Starfish Asia was registered as a UK Charitable Trust in 2003, but the story starts much earlier in the 1980’s when Mike and Kerstin Wakely lived and worked in Pakistan, building relationships and becoming familiar with the needs and the problems of Pakistan, and especially of its minority Christian people.
Over the years, Mike and Kerstin were faced with seeing first-hand the impact from natural disasters such as the floods in 1997 as well as the ugly face of poverty derived from a multitude of factors such as inequality, lack of education, marginalisation and sometimes persecution of hundreds of poor minority communities in Pakistan.
It was in 1999, during a meeting with a Christian Pakistani, Ashley Arshad in Lahore, when Ashley said to Mike, “If you really want to help our community, help us with education.” It was advice that led to the founding of Starfish Asia to meet the educational needs of the poor, especially but not exclusively in the Pakistani Christian community.
In 2000, we received funds from a generous supporter to open a free High School for 200 children in Lahore. Our work has grown from these small beginnings to a network of partners that are providing education through 46 schools and 6 homes for the disabled and neglected. Our concern has always been for the poor, the socially marginalised, and the vulnerable.