InTouch with the world: Bradford man takes charity to Pakistan
The founder of a Bradford charity, which feeds the homeless across West Yorkshire every week, flew his charitable arm around the world last month as he landed in Pakistan.
Osman Gondal, from Allerton, helped establish the InTouch Foundation in December 2012 with a mobile soup kitchen set up in Bradford.
Since then, the portable kitchens have also launched in Keighley and Leeds whilst a food bank was established last year operating out of Manningham.
After arranging a trip to Pakistan to attend a family wedding in February, Osman decided to push the charity to new grounds and arranged for a number of projects to run in the South Asian country.
Working alongside the Human Relief Foundation and Muslim Aid, the 39-year-old helped deliver and distribute food in slums in Maherabadee, Islamabad, before hosting an event, with a warm meal and food parcels, for women and orphans, in the Punjab.
Speaking of why he wanted to take the charity to new grounds, he explained: “Poverty happens everywhere in the world and can affect anyone at anytime of their life.
“Here in the UK, we are quite fortunate to have a system in place which will help with things such as food and accommodation. In Pakistan, this doesn’t exist.
“The gap between the rich and the poor over there is huge with those most in need, lacking all the essentials from clean water supplies, drainage systems and of course food.
“There are a lot of good charities out there working with these people and I wanted to get InTouch involved with making a difference for those who need it most.”
Prior to the trip, more than £5,000 was raised through InTouch to purchase the foods and organise deliveries, whilst Osman covered his own costs throughout the four-week visit.
After more than 400 food distributions in Maherabadee, Osman and representatives from the other two charities made the five hour journey to Jhang.
Here, an event had been organised to allow around 200 women and orphans to enjoy a warm meal, before food parcels, containing three weeks of produce, were handed out.
“That was the highlight of the trip for me, in Jhang,” Osman said.
“By working with the Human Relief Foundation and Muslim Aid, we served up warm meals to people who rarely have the chance to enjoy such a simple luxury which we may take for granted.
“That experience really touched home for me. To take the principles of InTouch to people in need elsewhere in the world was really special.”
Following the trips success, plans are now being developed to set up an InTouch project in Pakistan later this year.
“We would like to take InTouch over to Pakistan to have a permanent presence in the country and hope to have our first distribution in June,” Osman added.
“By using the same principles which have helped people here on our doorsteps, we hope to help other in the wider world.”