Drabu Luncheon Meet With Orphans May Help Improve Destitute Management

KL NEWS NETWORK

PULWAMA

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Politicians have always remained exceptionally concerned for their voters and workers. But on Friday, the third of Eid, there was a bit of change: Dr Haseeb Drabu, state’s finance minister, had a luncheon meeting with the orphans being raised and educated by various social organizations in his district.

“I think, he has good leadership qualities, I can feel the manly attitude in this young boy, Sameer,” Drabu told Kashmir Life after the lunch with Sameer and two other orphans.

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Sameer is a ninth standard student from Malwan village of Doda. In 2011 when his father Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, slipped to death from a forest peak in Doda and died instantly, he was adopted by a Chanpora (Srinagar) based orphanage.

“Given the attitude he has, he has the capacity to grow into a better human being if given a better environment,” Dr Drabu said.

Fareed is another orphan, also from Doda. Abdul Jabar Lone, his father died in a road accident in 2012 and since then he has been in an orphanage at Galandar (Pampore). He is now in the fifth standard. His minor sister Attia lives with her mother Shamima Begum in a Doda village.

Zamir, the fourth person in Drabu’s platter is from a Kupwara village. Currently in his fourth class, Zamir’s father Fareed Ahmad Lachi had an instant death when he was caught in the crossfire a few years back near his own village Gund Machur. He is too young to remember the circumstances in which he became an orphan. “My mother told me I was a little boy when my father was killed,” he said.

The 11-course meal that Drabu hosted was aimed at two clear things.

Firstly, to link with the lot of minors who are growing on the margins of society and the opportunities and to understand the basic problem they might be facing.

Secondly, to acknowledge the efforts that a small section of society is making in managing the destitute load and preventing this crisis from getting spoiled.

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Event organizers from Drabu’s personal staff said that they expected a good number to attend the interaction but they did not know that because of Eid, most of them had moved to their relations for interactions and celebrations.

Bilal Ahmad, one of the executives of the Mohammadia Yateem Trust that takes care of the three orphans who had lunch with Finance Minister, said his institution is managing a total of 57 orphans in its two orphanages – one of them at Galandar. “Here we have 22 kids in the orphanage for which we have already acquired some land and we are in the process of building a structure,” Bilal said.

Interestingly, Sameer’s elder brother Shabir was also with the same Trust. He completed his matriculation and shifted to another Trust because Mohammadia people do not support orphans beyond 10th standard.

Also in the same orphanage is Zamir’s young brother Aamir Ahmad Lachi. “We also support various orphans, mostly girls, who live with their mothers,” Bilal said. “We have around 200 widows on our monthly support list and we do help in various marriages, every year.”

Kashmir Yateem Welfare Society is another Pulwama based social organization that is taking care of 54 kids but only 22 of them put up in the orphanage it runs from a rented building.

“We do not have any huge budget,” Sheikh Ali Mohammad, one of its managers said, “We require only around Rs seven lakh a year which comes from the same society.”

Sheikh said that most of the orphans they support are not conflict-orphans but those who were orphaned by the loss of their fathers in routine circumstances.

“You should also understand one basic thing, the conflict orphans have grown up and the situation is not throwing up many of them,” Sheikh said. “They still require support because they are in advanced stage of their studies.”

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Sheikh said the floods have added to the economic crisis at ground level and has slightly improved the load on social organizations.

In Rajpora also a small orphanage is run by Sahara Society, a local initiative.

Yateem Welfare Society is another major social organization based in Pulwama. It is perhaps the only organization that owns a building wherefrom its orphanage operates.

“We support 150 orphans but we have got only 25 of the extreme cases to the orphanage for management and education,” Syed Masood Ahmad, one of its managers said. “Since our operations are limited, we work with a modest budget – less than Rs 5 lakh a year.” He said they are also into the vocational training to support the destitute to stand up on their own.

This society has a good track record too. “We have twenty of our orphans who are now in the state government services,” Masood said. “Right now we are supporting three orphans who are pursuing graduation.”

Some of the students of this orphanage are enrolled in the private schools and the fees are being paid in full. “Earlier, we used to pay their tuition fees to their mothers but somehow it would get into the management of hearth so we started paying the fees directly,” Masood said. “We make transactions through banks so that the processes remain transparent.”

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Masood said since all the organizations operating in the district for destitute management should merge so that we can create a collective infrastructure and can take bigger loads. “This will add to our transparency and help us manage things better,” Masood added.

After having an interaction for almost an hour, Drabu had 11-course meal with the orphans and their managers. He heard their problems at the pupil level and at the managerial level. He also distributed certain basic things of personal hygiene to the kids who were part of the event. Drabu said these boys and girls have very small things that they desperately require. “To be honest, it does not involve huge amount,” he said. He also admitted that the civil society was managing so many families without even getting noticed.

“In a way, it has been an eye-opener; these people managing so many people from the underprivileged lot can improve their operations if we dovetail some of the state government schemes with their operations,” Drabu said. “I am taking up the issue with the Social Welfare Minister so that we create a sort of a model that can be replicated in other districts.”

Drabu said his Eid interaction with this section of population will continue. “This helps understand things better so that one works on solutions,” Drabu said.

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He had invited all the lawmakers of the district to be part of the event. “This will also help them interact with the grassroots beyond workers and voters.”

Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Muneer ul Islam and SP was also part of the event that took place in the district circuit house.

Ruling PDP had decided to have a series of interactions with the destitute population during the month of fasting. In fact, Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti had an Iftaar meet with orphaned girls. But the idea of interaction during Ramzan was later considered offering less-time so it was picked up after Eid.

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