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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doing What It Takes

Islamic Relief USA staff member, Anwar Khan, recently visited Pakistan, where he met many people that Islamic Relief is assisting. In a diary entry, he reflected on his experience.

Today we visited Rawalpindi which is a twin city of the capital Islamabad. I met Uzma Bibi who is 14 years old and lives with her widowed mother Zakiya, 12-year-old brother Ajab and seven-year-old Hashim in one room.

They have a small courtyard 10 feet by six feet which is their dining room, kitchen and wash room. Outside their house, the sewage flows openly and the water in the area is contaminated.

Uzma's father died in the floods of Rawalpindi in 2001. Seven months later, her youngest brother was born. Her mother was young, pregnant and widowed. To
survive, she had to ask neighbors for leftovers to feed her children, pretending they were for the chickens. Sometimes they would soak hard, old bread in water so they could eat and sometimes they would go to sleep hungry.

Uzma couldn't afford to go to school and the neighborhood kids didn't want to play with her because her clothes stank. Eating was a problem, so soap was a privilege.

Her mother tried to make ends meet as a maid. However, her vomiting and sickness increased as she was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and then Tuberculosis. She still worked cleaning floors on her knees and washing clothes, but less hours.

Just when I thought things could not get worse, Zakiya told us that Uzma had to have surgery to remove her tonsils and appendix. She had to take a $100 loan to pay
for her costs at the Government clinic.

Her 12-year-old works at a cooking oil factory six days a week for $4 a week. She now sows embroidery 4 hours a day for $2.50 a week.

Zakiya does whatever it takes to look after her children. She thanks Allah (swt) that this Ramadan they will have food every day for iftar.

Uzma Bibi is now being sponsored by a donor from the US and Islamic Relief is taking care of the cost of the operation. There are hundreds of orphan families like Uzma’s who are on our waiting list in Pakistan and around the world. It only costs $49/month to sponsor an orphan family in Pakistan. Please call (888) 479 - 4968 or click here if you are interested in sponsoring orphans like Uzma in Pakistan or in other countries where Islamic Relief operates.


  1. I got very down after reading this and want to help this family. How can I set up something where I can send them some money every month.

    Please Advise. I can be reached at:

    Atif Rafique

  2. I agree with Atif, please email me,
    I want to send them something every month as well.

  3. I also need more details on who is this dude in Pakistan? I think we can generate some support for projects like these if we collaborate, the community is here but they are all dead from within, we need to awaken them with stories like these. I cant stop my tears from flowing. May God have mercy on this family and on the ones who are trying to help them.

  4. ok so we help one family what happens to the millions who go hungry every day and Paistan is not the only place. Its sad but a long term solution is desperately needed.

  5. Please do include my self with Atif and Imran...
    I agree with Imran, if we can do anything lets collaborate to put our share for people and families like this.

    Afsar Awan

  6. Thank you for your outpour of concern and support. The post has been updated to include more information and hopefully answers your questions. If you have any more questions or concerns, please feel free to contact

    Thanks again.

  7. I recently came across your post and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that it caught my interest and you've provided informative points. I will visit this blog often. Thank you.

  8. How can I set up something where I can send them some money every month.