“To vanquish the shadows of poverty and destitute, our souls need to be purged of greed and ambition, to be cleansed by a baptism of fire and empathy, devotion and sacrifice.”
Every 17th of October is globally celebrated as the International Poverty Day. It allows us to reflect upon questions such as what exactly is poverty? How can it be controlled, dealt with and completely eradicated? The day also provides us an opportunity to consider our individual roles and contributing to its complete and definite solution.
Poverty does not only mean a lack of resources, a shortage of food, or an insufferable hunger. It is not simply a matter of socio-economic protection of an individual, a family, community, or an entire faction of society. No, it certainly is not only confined to these dimensions. Poverty in fact is a reflection of how sincerely and truly we own our people, how deeply are we concerned about their well-being and in effect the well-being of our society. For though there are exceptional heroes who break free from the chains of their poverty and rise above their difficulties through sheer endurance and perseverance, their examples do not hide the fact that without meaning to we inadvertently sustain the vicious cycle of poverty.
For instance, parents have been reported to stop their children’s education because of either their inability to pay their fees or to engage them in moneymaking activities or for both reasons together. If some have defied such a mindset, they have done so by taking heavy loans and falling in debt deeper and deeper. As a result, people who are already grappling with poverty to survive its deprivations generally have little or no interest in thinking beyond resolving their most immediate problems. Such is a rough sketch of how families upon families are consumed by their constant strife to break free from this vicious cycle. Do you not think that each and every 1 of us has a duty to play our individual parts in ending the cycle? Is it not time yet for us to own our beloved Pakistan as our homeland and its people as members of our family? For only with such onus of their poverty can we even begin to feel the hardship of their difficulties? Only by realising that the poverty of any fellow Pakistani is in its essence our own poverty. Their pains and hardships are our own guilt and grief as Pakistanis, as members of a family raised under the same white and green flag.
It was indeed such a realization that created the Human Development Foundation (HDF) and still fuels its dedication to uproot poverty from its roots. HDF acknowledges the fact that to end the cycling existence of poverty we need to tackle it from all essential aspects. Consequently, it has left no stone unturned in working for the health and education, socio-economic welfare and a healthy, sustainable environment for all Pakistani’s, especially those who are struggling against their poverty.
In essence dear reader, poverty is not merely a matter of economic collapse, just as Pakistan is not simply an area of a bordered land. Pakistan is the name of a patriotic spirit that resides within every Pakistani and which connects us to each other in a familial bond which most of us have sadly forgotten. All of us together are what the world acknowledges as Pakistan. So no matter how rich or influential we are in our beloved country, across the globe we would always be citizens of a third world country. It is high time that we start thinking beyond ourselves and invest all our possible resources, whether time, money, skills or services, anything at our disposal to turn our poverty into prosperity.
Let us not think of Pakistan and Its poverty but be a true Pakistani instead! Let us be together with each other’s strength and endurance, survival and success!