Tag Archives: Society

Engro Corporation — I Am The Change

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Quraan 13:11)

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Many of us are prone to complain and moan; about how our country is going in the doldrums the government is corrupt and inefficient, the people are uneducated, the roads are filthy, there is poverty all around, etc. However, very few realize that the change that they are seeking will come from none but themselves. Luckily for Pakistan there are many who decided to stop complaining and become agents of change.

In 2012, Engro Corporation launched a small initiative to recognize these true stalwarts of society who have worked tirelessly to improve access to education, health-care and livelihoods for Pakistan’s poorest of the poor.The initiative aims to collaborate with the corporate and the philanthropic sector of the country and help individuals and institutions who are pioneering initiatives to improve lives across the spheres of Livelihoods, Education and Health.

I Am The Change (IATC) celebrates those who decided it wasn’t enough to moan and groan but to start the rebuilding of our nation one brick at a time. These heroes would have served their causes without fame and recognition but to magnify these causes we need to highlight them, to support them, and to spread their deeds far and wide.

I had the opportunity to meet some of these heroes last year during a bloggers meet that Engro organized at T2F. This year, I was invited to the awards ceremony by Xenith Public Relations, along with very limited people from the Social Media community. I wish there had been more of Social Media representation at the dinner who could have spread the word far and wide through our collective ‘pens’.

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The event was an extravagant affair, some may even call it a bit over-indulgent. However, as a Trustee of a charitable trust (Ihsaas Trust), I understand to some extent why Engro wanted to splurge on it. The ugly truth is that money attracts money. The dinner was for the high and mighty of society, a bid to attract them and to get them to fill out pledge forms to support this cause of highlighting the heroes of society. And sadly those type of people don’t show up to eat daal chawal outside your local masjid. However, I still think the event could have been equally grand with a little less spent on decor, food and ‘shashkay’. For 10% saved off the cost of the event, we could change several lives at Ihsaas Trust or any of the IATC award winners.

This year’s recipients included the Azat Foundation in the category of education, working to provide education and youth empowerment opportunities to individuals from various areas of Baluchistan including Noshki, Kharan, Awaraan amongst others.

In the category of Livelihoods, the award was given to Orangi Pilot Project that continues to focus on urban development and works with the underprivileged in the arena of micro-finance and micro-enterprises, helping set up small businesses such as embroidery, footwear manufacturing and other small cottage industries reaching out to over 100,000 individuals through various projects. The winner in the category of Health was Child Life Foundation (CLF) — an NGO providing comprehensive child health care services from emergency care to prevention. CLF provides free medicines, essential oxygen systems, medical monitors and most importantly trains doctors and nurses to help save the lives of children at imminent risk reaching out to approximately 800 child-patients every day.

1 IATC May 20152 IATC May 2015 3 IATC May 2015 5 IATC May 2015

Previous winners of the IATC Awards in the various categories include organizations such as The Dream Foundation; The Garage School; Patients Welfare Association; Karachi Vocational & Training Centre; Child Aid Association; KhwendoKor (Peshawar); Akhuwat (Lahore).

CEVMK8yVAAAU1oTSpeaking at the occasion, Ali Ansari – outgoing President & CEO, Engro Corporation said, “We strongly believe in empowerment of communities by highlighting change agents who are working in high-impact areas such as education, health and livelihoods. Pakistan has a growing young population which will be in need of job opportunities. Coupled with the fact that half of the country cannot read or write and up to 25 million children not having access to school, the country is faced with an education, health and livelihood emergency. In this scenario it is imperative that we join hands to empower agents of change who are working to improve these social issues – IATC is a partnership platform that creates awareness and provides recognition to the unsung heroes from across Pakistan in order to support and multiply their efforts.”

The IATC platform also announced a major development in terms of cross partnerships with different corporate organizations of Pakistan which included Coca-Cola, Mitsubishi Corporation, National Foods, K-Electric amongst others. The winners of the competition were selected based on the scope of their social work; level of impact, number of beneficiaries and the ability to replicate the program amongst other key considerations.The IATC award entails a financial grant along with aiding the NGO in terms of its capacity & organizational development whilst also ensuring employee volunteerism activities.

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The evening included Ayesha Tammy Haq moderating a panel discussion with Ali Ansari and representatives from the corporate sponsors: Abrar Hassan from National Foods Limited, Kimihide Ando from Mitsubishi, and Zohair Sharif from Asiatic Public Relations representing Coca-Cola.

The one message that I found very useful from Ali Ansari’s speech was:

Corporations have slowly now realized that one solution that the world is looking for is Social Change. And that CSR is not just about lip service and throwing money at causes, but getting involved and really fostering change. Engro Corporation is on the right path with the I Am Change initiative. Let’s hope that more and more corporates join in to spark off a domino effect.

Change your input, determine your future

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"Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future." – Zig Ziglar

So what is OUR input? Well for the average person (myself included) it is the junk we watch on TV, the music we hear in our environment, the violence on we see on TV/streets, the negativity of those around us, the lure of scantily clad models on billboards, etc. How does all this affect our outlook/output? Given that our input is not pure, can we expect our output to be pure as well? And in the end, our future, which we all crave to be Jannah (Paradise), is severely affected by this pollution in our input. So should we not be looking to reduce the fitnah and the haram in our input in order to improve our deeds (output)?

The Prophet (SAW) warned us:

“Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity.” (Muslim)

However, remember that at the end of the day it is the grace and mercy of Allah (SWT) that will enable us to protect ourselves, clean our input, and purify our output.

And if not for the Grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (24:21)

May Allah (SWT) help us cleanse our input and make our deeds those which lead us to Jannah.

LOVE makes the world go round! | Valentines Day

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Lets’ face it, we Love all there is to do with love. And why not?

LOVE makes the world go round!

It is a beautiful and pure emotion; Fresh & crisp like daisies in sunshine, deep & strong like the ocean. It is a need, a desire, a want, a fancy created by Allah

And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect" (Surah Ar-Rum,30: Verse, 21)

ALAS!

Come 14th February, love is hijacked & sold, like cheap candy that leaves a bad taste in the mouth – But, wrapped in very fancy paper! And they call it VALENTINE’S DAY.

Special red roses, specially designed cards, “extra special” discounts on that oh so special dinner, supported by special TV shows, specially crooned songs to get you in that special mood – the stage is set for one special marketing genius day!

You think, like millions of others, this is all specially for me? Why have we allowed love to become a commodity?

And have we considered what “brand” of love Valentine’s day is promoting? Same as the media does … “virtual love” … images of tall, dark & handsome, petite yet voluptuous, sacrifice through rebellion, passion as reckless, and “love” as pleasurable sin. Everything is so dramatic, so momentary and yet so alluring …

Do we really know the difference between real love and virtual love?
Or have we all started living in “La La Land.”

The Canadian Red Cross says,

“Valentine’s day hype can fuel youth dating violence. Our culture starts laying the groundwork at a very early age to convince young people that romantic love is all important. However, we often neglect to teach young people what’s health and what isn’t in romance."

We have imported a phenomenon that thinking people in the west are rejecting –cigarette companies found a new “market” in us when anti-smoking campaigns took hold in the west. They need to sell, we need NOT BUY.

Stop and think. Does a card with some one else’s pre printed paid emotions spell out “romance” for us? Do we want to find ”love” by following a pagan festival that had a lottery to distribute women for entertainment?

WE HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE … Realistic, constructive and fulfilling.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: NIKAH is my sunnah … (Bukhari & Muslim)

Islam offers real love, real romance and real flirting!

Yes. Flirting …

Who says we can’t flirt with our husbands/wives or be passionate or go out on dates? It is all there and worth waiting for

Allah protects us from the short lived glamour of “virtual love” and has blessed us with the finest and purest relationship between a boy and a girl – marriage.

The Prophet (PBUH) enjoyed an especially meaningful married life. By modern standards he was a liberal and open-minded man. He had no problem declaring in public that his wives were the dearest and fondest to him.

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A few decades down, we will hear “Valentine’s day is part of our cultural tradition”! Today we hear, “What is the harm in expressing love on 14th February?”

Quotable quotes

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Are we still going to press the ball gowns and tuxedos? Select a partner and set the scene for Valentine’s day? Grab the tickets and tables before they are sold out? Hook up with a friend to cover up our absence at home … just in case we miss out? … miss out on what?

YOU DECIDE.

Write-Up Courtesy Perceptions
Education through Qur’an & Sunnah
www.perceptions.org.pk

Cure Rayan – Help save a child | Pakistan USA | CureRayan.org

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UPDATE

Cure Rayan – A 3-yr old child suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia needs a Bone Marrow transplant and they are looking for donors – all you need to do is volunteer for a cotton swab test to see if you can donate

KARACHI – Wednesday Feb 16th at 112 Khayaban-e-Bahria Phase 5 DHA, (12pm to 8pm)

HELP SAVE A LIFE!!

Received the following via Facebook from a friend. Please help in any way you can by posting this on Facebook, Twitter, email, or to organize drives at educational institutions, clubs, offices, etc. Go and visit the Cure Rayan Facebook page. Alhamdulillah they have done a great job organizing drives in the USA and we should help them in achieving the same here. Oh and above all pitch in with your duas for the little kid. May Allah give him Shifa-e-Kamil and give his family the best in this life and the hereafter.

Guyscurerayan
Yaar, I need your help.
My nephew (Farhan’s son) Rayan was diagnosed with leukemia in December and we need to find a bone marrow donor for him VERY urgently. Marrow matches are very ethnicity dependent, and therefore the highest chance of finding a match is in India/Pakistan.
We’ve been running marrow donor recruitments drives in the USA (see
www.curerayan.org) and the plan is now to widen the net to educational insitutuions, clubs etc in Pakistan.
Can you please tell me if you have contacts in colleges/universities/any other venue (for instance, we’ looking at holding something at Karachi Gymkhana) that we can leverage to setup donor recruitment drives at?, schools are out, as
donors need to be at least 18 (this is purely for legal consent reasons, close family even 4 year old children can donate!!) There is a lot of information on what this involves on Rayan’s website at www.curerayan.org. If you have any questions, feel free to email me back, or send me your phone number and I’ll call you right back. We only have 2 weeks to find a suitable donor for Rayan, so I would beg your quickest response. Please forward this message to your anyone you know who maybe able to help. We want to reach out and get as large a volunteer base as possible so we can figure out the best venues to hold donor drives at.
Tell anyone wishing to volunteer in any capacity to email Pakistan@CureRayan.org and someone from the team will contact them, I’m also attaching an email we’ve sent out to LUMS giving more details on the initiative.
We’re in the process of getting test kits sorted out to be sent to Karachi – can you please let me know if there is anything you can do to help in this initiative?
Regards.
Rizwan

 
> —– Original Message —–
> From: Sohail Khan
> To: Ali
> Sent: Sun Feb 06 20:46:15 2011
> Subject: Message for Students and Alum – Please wait for my phone call before you send out
>
> Rayan, a three year old boy, was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer. He is now in URGENT need of a bone marrow transplant. The global registry of bone marrow donors has 14 million people on it, of which less than 1% are South Asian. Unfortunately, as a result of this gross under-representation Rayan has not been able to find a suitable match. At this point we have two weeks to conduct drives to find Rayan a donor.
>
> Since learning of Rayan’s plight last Friday, we began rallying ourselves around the curerayan.org banner (see Facebook) with the objective of finding a donor. Thanks to the power of social media and the ceaseless effort of many, in a little over a week we’ve been able to host 56 donor drives across the US in mosques, schools, homes and offices and have tested 2,000+ potential donors. There has been an outpouring of love and support for Rayan that has been humbling for all of us.
>
> We now need to broaden the drive to Pakistan and need your help. You can make a difference by:
>
> – volunteering to help conduct bone marrow compatibility drives at universities, corporations, homes etc
> – spreading the word through tagging curerayan.org on Facebook, emailing the link to friends etc
> – donating at the bone marrow drives later in the week
>
> Please contact us at pakistan@curerayan.org to join in our efforts
>
> The bone marrow compatibility is conducted through a simple cheek swab test – it is free (we will cover all costs), painless and takes 30 seconds. Gender is not relevant, but South Asian ethnicity is critical. By creating a large pool of donors we will not only help Rayan, but also others that, over time, may find themselves in his unfortunate situation. There are many myths about bone marrow transplants, in most cases its as simple as a blood transfusion (see
http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Myths_%26_Facts_about_Marrow_Don/index.html).
>
> Rayan’s life depends upon the kindness of strangers. I know LUMS, its students and alum are not new to kindness. I also know as an institution we seek to instill in our community a sense of social purpose, of acting as a moral compass. I hope the student body embraces this opportunity to do something for Rayan and the countless other Pakistani’s that will fall prey to this heartless disease.
>
> I’m attaching herewith a letter from Rayan’s parent. You can make a difference.
>
>
> Best,
>
>
>
> Sohail Khan – MBA ’96

Beards are not just for Terrorists | Express Tribune Blog – Views of DiscoMaulvi

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I came across an interesting blog post today on the Express Tribune web page by Syed Faiq Najeeb and started writing a comment there. It turned out that I wanted to preserve and highlight what I wrote, so I decided to just post it here and post a link there instead.

For years I lived any young adult’s dream; there was music, parties, banter, unorthodox festivities, substance abuse and a fair degree of foul play. Then things changed radically – it was nothing short of a revolution; I grew a beard.

After extensively studying and reading about both Islam and other religions, I started to pray five times a day and even encourage friends and colleagues towards the path of salvation. I have finally chosen spirituality over (supposed) rationality and have given up on worldly desires to pursue those of an eternal life.

Since I can’t post the entire article here, I would suggest you head over to the Express Tribune Blog to read it before reading my comments on it below.


Faiq and I are in the same boat; difference is I’ve been facing this "discrimination" for over 12 years (yes there was discrimination before 9/11 also!).

As I wrote in The Story of DiscoMaulvi, I too turned towards religion after a year of partying and living it up in college. Once I did start that journey, the decision to grow a beard came naturally. As Faiq pointed out in his post, “I no longer wished to be part of activities which I used to indulge in before”. In addition, the beard served as a reminder of my decision to turn towards religion and in times when I was tempted it often served to keep me in check.

The importance of the beard has been intentionally marginalized over the centuries. Whereby once the fact that you shaved meant that your testimony would not be accepted (in fact in the eyes of Imam Abu Hanifa, whose school of thought majority of the muslims in Pakistan claim to follow blindly, keeping a beard was obligatory), now we hear people claiming it is JUST A SUNNAH.

Regarding the issue of the bearded baddies, it is unfair to generalize the entire bearded population on the basis of the actions of some. It is like saying just because some Pakistanis are corrupt, all of them are. Bet that would cause most of the people to throw a hissy fit!

As for the "Dari Islam mein hai, Islam dari mein nahin" statement everyone loves to quote, that statement is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT YET COMPLETELY WRONG! By keeping a beard, you don’t become pious. But by not keeping a beard you can not be pious (if we take the position that the beard is obligatory as was the opinion of the 4 Imams whose schools of thought are widely followed or those of the numerous imams and scholars whose names most people never ever heard of).

May Allah give us the ability to understand Islam as understood by the sahaba (R) and the early generations. And may He make us obedient to His commands. Aameen.

Aly - Clean Shaven in August 1997

Aly B – August 1997, NCSU, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Aly B – May 2010, Pakistan Blog Awards, Karachi, Pakistan

I’m a happy headscarf wearing Muslim woman

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This article is taken from another website. Views expressed in this article are those of the author and may or may not be the views of From The Pulpit and DiscoMaulvi


The author, Saiyyidah Zaidi-Stone is an executive business coach and founder of non-profit organisation WorkingMuslim. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

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‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ is a question my mum used to ask me all the time. The naive six-year-old me said, ‘I want to be happy’. I’m sure that there are psychologists out there that can deconstruct that answer.

So is the 38-year-old me happy? It’s a small, simple question but one that makes you think. I have managed to get to the top of my career as a female working in the construction industry. I am one of only 10 female Fellows of the Association for Project Managers. But does status bring happiness? I am married with a son and daughter, but am I happy?

Ask them and most people will say they are fairly happy. Happiness is a complex equation with various ingredients in different proportions – it’s not a simple Victoria sponge cake! Good health, a loving family, a good job, a decent wage, living in a ‘nice’ house, believing in God… They’re all ingredients in the cake of happiness. We can debate the last one, but it’s been proven by psychologists that a belief in God does increase happiness. Dare I say it? I am a happy headscarf-wearing Muslim woman.

"I turned down a six figure job in order to do this, and am I happy? Absolutely."

 

Muslim women are portrayed in the media as oppressed, unhappy and downtrodden. Well, can I refute that stereotype please? I am no different to any of you reading this article. We all smile when we see a cute dog running in the park or get annoyed when we left our umbrella at home. I recently decided to leave my job and move onto pastures new. I wanted to try different things and explore how I can fully utilize my skills I have. I want be a pebble that creates some waves! I turned down a six figure job in order to do this, and am I happy? Absolutely. But at the same time, there is always the odd bit of anxiety that creeps in and makes me wonder if I made the right choice. It’s that self-doubt that can kill happiness.

To read the remainder of the article please visit WorkingMuslim.