Must have faith to build a better society: Philanthropists

“You need to have the vision to succeed”. This is what Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib, CEO, Akhuwat Foundation – had to say who has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 for his humanitarian work in poverty alleviation. During the first webinar of the Reflections series titled ‘Beacon of Hope’, he made these remarks, powered by K-Electric and organised by Nutshell Group.

The webinar’s objective was to bring together major philanthropic organisations and corporate companies to discuss how they can uplift society by working collaboratively.

The session began with opening remarks by Zehra Mehdi – Director of Sustainability at K-Electric, who highlighted how the world was changing Post-Covid and emphasised the need for stronger collaboration between the corporate sector and welfare organisations for a sustainable future. She also accentuated the necessity to bring smaller welfare organisations into the limelight because, just like other well-known names in the sector, these organisations are also playing an instrumental role in shaping a better future.

After Ms Mehdi, the moderator introduced Air Cdre. (R) Shabbir Ahmed Khan, the founder of the Rashidabad Memorial Welfare Organization. “We are not visionaries; we are committed to serving the nation and humanity. I know it is strange to hear this from a soldier, but that is what we heard from our instructor in the 1965 war. He told us to live for others,” he said.

According to Air Cdre. Khan, he said, set up a Shaheed welfare fund right after the 1971 war. “This is not a success story…it is our duty. Whether we have done it or not, only God knows better. It is our commitment. Today is the need to forget yourself as the country needs your total commitment,” he added.

Talking about his journey and experience, Dr Saqib said that you also have to talk about philosophy whenever you talk about a trip. “No institution is based upon its structure, but there is always a core philosophy behind it; Akhuwat’s philosophy is connectivity between the haves and has not’s. If Pakistan has 50% haves and 50% have not’s and if you can connect these two sections of the society only then we can say we can work,” he shared.

He said that his advice to young entrepreneurs was that it is important to take the first step. He added that to develop a beautiful society is what social entrepreneurship is; for this, we need a vision and a dream and then finally dedicate our life to that dream.

After Air Cdre. (R) Shabbir Khan and Dr. Saqib, the moderator opened the session to a panel discussion and invited Prof. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, Indus Hospital and Health Network CEO.

Dr. Abdul Bari Khan talked about how he came up with the idea of a free hospital. It has been 15 years, and from one hospital, we have grown into a health network, and our counters are still cashless and completely free of charge. He shared that many people had no faith that this would become a reality. He added that some people had told him that he would not be able to operate in a cashless hospital and eventually would start making money.

“Dreams are those which do not let you sleep. We should always see bigger dreams. One day Indus will run as the national health service of Pakistan,” he said.

With the same train of thought, Syed Asaad Ayub Ahmad, the President and CEO of The Citizens Foundation, said: “It all starts with the belief in what we want to do. The biggest thing for this organisation was when the founders sat together and said that they want to do something and something good.”

According to Mr Ahmad, they narrowed it down to education – specifically primary education for the less privileged section of society. “Our other focus was to provide a good educational environment. We also wanted to focus on girls’ education, which is why all our faculty members are female.”

Next was Martin Dow’s Group Managing Director and CEO, Javed Ghulam Mohammad. The latter brought everyone’s attention to how the education and health sector is not being given their due attention. He said, “Education and health are one of the most neglected segments of our society. The government support or GDP allocation of the budget is very low even if you compare with other regional countries”.

The closing remarks were given by Air Chief Marshal (R) Sohail Aman, the Chief Executive of Strategic Engagements of the Nutshell Group. According to the former Air Chief Marshal, the message for the next generation was loud and clear: humbleness, humility and serving the poor & needy.

He thanked KE for its support and CSR activities. He also thanked all the ‘beacons of hope’ for their participation and important work. The webinar was moderated by Sadaffe Abid, the founder of CIRCLE Women – a startup geared towards empowering women through digital literacy and entrepreneurial skills.

All the panelists unanimously agreed that the first step is to sow a seed of faith in one’s heart and move forward with a firm belief to do something great for society.

*About the series*

Reflections is a series of webinars powered by K-Electric, highlighting the importance of social responsibility efforts to uplift less privileged sections of society. The first webinar of this series, ‘Beacon of Hope’, features various individuals representing different initiatives in Pakistan. In this session, these powerhouses talked about the challenges faced by Pakistan and how we can bring about change.

Inclusivity, unity, ownership, and community are all key pillars within KE’s repertoire and the holy month of Ramzan proactively harkens the general populace to deliberate, to become more conscious, conscientious – to reflect.

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