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    » 06/30/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Christian-Muslim association uses theater to help poor and orphans in Pakistan

    Joseph Laldin

    Chanan Development Association, since 2004, helping dozens of young people across the country to restore meaning to life through theater. Born out of collaboration between Christians and Muslims, the association also provides educational programs to help the most disadvantaged.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - "I lost my mother when I was three. A year after my father abandoned me and left me alone"; this is the moving story of Shama, a Christian girl of 22, saved by the work of Chanan Development Association (CDA), an association founded in 2004 by collaboration between Muslims and Christians to help dozens of orphans to restore meaning to their lives through theater , but mainly through the sharing of life experiences. After the tragic loss of her parents, Shama was raised by her older brothers and sisters. Her life changed several years ago when she met with CDA operators who invited her to play with other young people in the company. The girl had been forced to interrupt her studies because of the economic circumstances of her family. However, she is optimistic. "Now I am an actress and this helps me - she says - but in future I would like to become a professional beautician."

    The Chanan Development Association is a 'secular non-profit association founded in 2004 by Muhammad Shahzad, a young Muslim who chose to dedicate his life to more underprivileged children. Like many millions of young Pakistanis Muhammad clashed head on at just 12 years of age with the harsh reality of Pakistan's Islamic traditions. In his early teens he held a hunger strike against the forced marriage of the sister of 15 years with a man of 50. That gesture struck his family and later the whole community of his village, including the absurdity of the gesture, pushing his father to renounce marriage losing, for the sake of his children, even the potential economic gains. After this experience, at the age of 20, Muhammad decided to create an association able to tell through eyewitness accounts the harsh reality of many families and young Pakistanis.

    Together with some friends founded the Board of Directors, helping thousands of orphans through theater and young people in difficulty, giving them the opportunity to tell their own story, but also to exploit and utilize their knowledge, skills and expertise to improve their status in society. To achieve its objectives CDA has initiated four programs named "Happy", a program for active youth participation in socially disadvantaged contexts, "Welcome", which aims to empower young women by giving them education and instruction; "Help" an initiative to offer support to single mothers and street children.

     

     

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    See also

    07/06/2007 PAKISTAN
    Msgr. Coutts: “We brave terrorism with our heads held high by witnessing the Gospel”
    In an interview with AsiaNews, the bishop of Faisalabad president of the local Caritas speaks of the difficult situation of Christians in Pakistan and of their desire not to hide the Christian faith, or at least, not to cede to the violence of new Islamic extremists.

    05/03/2012 IRAQ
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    In the Chaldean cathedral in 35 young people, Muslims and Christians, met for the third time the idea of non-violence and peaceful coexistence. Imam of the city also addresses event and leads group on visit to the mosque. Mgr Sako: "young people, future and hope for the country for a lasting peace."

    05/05/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Christian and Muslim students together to promote peace
    An initiative of the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA). Six days of coexistence that involved 48 young people from four high schools in the Filipino capital.

    18/07/2013 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Christian violently attacked for protecting his daughters
    The perpetrators are two young Muslim men, still on the loose. The Christian suffered a head injury and a broken arm. The man: "I may not be rich, but I will fight for justice and for the respect and the dignity of my family."

    26/09/2012 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: 16 year old Christian girl gang raped for hours by young Muslims
    The rape took place in the house of one of the three members of the group, all belonging to wealthy families. The incident occurred in broad daylight; the desperate cries for help of the girl in vain. The father tells AsiaNews: "despite our poverty, I will not accept compromise." Vicar General: "poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice. "



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