Saqiba Rahimuddin is one of the kindest, most hardworking and dedicated individuals I know. She holds an esteemed position in the Pakistan literary world as a best-selling author of children’s books. In addition, she is renowned for her commitment to social welfare and childhood literacy. I am also lucky enough to call her my grandmother.
Mrs. Rahimuddin was only an F.A student when she married General Rahimuddin Khan, my grandfather. Even with the demands of a growing family of six, she strived for higher education and was successful in getting her Masters in Urdu with a first division. For the past 30 years, she has worked day & night for the welfare of soldiers and their families and has volunteered at various institutions that support the education and well-being of needy children. She was also actively involved in assisting families who had lost everything in the earthquake and lately she has dedicated most of her time to the IDPs.
Just to give you more of a background – Mrs. Rahimuddin comes from a family, which has been known for its literary and political achievements in both, India & Pakistan. Her Father, Dr. Mahmud Hussain, served in Pakistan as the Minister of Defense and Education and also as the Vice Chancellor of Karachi and Dhaka Universities and Dr. Zakir Hussain, her Uncle, was a well known educationist who later also became the President of India. Coming from a family that was known for its political and literary achievements, my grandmother followed in their footsteps and made a name for herself.
In addition to her voluntary work, Saqiba Rahimuddin has been the driving force behind the development of the Pakistan’s Children’s Academy. Created in 1976, it was the first and only non-government institution that has worked for the welfare and improvement of children in need. Contrary to a typical school, there are no uniforms, curriculum, or scheduled classes. Instead, through games, entertainment and competitive sports children are taught important lessons such as honesty and hard work and are given the tools needed to become successful individuals. Provided with a caring & loving atmosphere, they can acquire the confidence and skills necessary to thrive. Pakistan’s Children’s Academy’s head office is located in Quetta and has branches in Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Mansehra, and Abbotabad.
Along with the Academy, Saqiba Rahimuddin has also been the president & chairperson of the Institute for Special Children (Saqiba Baluchistan Deaf & Dumb Society); a non-government welfare institute in the province of Baluchistan. The main objective of the Institute is to provide support and basic education to children who have disabilities. Medical assistance, hearing aids and other necessary equipment is also provided. Moreover, the Institute also focuses on vocational training so that these children can acquire specialized skills that can help them earn a living later in life.
Through all her work and efforts, my grandmother has touched so many lives. I have been fortunate enough to witness the love and affection she has received from thousands of her students and families who she has helped along the way. I still have a vivid memory of when my grandfather, brother and I went to pick her up from the airport after her return from Umra. It took us about 45 minutes to squeeze through hundreds of children who had come from an orphanage in Rawalpindi to get to the infamous Rawal Lounge at the airport. We were sweaty, dehydrated, and couldn’t understand why it was so crowded. Once my grandmother arrived, we realized that all these children had come to greet her and were showering her with hugs and kisses. This filled me with admiration and gave me a glimpse into her life. I now strive to try to give back to the community the way she has and seeing the love all these people had for her motivates me. In her own way, my grandmother has always tried to get us involved—she has gotten most of our family members and friends to sponsor a child, which helps pays for their basic education.
Recently in a conversation, she mentioned how her top priorities this year are to raise funds to purchase computers & books for a library for Pakistan’s Children’s Academy as well as the Institute of Special Children in Killi Shabu and Quetta. If any of you would like to get involved, donate or simply find out more about her work, please email me! You can donate by sending money to me and I can forward it on to her immediately so she can get in touch with you to thank you or you can send money directly to her account in Pakistan, which she has specifically created for contributions. Sometimes we get so involved in our own lives, we don’t realize the power of giving back. Every time I am around my Grandmother, I see the way she unselfishly has dedicated her life to help others and it makes me realize what really matters in life. I feel blessed to have a role model like her in my family.