The hand that rocks the cradle | Pakistan Today

The hand that rocks the cradle

“I have everything in this shelter except my loving parents whose memories haunt me on a permanent basis. I miss them very much, particularly on the eve of Eid,” sobbed 8-year-old Muhammad Wajid.
Wajid, an orphan, has been living at the Edhi Centre for the last three years and is being taken care of by the staff at the centre. The care and pampering he receives makes the festival poignant for him, as mingled in the happiness of still being cared for inevitably reminds him of the love and attention showered upon him by his parents, who treated him “like a prince”, he said.
“Edhi is my home…I’m very happy here… I have books to read, toys to play with, caring teachers and good friends for company. But one thing that is missing from this picture are my parents. And I miss them like anything,” Wajid told Pakistan Today.
His parents were killed in a road accident four years back, he revealed. “After the death of my parents my relatives took care of me and then they brought me here,” he said.
Talking about his Eid preparations, Wajid said the administration of Edhi centre provided them new clothes, toys, and delicious eatables on the occasion and they celebrated the festival with great zeal and gusto.
Wajid’s friend, Shan, aged 10, told Pakistan Today he had been living at the centre for the last five years. To a query, he said he did not know about his family. Pursuing his education at the Edhi School, he said he wanted to be a doctor in the future.
There are a total of 96 homeless children living at the Edhi Centre in Islamabad. Javaid Niazi, who looks after the affairs of the Edhi home centre, told Pakistan Today that the Edhi Centre did not turn anyone away. “We adopt every child who comes to us for help,” he said. “Currently, we have 38 under-seven and 58 seven-year-old children,” he added.
He said some of the children were unclaimed, while some were orphans and others were missing children. Javaid said the death of a parent was not the only tragedy that deprived these children of their homes, as many children were left at these centres when their mothers remarried. In order to provide a genial atmosphere to these children, the Edhi centre frequently arranged recreational trips for them, so that they did not feel themselves to be deprived, he said. He added that these children were educated up to class eight. “We have a middle-school and talented teachers,” Javaid said, adding that children were provided sports goods for in-door and out-door activities.
If a child died within the Edhi centre, the foundation arranged for the burial ceremony of the child, he said.
The jhoola (baby cradle) service was established at the Edhi centre in Islamabad as a drop-off point for unwanted children. Many parents, who due to various social and economic issues could not afford to keep their children, for example in the case of illegitimate children, would drop the infants at the service and according to Edhi’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), no one would investigate the family.
Muhammad Latif, an accountant at the Edhi Centre, told Pakistan Today that inflation had not hit donations. “People are generously donating to us, as they recognise that this is for a noble cause.” A donor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he donated regularly to the Edhi Centre. “I have trust in this organisation, which is why I prefer to donate here,” he added.
He appealed to others to give their fitrana and Zakat to Edhi centres too.
Another donor, who too sought anonymity, requested people to step forward and generously support Edhi Centres to provide support to orphans and destitute children being taken care of there.

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