Friday, November 27, 2015

Supporting Humanity

Sobia Khan
Supporting Humanity starts from nurturing humanity within. For Sobia Khan, the birth of her organisation was clearly the extension of her own personality, and the culture of peace she continues to create gives hope for a brighter future. Here is her story.

Support Humanity (SHO) is non profit , non-governmental  organization trying to reach out to marginalized communities, who are suffering from poverty, ignorance and other socio–economic problems. The  target community comprises women and youth. SHO  was established in 2008 and since then, we have conducted  seminars and   awareness sessions  on peace building, domestic violence, mother and child care, and women's empowerment in remote villages in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Support  Humanity  is  currently implementing Livelihood Improvement Projects,  with the kind support of Collegiate Churches in New York  and Intersections International, both US-based philanthropies.  

Support Humanity works in Dera Ismail Khan,  and the adjacent area, Tank and Lakki Marwat,  all located near South Wazirstan Agency of Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa. The main objective of SHO is to  assist the most needy and vulnerable communities, to contain environmental degradation and encourage and promote environmental protection and conservation, to take direct and institutional change approach to foster a culture of youth-led development and social innovation, and to promote community empowerment and the establishment of self-help development organizations at the cross-root level.

Through my initiative, I am working in an area which is backward in every aspect. Dera ismail Khan is severely affected by  sectarian violence and terrorist attacks. These things have distorted the economic condition of the community. We  assist widows and orphaned young  girls, all of whom have lost relatives and have survived suicide attacks. By providing  vocational and agribusiness  trainings, we try to find a route for them to empower themselves. My organization  does not have enough  financial resources to support  such vulnerable communities, but being an agricultural expert, I make it a point to pull all stops in arranging for training sessions on organic farming, mushroom cultivation and production, poultry production  and marketing of produce to  rural women, so that they can adopt learnt practices and used to initiate small start-up businesses.
I think people, especially young girls, are mature enough today to understand how social and economic self sufficiency is important. Today's youth want education, and want to excel in life. But searching for opportunities to start this off remains a challenge. This has to change, and change can come only when you have the socio-economic bandwidth to afford these things. 

Being a woman in a community that is skewed against women remains the hardest  challenge  till date. I don't let it affect me or make me give up my goals, though, because I am a fighter and I start with the acceptance of myself on a professional and a personal basis.  Women in our society are only used as sex tools or as showpieces. No one is ready to communicate with women, or empower women in a sustainable manner in this space, and there are no suitable work conditions to encourage women comfortably. Women face the brunt of evil customs in society. It is a crime against humanity, really, that so many women are brazenly shut up and confined within the four walls of their houses, as if they are prisoners. There is no action taken against the deplorable condition in which our women live. Once I succeeded in breaking walls of the restraints imposed by customs and restrictions that  hindered my path, I realised that others can do it too.

The support came from within, to learn, and to bring change in society. Urge and will power is the main driving force. The other support came from my family, which gave me some liberty and freedom to take a chance and to try something I wanted to. It is risky, but sometimes, we have to take risks in life to prosper. In my case, my mother  is an educated single parent. She spent much of her money on educating me. That’s why I was able to take such an initiative in a place where women are not allowed to go outside the house.           

I want to extend the Network of Support Humanity, most of the work is done on volunteer basis. SHO has a group of educated and dynamic young professionals who take part in  implementing different activities as volunteers.