11/29/2022, 17.30
PAKISTAN
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Health camp for women and children In a Lahore slum

by Shafique Khokhar

Umeed Partnership, a non-profit organisation, set up the camp to provide free medical consultations and vaccinations to a thousand people. For its president, Shamin Gulzar, “poverty forces women to work to support their families”; as a result, they “face a number of problems.” Warm clothes were handed out to 200 families.

 

Lahore (AsiaNews) – On Monday, Umeed Partnership Pakistan, a non-profit organisation, set up a free medical health camp in cooperation with the Rotary International Club, in a Lahore slum.

From 9 am to 5 pm, more than a thousand people from a dozen villages received free medical care.

Three tents were set up: one for women and girls, one for children, and one for polio vaccinations after 14 cases were reported this year.

Six doctors were present: a general practitioner, three gynaecologists and two paediatricians. At the end of the day, the Rotary Club also distributed warm clothing to 200 families.

To reach as many Christian and Muslim women as possible, the Umeed Partnership announced the event repeatedly for a week in city churches and mosques.

“It is a general perception that in Pakistan poverty forces women to work to support their families; otherwise, very few of them would take part in economic activities,” said Umeed Partnership President Shamin Gulzar speaking to AsiaNews.

“Female workers are mostly employed in the informal sector, which exacerbates their problems even more,” she explained.

For the Christian activist, “In urban areas like Lahore, the domestic services sector provides most  employment for women. Due to tootles laws and a lack of regulations, female workers face a number of problems.”

"Before we held this health camp, we trained 16 women and girl community leaders who now promote and provide psychosocial support in Lahore slums.

“If, by using our resources, we serve humanity and oppressed people without discrimination, there is no doubt that we are doing God's work," she noted.

"We have been hit hard by lockdowns during the pandemic," said Parveen Bibi, one of the beneficiaries of the health camp.

“My husband was a carpenter and lost his job. He became an alcoholic and beat the children and me. I suffered a lot, so I left him and went back to live with my parents, but they can't feed my six children."

“My children don't go to school, because I work from morning to night in other people's homes. I am constantly under stress and many times I have felt like committing suicide, but I held back and wait for God's help.

"I would like to quit domestic work because of the mistreatment by rich ladies and the sexual harassment from their husbands. I have to thank Umeed Partnership, which helped and supported me in difficult times.”

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