BYLINE: Shakeel Faraz

The little efforts I make in life to try and bring balance and sense to my own world has always, I believe, played an important role in bringing stability and a wider perspective to my own outlook.

I’ve been fortunate in life as opportunities to do good have consistently presented themselves to me in some shape or form and therefore, doing good where I can, has been less difficult than one would first imagine.

The criteria for me is always simple is there a need and where can I help?

Whether it’s giving presents and surprises to terminally ill children, feeding the homeless or helping a Rohingya refugee across the other side of the world, it’s all something that makes me happy. Being of service to people and giving hope and a moment of happiness to others is what I suppose makes me happy.

My journey has taken me to the borders of Burma and Rohingya, borders of Syria in Turkey and this time it was Pakistan.

I’ve visited Pakistan many times before as my forefathers are from there, but this time it was about going to try and better the life. I was fire up to go further and straight into the deep end.

Pakistan is often a neglected part of the world, as in much of the country you don’t have to look very far to see the less fortunate. However, within certain regions of the country the lack in a basic infrastructure is magnified ten-fold and that is why I travelled to the rural part of South Punjab which represents one of those regions.

Muzaffargarh and the villages in the rural areas surrounding it are extremely poor and much of the population suffers from malnutrition, water-borne disease and poor health. Coupled with such a weakness in its infrastructure the area also falls victim to an alarmingly high illiteracy levels. This area became the subject of our deployment and we decided to visit in the middle of the month of Ramadhan.

One other key fact is that the temperature was 48 degrees Celsius, and this particular deployment was extremely difficult on both the mind and body. However, seeing thousands of weak and poor beneficiaries daily soon put our struggles and daily sacrifice quickly into a very small insignificant pigeon-hole.

Aid was being delivered daily, during the month of Ramadhan and we saw people fasting in the blistering heat and going about their daily routines – working, farming and not complaining.

The experience was humbling and reminded me of how the world needs to start sharing and coming together regardless of creed, colour and race because human is just too precious and we are all individuals with a story and shouldn’t just be a statistic or a number.

My friends and I have been on my deployments to different parts of the world and have collectively raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the poor and needy wherever they are.

This is only made possible by the level of generosity and concern people have for others and their willingness to help humanity. The team held auctions where they sold off their possessions and prized assets as well as standing on streets collecting. We even held charity car washes where we washed people’s cars and the funds went to the aid packages.

I feel that raising money isn’t the hardest part and its never just about money, I feel the biggest asset that one can give is their time and their genuine concern for others and I honestly believe that all human beings have this in their inherent nature.

If anyone wants to help whether in the UK or abroad, please feel free to contact me as I recently have been given more responsibility and currently as a volunteer, I help SKT Welfare as their International Deployment Manager.

I would like to thank everyone who’s ever helped anyone even in the slightest to keep up the good work and don’t stop for no one. We all depend on it. Special thanks all the self-funded volunteers who put their own life’s on hold to help others, they all pay for their own flights & accommodation as well as leaving their loved ones, work and everyday commitments behind.

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