Karachi is the biggest city, and heart of Pakistan. No one living in any part of this country can deny this. It inhabits all and welcomes everyone without the consideration of ethnicity, religion, race, color and socio-economic status.According to statistical estimates the population of this city has reached to almost 23 million and is increasing every year. In recent years, internal migration especially from the northern areas is a major factor for the population increase.
At one time this city was highly organized, so much so that the Capital city of Islamabad was entirely designed on the model of Karachi. Over the years this city has been abandoned by the state bureaucracy and it looks as if no one cares anymore.
Now heaps of garbage dumped on roadsides and empty plots full of trash in every neighborhood is a common sight. Being brought up in this amazing city, I just cannot get over the fact that this city was once regarded as the best by many, not just within the country but outside as well.
Basic facilities like health and education provided by state are substandard and insufficient. The city has some 40 odd Government Hospitals managed by Federal, Provincial and Karachi City Governments. There are hospital and other medical facilities operating privately, but medical treatment on the whole is expensive, and Government schools are no different and many are closed for the children.
Where the performance of the state is shameless there are people in the city who have stepped forward and are contributing to provide good and affordable health and education facilities to those who cannot afford to pay for private hospitals and schools.
Abdul Sattar Edhi, Adeeb Rizvi and a few other prominent Karachities have been caring for the needy through the Edhi Foundation, SIUT, LRBT and other charitable organizations.
In 2007, my brother Ahmed Kapadia started The Latif Kapadia Memorial Welfare Trust in the memory of our loving father Latif Kapadia. My father who left us in the year 2002 was a well renowned Stage/TV/Film artist, besides being a very successful Banker. He was an artist to many but to his close friends like Anwar Maqsood Sahib he was a great humanist. His love and resolve for his fellow beings was insurmountable.
What started as an effort by friends and family, over the years won the trust of many people who generously support the trust through cash and in-kind donations.
Under the banner of the Latif Kapadia Memorial Welfare Trust. There are 3 MediHealth Clinics and a tuition center being operated in the low income periphery areas of the city. MediHealth 1 is situated in Shah Faisal Colony and more than 18000 people are registered in the Clinic. MediHealth 2 is situated in Malir Khokarapar with 12000 people registered and MediHealth Clinic 3 is situated in Sualeh Mohammad Goth, Bin Qasim Town with more than 6000 people registered. Daily almost 300 patients visit these facilitates for free medical checkups and highly subsidized facilities of Sugar Testing, Ultrasound and O.P.D.
I have been looking after the affairs of the trust in the United States of America where LKMWT is registered as 501C3 Non-profit organization. On my recent visit to Pakistan, I visited all 3 clinics and met with the patients and staff. I was overwhelmed and happy to see a large number of the patients visiting the facilities.
In the clinic at Shah Faisal I was informed by the staff that it is not just the people of the vicinity who regularly visit but many people from different areas also visit the clinic. Similar stories were shared at MediHealth 2 (Malir Khokarapar). Patients shared with me how the clinic changed their lives in number of ways. Many of them requested that LKMWT also start providing laboratory services and very soon we will be starting a small laboratory at our MediHealth Clinic 1.
I met with the teachers at the tuition center who informed me that a majority of the students enrolled in the center have been doing remarkably well in their schools. A majority of them are studying in a charity schools managed by The Citizen Foundation and their academic performances have improved with the help they have received from the teachers at the center.
The problems in the city as large as Karachi is so big that it seems impossible to overcome. We have resolved to keep helping people through our initiatives in health and education and we are grateful to have received support from all of our donors through the years.