Christmas Greetings

Shahlla Gill, Stichting Diwa, December 2020

With this newsletter we want to keep you informed about our activities in Pakistan. Also we want to share the personal story of one of our Diwa members in Pakistan.

2020 was a dramatic year for the whole world. Pakistani people also suffered a lot during this year. The country was totally closed for five months. That was very heavy for people, especially for those who live on just a daily wage basis. Children have almost lost their whole study year.

Although our training lessons were stopped, Diwa was still active during lockdown. We provided food packets to around 850 families in three phases in the area. This needful activity was organized by the Diwa team and Kings Way Church work. It was a big task: register families, purchase, packing and distribution of packages.

Stichting Diwa is thankful to their donors for their financial support and to the team in Pakistan for implementing this emergency food help project.

Since July we have started our training classes again. Our students, especially girls, were happy to join the classes again, because for them it is an opportunity to meet age fellows, outside their homes. Our computer courses are popular and  have waiting lists. Young people are very enthousiastic about learning computer skills. We are planning in the coming year to offer an ICT course to our students.

We are trying to bring quality to our training courses by improving our syllabus and by providing modern techniques to our students. Stichting Diwa has provided new automatic machines for stitching, embroidery and overlocking to our skills center. Besides the skills trainings we offer to all our students an extra course on bookkeeping, sales and marketing.

Greetings from Pakistan!

I am Naseem Akhter. I am 72 years old and living in Francisbad, Gujranwala. I am retired and now involved in Diwa Foundation activities and also an active member of Kings Way Church in Pakistan.

I grew up in Sargodha City, in the northwest of Punjab. I am the oldest from five brothers and sisters. My parents were illiterate and were doing cleaning jobs. They wanted to give education to their children. I have finished my high school and went to Hyderabad Sindh for nursing education. After completion of my nursing diploma, I married with Dr. Inayat Gill and shifted to Gujranwala. There, together with my husband, we started our own clinic in a muslim colony, where we worked our whole life. God blessed our work and we were very successful in this area. We had four children. Three of them now live in Europe and my oldest son with his wife and children live in Pakistan.

My husband passed away 6 years ago. After that I myself became more involved in social work activities. Four years ago I joined Diwa. I arranged the setup of the skills training center of Stichting Diwa in Francisbad. The reason behind this was to empower our women by providing skills so that they are able to support financially to their families. In Pakistan girls education is less important than for boys. Even my in-law family is very conservative about girls higher education. But my husband was a liberal man and I supported my daughters for higher study. My daughters later also studied abroad.

Holland is a very beautiful country. I have visited the Netherlands two times. The first time with my husband in 2012 at the birth of my grandson. We have precious memories of that time. We were warmly invited by family and met a lot of friends. We really enjoyed our trip.

Although I have visited Holland a couple of times, my connection with Holland started already a long time ago, in 1968. I did my nursing education in a Mission Hospital in Sind, where my nursing teachers were from Holland. I had a nice time with them and I had  a chance to know more about Holland and its people.

At present, it is a very hard time for everyone, especially concerning the connection between families. I hope that God will release us from this difficult situation, so we can meet and hug each other again.

I hope to see you agian in Holland!

Warm christmas greetings from Pakistan!
Naseem Akther