In the long run

Something has been bothering me right from the day of the earthquake. I am anxious because I am not sure what will be the long term effects of this disaster. I don’t know how the destruction will change the lives of not only those who are directly effected by it but of every soul who felt the pain one way or other. I can’t imagine what one would have gone through in Muzafarabad or Balakot, but what I’ve seen in Karachi is something that will keep inspiring me for ever. I’ve learnt a permanent lesson. And I am sure this will change the way I think and do things. It has changed the entire perspective of my philosophy of life. I realized that what belongs to me is not really mine and someone somewhere is affected by my actions. But I am just not ready to take that responsibility. Not yet, at least. But what the heck, if we could all predict the future wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

So I feel proud when my doctor cousin leaves for Azad Kashmir and my best friend quits her job just to help out the quake victims. But then this occurred to me, what about next month, or six months later, or one year later? We would all be busy with our lives again and perhaps forgotten about this scary month of October. The people over there have lost their homes and everything. Sure, some of them are gifted and they will struggle out of this, but rest are too poor and too weak to make it on their own. Are we just supposed to leave them at nature’s disposal? They already were pretty much at nature’s disposal and look what happened to them.

What should be done? And so I was indulged in series of thoughts for many days, which somewhat explains my absence here (besides the fact I have been super busy at work). Then something occurred to me which seems like a revolutionary idea: an army of volunteers, available all year long, as long as there is need.

Here is how it works. I have a vision of an organization, sort of an NGO. The sole purpose of that organization would be to recruit volunteers and send them to areas where help is needed. Anyone who wants to volunteer would register with the organization with all the information and availability. For example, suppose I am extremely busy at work right now but I know after a couple of months I would be able to take out a week or so and go north and utilize myself. I register with the organization and inform them about my availability. I also tell them of any special skills I possess. Then, the organization keeps track of all the volunteers at a given time and sends them to the effected areas in form of small groups. They also keep track of which area needs more doctors than engineers and send the right people to the right place. This goes on round the year.

In order to give people incentive, certain measures have to be taken. Universities can award extra credits to students who volunteer. Similarly, hospitals can make it mandatory for the doctors and nurses to volunteer at least once every couple of years, if not every year. Medical schools can make it a part of their curriculum, no student would be able to graduate unless they have volunteered. Media and newspapers can cover their activities to motivate others. And so on and so forth.

My mind is overwhelmed with ideas at the moment. I don’t know whether or not I would be able to implement all of that. I am no entrepreneur. I don’t know first thing about making NGOs. I have no idea where would I get the financing. I know donations is one way, but what if that didn’t work.

So I share this idea with all of you. You are most welcome to steal it and do something on your own. I would be only glad that someone was able to give it a face of reality. Or you can say that my idea flat out sucks. I wouldn’t mind that at all.

There are certain events in history that divide the time in two eras. There was ìpost-world war IIî era, and ìpre-September 11î era. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to ìpost-earthquakeî era in Pakistan. The history is in the making. You can either watch it pass by you or play your part to shape it into a better future.

4 Comments so far

  1. huma (unregistered) on October 21st, 2005 @ 3:20 am

    ‘There are certain events in history that divide the time in two eras. There was ìpost-world war IIî era, and ìpre-September 11î era. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to ìpost-earthquakeî era in Pakistan. The history is in the making. You can either watch it pass by you or play your part to shape it into a better future.’

    umar, that was beautifully put. hopefully, most of us will play a part in shaping it into a better, kinder future.


  2. hafsa (unregistered) on October 21st, 2005 @ 3:52 am

    was thinking along the same lines. might volunteer once i get over with the semester. yeah, wouldn’t it be great to have an NGO like that? umar, maybe you could get in touch with United Pakistan and work something out? i’m sure there a lot of people like you who want to do something similar.


  3. Saadie (unregistered) on October 21st, 2005 @ 4:23 am

    some serious effort is required to keep the fundings going, motivation , consistency and determination are the key ingredients. May you succeed.


  4. mohummed (unregistered) on October 21st, 2005 @ 11:21 am

    Really a great idea but it requires high financing. lets see what happens.InshaAllah I will do after my semesters.



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