HDF: Stand With Those Who Build Schools

Posted on January 28, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Education, Society
Total Views: 87694


Adil Najam

A friend who is very active in the Human Development Foundation (HDF) asked me to carry the fund-raising appeal that we have carried in our side-columns for nearly a month. Although these funds are not being raised directly by ATP, I do believe that this is a good cause and would urge those who can to please contribute, in whatever amount you can.

This was not my intent when we first used this widget, and it certainly was not HDF’s, but events in this last month have highlighted just how important schools and education is. Let us all stand with those who build schools, and against those who destroy them.

There are those who are shaken by the constant focus we have kept over the last few days on what the Taliban elements are doing in Swat to schools, and in killing Pakistanis and Muslims. As proud Pakistanis, we must stand vigilant and speak out against that which brings disrepute to and threatens our country, just as we take joy in that which brings us pride.

The bad news is that this is really bad news and very seriously bad news and it is now consistent and constant. We highlight it because the majority of Pakistan is not like this and because we all must make sure that the majority of Pakistan never becomes like this. The good news is that there are far more people and institutions in Pakistan building education and schools (just a few examples covered in ATP here, here, here, here) than there are destroying schools. Let us all please make sure that it always remains so. In fact, we must make sure that no schools are destroyed ever, anywhere.

To learn more about HDF, please see this wonderful PBS documentary. Note, especially, the introductory lines. Makes you think about what a few good (or bad) deeds can do to how the world views you:

So, to repeat myself, I believe this is a good cause and would urge those who can to please contribute. Obviously there is no dearth of good causes, and I would urge you to contribute and help any and all of them. If not the HDF, help out any other group that you know better and is doing good work, especially in education. But, please, do whatever you can for the education of Pakistan’s young. For the sake of all our futures.

P.S. I actaully know that many of our readers are major contributors to the HDF and to many many other good causes, but also that giving over the internet is a new a mysterious enterprise to some. However, having studied philanthropy, especially by Pakistanis, I also know that the habit of giving, even in small amounts, makes a huge positive difference to causes as well as to those giving themselves.

32 Comments on “HDF: Stand With Those Who Build Schools”

  1. Owais Mughal says:
    January 28th, 2009 4:38 pm

    powerful write up and I agree with your message: “stand with those who build schools”

  2. ASAD says:
    January 28th, 2009 7:47 pm

    The HDF is a very respected organization, it should not be confused with the government ‘Commssion’ on human development. This is an independent organization originally of US based Pakistani doctors who run education and health and development programs all over Pakistan. I have certainly heard good things about their work. So, yes, a worthy cause.

  3. Proud Pakistani says:
    January 28th, 2009 8:58 pm

    Good Luck. I stand behind these folks and such efforts.

  4. sada says:
    January 28th, 2009 10:08 pm

    Such efforts and projects should be appreciated but we should also ask the basic questions: how long we’ll keep on filling the gaps of a failed and corrupt government? Service delivery is mainly a state responsibility and the state had conspicuously failed in it. Nothing prejudice about these very good non governmental organizations but they are in a way helping the failed and corrupt governance system by lending their support and thus masses really don’t realize the extent of governance failure. How many schools will you build when so many are burnt everyday in Swat and other areas? Let the state do what is supposed to do and struggle for policy reforms instead of so called service delivery which has changed nothing in Pakistan after billion of rupees worth funded projects and spending.

  5. bonobashi says:
    January 28th, 2009 9:55 pm

    “There are those who are shaken by the constant focus we have kept over the last few days on what the Taliban elements are doing in Swat to schools, and in killing Pakistanis and Muslims. As proud Pakistanis, we must stand vigilant and speak out against that which brings disrepute to and threatens our country, just as we take joy in that which brings us pride.”

    I cannot agree more whole-heartedly that it is for us as citizens to focus on the faults within our respective countries and correct them with relentless pressure.

    It is for others, more than for us, to find the finer, more admirable aspects of our countries and laud those, although a little help from us, as for instance, ATP has provided on a number of occasions, is a pointer in the right direction to strangers and guests, and does no harm.

    This stranger and guest is grateful for those pointers, for instance, the current thread on Pakpattan and the earlier one on Bulleh Shah, the inspiring piece on Dr. Dani, the piece on Karachi trams (you may imagine my delight in that one, being temporarily resident in a city where trams still run) and oh, so many others.

    I hope, soon, to be in a position to contribute to correcting the dismal state of schooling and education in India, and wish you the best in expanding and growing your efforts at schooling our young. The youngsters that you educate belong to the world, not to Pakistan alone, and will, if Providence wills, embellish the world, not Pakistan alone. We need only glance at the author of this piece to underline the point.

  6. Educator says:
    January 28th, 2009 10:56 pm

    This website is doing a great service by highlighting good deeds and human goodness. We all need to do whatever we can for the cause of education. You are right, it does not matter how much, but giving is itself satisfying and every penny makes a difference.

    For example, if 100 people give $10 each, that is half the goal right there.

    I think those of us living outside Pakistan can make a big difference even with a very small portion of what we are lucky enough to earn.

  7. Umair says:
    January 29th, 2009 1:26 am

    Made a donation today. They are a properly registered 501c so you can deduct it on your taxes if you itemize and are in the US.

  8. wasiq says:
    January 29th, 2009 4:23 am

    The wealth and professional success of Pakistan’s huge international diaspora is one of the major bright spots in Pakistan’s future. The more we are able to tap into our huge overseas resource pool and deploy funds, skills, and initiative towards rebuilding Pakistan, the more likely our country is to survive and prosper eventually — God willing! I am more than happy to contribute to this cause and hope others will to — thanks.

  9. Waheed says:
    January 29th, 2009 12:22 pm

    I applaud you for this initiative. As someone said, if 100 of us gave $10 each, that would add up to something that will make a real difference for a Pakistani school but very little difference for each of us.

    Real change comes from real action ourselves, no matter how small.

  10. French loving Pakistan says:
    January 29th, 2009 12:44 pm

    I’m a French national with very strong ties to Pakistan. Every time I travel over there, we try to give back by providing supplies to schools and places such as SOS. We hope to be able to do even more in the coming years and help the children. I do believe that funding educational programs will build a strong future for Pakistan. Keep up the good work! I hope we can all help out and reach the $2000 goal. Maybe we all can make a small sacrifice and instead of getting that new gadget or nice thing we like, maybe we think about these children… Even small donations can make a difference!

  11. Danish says:
    January 29th, 2009 6:19 pm

    I am very glad to see that people ate actually contributing to this. Although I had expected even more. I guess that some of us are just students and cannot afford too much, but as peope have said every little but counts, so my thing is let’s give whatever little we can than nothing.

  12. meengla says:
    January 29th, 2009 6:40 pm

    I just did my small part. Thanks for the opportunity.

  13. SJH says:
    January 29th, 2009 6:54 pm

    I would like to thank you and all the readers – today HDF and organizations like it certainly need the money but they also need the kandhey of as many people as possible. Give money if you can, people, but if you cannot, then time and your mind are also valuable and you can give those as well. All are needed and all are valued. Thank you.

  14. Gorki says:
    January 29th, 2009 7:47 pm

    Education is a universal right of children everywhere, regardless of nationality or religion, so keep up the good work HDF and Dr. Najam.
    Made a small contribution in the name of two of my friends who are regular visitors to the ATP.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  15. Pakistani says:
    January 29th, 2009 8:50 pm

    I must say, I am quite moved by the nice gesture from two of your regular Indian commenters. Gorki is right that education is a universal right, but ultimately humanity is universal. I am thankful for their contributing to a good cause, but the thought of universal humanity is even more important than any contribution. As I said, I am quite moved by this gesture.

  16. TariqKhan says:
    January 30th, 2009 12:09 am

    I have worked with HDF now for more than a decade and try to help with funds and time and effort and the more I see and do the more i see needs tobe done I visit the program sites every year and always come back more convinced that we must keep working. It is a great honor to read the posts on ATP and it is evenmore moving to read the comments. On my last trip last month we visited our sites in the interior of sind and one of these places was a village of the Kohli cmmunity and a majority of the residents are of the hindu faith. It was amoving experience to see the faces of the villagers when we presented them with a moorti of Hanuman for their simple place of worship. indeed the experiences are all of human dignity. thanks again to the post on ATP and to all the readers of the post all1800 plus of the and to the contributors

  17. W.M.Q. says:
    January 30th, 2009 1:05 am

    I salute the efforts of people in HDF. I learnt about them through this website and have spent last half hour on the web researching about them and finding more about them. I am amazed by everything this citizen group is doing and this is good example of Pakistanis abroad giving back to their country in real ways. I was impressed by the PBS documentary posted here and on their own website. I think this again shows how much even a few people can do if they have resolve to contribute positively instead of sitting on the sidelines.

    The news from Pakistan has been depressing but groups like HDF give us hope in our future.

    Thank you also to ATP for highlighting not only the problems but also some ways to solve them. There is no better cause in the world than the education of kids.

  18. January 30th, 2009 7:50 am

    Pakistanis in UK fully support the Appeal, Lets Build Schools ,Not Bomb Them.

    We salute the courage of Pakhtoon Leader Afzal Khan Lala ,not to give in to the bullying of murderous Taliban and Their Fazal Rehman FM shariah Channel.

  19. Gardezi says:
    January 30th, 2009 10:28 am

    I note that the picture says that this collection is on for only 10 hours more, you might want to leave it a little longer for people to hear about it and respond.

  20. Derek says:
    January 30th, 2009 11:09 am

    Does anyone think that you can build schools faster than the Taleban can destroy them ? How long does it take to build a school ? About 30 days ? How long does it take to destroy a school ? About 30 minutes ? Unless the Taleban is dealt with, building more schools is an exercise in futility.


  21. Aik Pakistani says:
    January 30th, 2009 11:10 am

    Come on people, this bar is not moving fast enough. My wife and I made a sacrifice by foregoing something we had planned and contributed 10% of the goal and that 2 days ago.

    This is about the future generations of our country. Think about it.

  22. Aliya says:
    January 30th, 2009 11:31 am

    My parents and many of their friends have been very active in HDF. I also think that the work being done by this organization is great. Actually, as Prof. Najam says there are many organizations doing very good work all over Pakistan and we should support whoever we can and to whatever degree, whether it is with our time or money. Does not matter what or how much.

    I don’t think anyone should make this like a competition or make people feel bad, for many people its difficult to take a few dollars out. As a student myself I know that. But the main thing is that we “stand with those who build schools” wherever they are building them and even our moral support counts.

  23. Waheed says:
    January 30th, 2009 11:36 am

    200 people, $5 each.
    100 people, $10 each.
    50 people, $20 each.
    20 people, $50 each.
    Whatever we can, we should.

  24. Aamir Ali says:
    January 30th, 2009 1:56 pm

    I am going to contribute but I was going to send a check. Why is there such a short “countdown” on this fundraising effort?

    God bless those who work for Pakistan’s betterment.

  25. Student Biryani says:
    January 30th, 2009 2:49 pm

    I have never heard of HDFs work before this but am glad that I know of them now and an endorsement from someone like Prof. Najam counts for a lot for me. I salute anyone working for Pakistan and there is no greater service that we can do than building schools.

    I am unable to use PayPal from here, but my support and prayers are with you. I hope that we can at least cross the $1000 mark in our collection. Good luck.

  26. Riaz Haq says:
    January 31st, 2009 12:46 am

    While the problems faced by Pakistan are huge, I believe that a serious and organized initiative by a tiny percentage of Pakistan’s large middle class of at least 40-50m people, including Pakistani diaspora, can begin to make a difference. Organizations such as HDF are an important of this effort. Pakistanis owe it to themselves and their poor brethren to step up and take responsibility for improving the situation of the most vulnerable citizens of their country. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But we must persevere by taking one step after another until we see results.

    To read more, please visit:

  27. Kamran says:
    January 31st, 2009 2:37 am

    It is important that ATP highlight these kind of charity fund activities, as through these we can actually contribute to Pakistan.

    Supporting words are always welcome, but actually ‘doing’ something is extremely important. We come here and comment to let off our steam, but that does not help anyone. However, having posts like these where we can actually contribute in someway will directly impact the lives of our people.


  28. Aik Pakistani says:
    January 31st, 2009 9:28 am

    I can’t resist sharing that I’m a little disappointed. We have to push hard if we really want to see some conducive results. Almost 4,000 views, 28 comments and only 19 contributors? I agree it’s not a competition or race but if we want our nation to eventually win this marathon, we’ll have to push a little harder.

    “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”. Mahatma Ghandi

  29. Waheed says:
    January 31st, 2009 1:19 pm

    I am actually quite impressed by this effort. For a blog, where many maybe most visitors are students to raise this much in really a couple of days is quite impressive. More than that it is the spirit in the comments and post that is impressive.

  30. bonobashi says:
    January 31st, 2009 8:39 pm

    @Aik Pakistani

    Sorry to interrupt, and not to distract from your message, which is important, indeed vital.

    The name is more usually rendered ‘Gandhi’, except by Anglo-Americans who don’t understand the joys of a soft ‘d’, leave alone the pleasures of a soft ‘dh’.

    On a more serious note, and in partial response to your comment, is it possible for HDF or its friends to accept contributions abroad, outside Pakistan, and of a normal, cheque or cash contribution kind?

  31. Aik Pakistani says:
    February 1st, 2009 2:48 pm

    Thanks bonobashi! Interestingly, I was actually inclined to just use the word ‘Bapu’ but thanks for the correction :).

    Actually I myself just recently became aware of HDF and all the good work they’re doing in Pakistan. Looking at their website it looks like one can also donate using a credit card.

    Maybe someone from HDF can shed some more light on this, please?

  32. SJH says:
    February 1st, 2009 4:00 pm

    To Aik Pakistani,
    One can certainly go to HDF’s website at http://www.hdf.com and donate online via credit card. Thanks for asking for that clarification.

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