Support minorities and save St Joseph’s Hospice, they need our help!

Published: December 14, 2013
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St Joseph Hospice has been helping those who cannot help themselves. Source: St Joseph Hospice

I wrote an article on street beggars and how they are more greedy than needy yet we still keep stuffing their pockets by directing our charity to this flourishing business of begging.

The comments, numerous ‘likes’ and the feedback I received acknowledged how people agreed with my suggestion of giving charity where it’s deserved – to organisations that truly work for the poorest of the poor. But ironically, we have places like St Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi that tirelessly work for people whose own families are either unwilling or unable to support them due to limited resources.

For 50 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has been a home to the disabled and destitute, irrespective of their caste and creed. Aisha Gulrehman has been battling with cerebral palsy, a set of neurological conditions that cause physical disability in human development, since she was 12 and was hit by a bullet outside her house. But a place that she calls home for 10 years now, faces an uncertain future. Aisha and 40 other physically disabled residents may be out on the roads or worse, dead. The only place that provided a roof over their head might be forced to close in a few months because of lack of funds.

In a callous society oblivious, or at times cynical, of examples like Aasia Bibi, an environment where Christians and other minorities are blatantly discriminated against, there is a place run by Irish nuns that is beyond this hate and carries only the flag of humanity and humility.

Is it too much to expect, from the same society, to now contribute in helping the physically disabled that not only have medical needs but require assistance in mundane tasks like feeding themselves?

These are tasks that we take for granted because we aren’t physically constrained like those at St Joseph’s Hospice.

I know there are many other praise-worthy organisations that are working for the welfare of the people. They are accredited, well-known and have gained people’s trust through their philanthropic achievements over the years.

So then, why should this small place with a capacity of only 60 beds run by Christians be helped more than the others?

We should help our Muslim brethren first and take out rallies for Kashmir and Palestine first.

Forget every other burning town in the process.

But I digress.

The reason people should come forth in support of St Joseph’s Hospice is because the world has seen enough hatred for our minorities from us. Our state is such that all wealthy people from minority religious backgrounds have fled the country to save their lives. One of the reasons the hospice is in such dire straits is because most foreign donors who supported it over the years have left Pakistan for security reasons.

They can’t be brought back nor can the seeds of discrimination, and hatred sowed over the years, be rooted out so soon, but the least this nation can do is send a positive message to its minorities and the world. St Joseph’s Hospice should be provided the necessary financial support so it can continue working for the destitute, comprising of all religious backgrounds.

We need to send a symbolic message to everyone that Pakistan does stand with and for its minorities.

Sabeer.Lodhi

Sabeer Lodhi

The author is studying at Monash University, Melbourne. He is a student and supporter of human rights with a focus on gender equality, minority rights and feminism. He tweets as @sabeerlodhi (twitter.com/sabeerlodhi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.