding the session Dr. Najam Anjum closed the session on the note that it is our religious duty to not only give generously in charity but also to ensure that it reaches the deserving and not falls in radical hands. Mementos were presented to all the esteemed guests and moderator of the session.