Behbud Association – Introduction and History
The concept of Behbud Association was born in the wake of the War of 1965, when the nation was faced with many problems. The foundation however was laid in 1967 by Mrs. Ahkter Riazuddin with the help of a few volunteers. From humble beginnings it has developed into national organization of high standing in the past nearly 50 years being non-profit and non-political in nature. It has become a name synonymous with the uplift of the social and economic condition of our underprivileged classes, especially women and children. And it owes its success largely to all the volunteers that work with great zeal and determination.
The head office is located in Rawalpindi, and gradually other branches opened in cities such as Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Quetta. Several years ago a chapter of Behbud was established in the USA as well. The Pakistanis living there extend their full support to all the projects in progress here.
Poverty is the root cause of all difficulties; that is why the main objective that Behbud has always tried to accomplish is to reduce poverty. Following are the ways it has been successful in providing livelihood to hundreds of families:
Behbud operates the biggest Industrial Home among all NGOs in the country. It specializes in teaching sewing & weaving, traditional embroideries and clothe making. The main home is located in Rawalpindi, and small scale production takes place in other cities as well. It has successfully trained over a 100,000 women. All their work is displayed and sold at Behbud boutiques which are situated in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
Professional Training is imparted at the Vocational Technical and Educational Center (VTEC) in Rawalpindi. This was established in collaboration with the National Rural Support Program (NRSP). More than four thousand persons have been trained in forty-five different professions. Training is also provided in home based professions, which has been most beneficial for women in rural areas. These include stitching, jewelry making, candle making, knitting, tie and dye, food preservation, cookery as well as animal keeping.
Behbud is a pioneer in providing interest free credit/small loans for small businesses especially to women. They can easily return the loan by making small regular payments. In addition stipends are also given to senior citizens, disabled people and destitute women.
Other important areas under focus are:
There are nearly 50 educational facilities functional at the moment which includes primary and high schools, home schools and literacy centers. There are 21 formal schools for children, and 11 non-formal schools for street-children or for those who live in slum areas. Most of these schools have computer laboratories, English language classes and learning resource centers where teacher training takes place. Students are also awarded scholarships. There are also 14 literacy centers where women and older girls who cannot attend school are enrolled.
There are around 42 health centers/clinics in all cities where Behbud operates, providing very good health care services. These services are wide ranging including mobile health units, dispensaries, mother & child care, laboratories, family planning, child immunization as well as treating of specific diseases such as TB, Cancer, Hepatitis, Diabetes, Hypertension, Mental illnesses etc. Thousands of people have benefitted. Free medicines are given as well.
Rights of Women
A lot of efforts have been made for women in the rural and underdeveloped urban areas in order to secure their basic rights to health, to be able to work, to get education and be respected at home.
Inspiring the Community
Behbud serves as a motivator for the community to play their part in helping others. Just recently a group of students from Iqra University ‘Team Raising Hopes’ raised funds, and then did a marvelous job of renovating the Behbud home school at Golra, Rawalpindi themselves.
While for the last 30 years a Meena Bazaar is held, usually in December. It is a very important and successful event. And every year it just keeps getting better and bigger in terms of participation and raising funds.
Furthermore Café Behbud was opened in Islamabad. This is a quaint little venue for arranging fundraisers on a small scale or simply for people to come over and enjoy good food and show their support for the cause.
Ways You Can be Part of Behbud
Countless individuals have become independent, industrious and successful members of the society simply because they had the support of one organization i.e. Behbud. You too can make a contribution to this noble movement in the following ways:
- You can ‘volunteer’ to participate in various programs and activities.
- You can be part of a ‘fundraiser’, support it financially or even come up with your own fundraising idea.
- You can spread ‘awareness’ by liking them on Facebook and
- You can provide monetary assistance by making a ‘donation’.
So log on to www.behbud.org today!
Image source: behbud.org