Few can understand the desperation and fear of absolute poverty who have not experienced its grip at first hand. Many in the Christian community in Pakistan have no back-up or resources other than their own families. Despair haunts the wife who loses her husband, or who cannot get a job and is faced with a house full of children to feed. Or the family that faces sickness — all too common when poverty deprives them of an adequate diet — and there is no money for medical bills.
Starfish Asia is a small charity, which means that we have the flexibility to respond to individual emergencies as they arise in the lives of the tragically poor. Through our partnership with Starfish Pakistan we make regular small grants to individuals in need — of whom there are many.
We cannot help everyone, but we have to help some!
The Starfish Principle
Our Starfish principle is that “we know we cannot help everyone, but we have to help some!” A small committee works together with the Starfish Pakistan Director – and remains accountable to their local Trustees. They are able to make grants at their own discretion as long as funds are available. Here are just a few of the many small grants that have made a difference to those who have received them.
Help for the sick, disabled, disadvantaged…
10 year-old Imran worked alongside his mother and father making bricks at a brick kiln near Lahore—that is, until he fell ill with TB. His family was too poor to take him to the hospital, so he lay at home for more than a year, his body getting weaker by the day.
Around Easter 2007 a Christian family that runs a school for brick kiln workers’ children found him lying in the sun while his life was ebbing away. They took him to the hospital. Imran was in the last stages of the illness, his lungs eaten away by the disease, but Angela’s family went the extra mile to nurse him back to health, providing care that is rarely shown to the poor.
Adnan contracted polio when he was a child. In Pakistan those have disabilities are at an immediate disadvantage. Society tends to treat the disabled as deficient, worthless and shameful. But they are precious in the sight of God and deserve special care and love, and those who have committed themselves to care for them are in need of extra help.
We first met Adnan in 2004. He had been taken into the home of Pastor Iqbal and there treated with love and respect as a member of the family. Starfish Asia began to provide some support to help Iqbal care for more such young
people. And we have continued to follow his progress. Adnan is now in Class 10 in High School. He only has the use of one leg, but he has great ambition to study for his degree and then become a Pastor. We will support him all the way.
Escape From the Earthquake
In October 2005 a devastating earthquake shook the mountainous northern region of Pakistan, killing more than 70,000 people and making millions homeless. A small community of Hindu survivors made their way to Hasanabdal, a Sikh pilgrimage centre, to find refuge. As a minority community they received little help from official agencies.
Robinson, working in senior Insurance management in Islamabad, was moved by the refugees’ plight and opened a school for the children. They welcomed his concern. RCDM school in Hasanabdal, west of Islamabad, now provides High School education to 130 children from Hindu, Sikh and Christian families. Others have joined them from the conflict in Swat and the Frontier regions of Pakistan.