An Inspiration – Sponsor a child?

ami

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.

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17 comments

  1. There are many options for kids that read and write english and Saqiba Rahimuddin is one of the few writers that provides entertaining short stories in urdu.

    These books are useful not only for kids that cant read english but also for parents that want to teach their kids urdu and make sure that our language is passed on.

  2. Shaza Haq · · Reply

    I am indeed so blessed and proud to be her daughter. She taught us right from wrong and all our values and morals in life. She also taught us that there is nothing more fulfilling then helping others. This is what we have seen her do all our life. Just by setting her own example, we also adopted children. By adoption, I mean to pay for their education right upto the end of their studies. This has made me realize what happiness and peace of mind is when you see a needy but deserving child do well in life. I have never ever seen anyone so happy as my mother is when she is with these children. Its amazing to see the joy they bring into her life. Her eyes shine with hopes and dreams when she talks about her Academy kids and May Allah always shower his blessings upon her and may all her dreams come true.

  3. Firdous kamran · · Reply

    I have been very fortunate to have know this lady who I consider to be the Pride of Pakistan.
    I was her house guest many years ago as her daughter Shaza is a friend of mine and she was one of the most gracious, humble and full of etiquette person I have ever known.
    She is just an extremely pleasant and great human being. I have many of her Books such as Subh ka tara and others as well. If any of you want to know more about her, then please read her Biography By Syed Abid Rizvi. She has been a role model to many and especially me.

  4. Firdous Kamran · · Reply

    Mrs Rahimuddin Khan’s Biography is ” Mumta hi Mumta” By Syed Abid Rizvi

  5. I have never had the opportunity to meet Saqiba Aunty but have heard alot about her from her daughter as she is my friend. Saqiba Aunty seems like a great lady and may she live a long and healthy life. Ameen….

  6. Anonymous · · Reply

    This is the link to her children’s books:

    http://www.saqiba.com/child.htm

    Adult books:

    http://www.saqiba.com/literarybooks.htm

    PS – She draws/paints herself for each and every book.

  7. Please let me know if anyone is interested in adopting a child for their education for a year. It’s a very nominal amount but it’s the best contribution you could do. My Grandmother will be happy to speak to you in more detail. This way, you will get to do a good deed, pay for someones education, which is a small amount, and get to know a child as well to see the difference you have made in their lives.

  8. Ijaz Ul Haq · · Reply

    It is very difficult for me to comment on this lady who I am so closely related to. I am her son in law but am just like her own son. However, keeping my personal emotions and esteem aside, I will endeavour to say a few words about Begum Saqiba Rahim-ud-Din Khan.

    With many qualities of head and heart, both gifted and acquired, she ranks amongst the few ladies of prominence par excellence, whose services in the social work and Literary Fields have been duly recognized at a national level.

    In her own right, she rose to prominence and national fame when her husband, General Rahim ud Din Khan became the Governor of Balochistan. With a tender heart full of love, affection and caring concern for the deprived,her primary focus became those who are underprivelaged and the “have-nots” of society in that province.

    Begum Saqiba’s literary pursuits and accomplishments included founding, funding, and raising to the present level are the two Literary and Welfare Organizations – Pakistan Children’s Academy at Islamabad and “Qalam Qabeela” at Quetta. For her outstanding achievements in these fields, her name is almost a folklore in Balochistan.

    She hails from a renowned literary and educationist family of sub continent. Her uncle, Dr. Zakir Hussain, President of India in early seventies, was a prominent Scholar and educationist as well. Her father Dr. Mahmud Hussain was a Ph.D from Heidelberg University Germany. He later served as Pakistan’s Minister for Education and Defence.

    When I married Begum Saqiba’s daughter Shaza, she was a High School Graduate. For her urge for Literature and Higher Education, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Urdu and has contributed a number of Urdu Books for children as well as OUH has mentioned.

    As Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, I had the opportunity to preside over several Functions of Pakistan Children’s Academy in Islamabad. The occasion was a celebration and festivity for the children from all over the country to demonstrate and display their talent. It was on her persuasion that the “Shaheed General Zia ul Haq Medal” was instituted for the most accomplished child along with a cash Award, as recognition for their hard work.

    To emulate in her footsteps, many members of the family as well as close associates (which include my better half) have adopted children for their education. The pride and pleasure that one derives is inexplicable. You can experience it only once you contribute towards this.

    I urge and request you all to contribute and experience the joy that fills your heart by making a child happy.

  9. What a great post, Oms. Your grandmother is so inspiring, is there a website for her children’s academy?

  10. For everyone that has contributed to sponsoring a child through her, she doesn’t let the kids know that they’re sponsored. She asks the schools to tell the kids that they have received a scholarship so that the kids don’t feel like anyone has done them a favor.

  11. Your Grandmother looks very dignified and inspiring. Have a great summer.

  12. Congrats on crossing 20,000 hits on your blog!

  13. She is so inspiring Omar. I definitely would love to sponsor a child–will email you for all the details.

  14. AF – thank you for your message.

    That’s great news! I will wait for your e-mail and we can take it from there.

    You can contact me at omarulhaq@gmail.com in case you don’t have my email address.

    – OUH

  15. She is a rare gem which one cannot find in today’s Pakistan. May all her dreams come true and all her hard work gets paid off.

  16. She really is an inspiration. Best wishes to your Grandmother.

  17. We need more people like your grandmother in Pakistan who are able to give love and support to the less fortunate ones. I hope youre able to raise some dough as that would be sweet.

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