Late Pakistani doctor inspires local grassroots project


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PLANTING TREES: Faisal Tariq at the Yorkshire Dales, planting trees and stirring up social change

PLANTING TREES: Faisal Tariq at the Yorkshire Dales, planting trees and stirring up social change

Branching out to communities by planting trees

A Keighley man says he is determined to continue the philanthropic work his grandfather sparked in Pakistan decades ago after launching a new charitable venture in his hometown last weekend.

Faisal Tariq has launched The Ayaana Foundation in the memory of Doctor Mohammad Suleman - who passed away in October last year.

A field doctor for 50 years, Mr Suleman was a charitable man who always went the extra mile for his patients.

Faisal said it was this generosity that acted as a catalyst for the foundation to be set up.

He said: “My grandfather was a doctor all his life and grew up in the rural villages.

“He was a renowned field doctor and would travel to locals on the outskirts but he wouldn’t charge fees to the poor because he knew they couldn’t afford it. He didn’t do it for money.

“After my grandfather passed away in Pakistan, I wanted to carry on his legacy. I haven’t met a single person who has anything bad to say about him. We wanted to set up a project to help people, just like he did.”

And helping people is exactly what the foundation has been doing.

The Ayaana Foundation (named after Faisal’s daughter, whose name means ‘the lucky one’) launched their ‘Plant a Tree campaign’ in the Yorkshire Dales.

Faisal said: “We took a team of 10 volunteers from Ayaana and InTouch Foundation and planted 75 trees in four days.

“We linked up with Yorkshire Millennium Tree Trust and it was a beautiful place in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The day was very clear and sunny so we didn’t get that muddy when planting the saplings.”

He continued: “It’s all about leaving that impact – that memory and legacy in society. Afterwards, the group felt like they’d done something positive in their community and also helped the environment.

“My target was 200 trees but we had to cut it short to 75 because of the space in the field that was allocated to us and because it was the planting season.

“We wanted to set up something locally at a grassroots level where the local Muslim and non-Muslim community can work together in an active manner, making a difference to their local area.”

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