It was a lively one-hour informative session, conducted by a seasoned campaigner, which was made even more entertaining by punctuating it with quite a few popular songs.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Would you like to share with our listeners when did you start your career as a social worker?
A: It was more than a decade ago when I got engaged in social work. I am one of the founding members of Rotary Club of Karachi Airport (RCKA) which was chartered in 2008. I was elected unopposed as its President last year.
Q: Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ is truly inspirational. How do you meet the challenge?
A: Rotary International is one of the top voluntary organizations of the world. We have a proper system in place. We act in accordance with our bye-laws. We hold weekly meetings of our club which help considerably in letting us accomplish our goals.
Q: How do you work on your projects?
A: In our weekly meetings we deliberate on the various aspects of the projects to be undertaken. Every member is provided the opportunity and encouraged to play his or her part. It can be in terms of cash or kind. All of us are volunteers. We devote our time and energies. Our Board finalizes the finer details and then the members are assigned tasks in light of commitments they make. The progress of the projects is monitored in our meetings. We work on short-term as well as long-term projects.
Q: How do you motivate your members?
A: Mostly the Rotarians are committed people. We, the resourceful ones, understand our responsibilities to the community and we try to contribute as much as we could to help those who deserve it.
Q: How do you reach the needy people?
A: We just need to keep our eyes and ears open while commuting. Day in and day out we come across people who need our support. We are flooded with requests for help at times. After proper verification we extend them as much support as we could by pooling our resources.
Q: What are the responsibilities of Rotary President?
A: Every Rotarian has a responsibility. The President is just the captain of the team for a term of one year. Our elections are held every year. The President tries to lead by example to let the others take the cue and perform more actively. In my opinion election to the post of the President its an incentive to work harder and create more resources.
Q: Which project has given you the highest satisfaction?
A: It was setting up a dispensary in Sector 11-D of North Karachi. While driving there, I had noticed an elderly man standing between lots of kids in front of a gate. As I drew closer it was discovered that the gentleman was Rahmat Bhai who was providing education free of cost to the area children at his own house.
We sent our club officials there to extract more details and then our meeting was arranged with him. He desired operating a dispensary in the portion of his house and sought our assistance to facilitate free medicine and consultation to the area people, who couldn’t afford costs. We readily agreed. We collected medicines and then persuaded a qualified doctor to work two hours daily on voluntary basis. The dispensary is still running and it gives me enormous satisfaction.
A: The eradication of polio is on top of the list of our priorities at the moment. Rotary’s National Polio Plus Committee, headed by our dynamic former Governor Aziz Memon, has been trying its level best to eradicate this deadly disease from Pakistan. On our part we are convincing the mothers to take the responsibility of saving their children. No mother wants her kid to be affected by polio. She has to be explained and made responsible. They have to be taught that it would be a criminal negligence to deprive their children of the polio drops that are being provided at their doorstep.
Q: Who inspired you to take to social work?
A: I have been thoroughly impressed with the spirit and passion of Abdul Sattar Edhi. I always wondered how he worked so selflessly and so effectively round the clock. He was been there everywhere. He takes care of the elderly parents who are deserted by their own children. Similarly he adopts the kids who are abandoned by their parents. It’s quite astonishing how he manages to do so much of work. I am a greater admirer of his. I know that I can’t be like him but I derive inspiration from his acts and try to contribute my bit.
Q: Do you get any time for recreation?
A: To be honest I don’t get much spare but I listen to music whenever possible.
Q: Who are your favourite singers?
A: Noor Jahan and Mohammad Rafi.
Q: What kind of songs you prefer to listen?
A: I am fond of ghazals. I have liked slow songs from beginning.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My husband is a mechanical engineer, who secured gold medal at the NED University. He has been working abroad a multinational for the last few years. Both my sons are also engineers, with the elder one having got married just recently.
Q: What kind of mother you have turned out to be?
A: Well I have never compromised on discipline. I didn’t allow my sons to go out once they were back from school with the focus being on studies. I taught them to ignore the mistakes of others and not to get provoked. Both my sons are greatly indebted to me now for having being strict when they were not in a position to find out themselves what was good for them and what was not.
Q: What’s your message to our listeners? A: I will urge the people not to lose hope. You must remain positive and your face should be glowing. Nobody leads an ideal life. The hardships are to be faced with courage. Don’t lose heart when things don’t go your way. Continue working hard because there are no short-cuts to success. If you wish to bring about a change in your lives you must work hard.