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Woman’s decades-long dedication to helping Pakistani orphans a lesson in philanthropy, faith

WOMAN’S DECADES-LONG DEDICATION TO HELPING PAKISTANI ORPHANS A LESSON IN PHILANTHROPY, FAITH

An English woman has been caring for those in need at orphanages in Pakistan for the past two decades, embodying the spirit of good deeds and charity not only during the holy month of Ramadan but all year round.

Born to a Catholic family in the United Kingdom, Ghufran Qureshi dedicated herself to the children of Pakistan after marrying her husband Muhammad Ahmed Qureshi in 1976.

She founded her first orphanage in the city of Rawalpindi after moving to Pakistan with her husband in 1992 with the aim of offering children an education in science and religion. She soon established orphanages in Karachi and Khanewal, and now a total of 500 boys and girls benefit from Qureshi's work.

"My aim is to give these children a high standard of education with an Islamic background. In that way the children in our orphanages will be able to stand on their own feet when they grow up," said Qureshi, adding that the children also learn sewing and computer skills that will help them find employment.

Her motivation to devote herself to children came during a visit to Pakistan with her husband.

"I saw children begging on the street and cleaning car windshields at the traffic lights. When I asked, people said, 'They have no-one.' The situation hurt me deeply and that's when I recommended my husband to leave his job and move to Pakistan," she recalled.

Qureshi's faith is an important factor in her work, as she explains, "I believe in the principle that 'If you give, Allah will give you more.' If you're pure hearted and are traveling the right path, Allah will always help you."

"As long as I'm alive I'm going to help those who have no one and welcome them with open arms. My basic goal is to educate these children. But giving orphaned children a community and giving them a routine is as important as education," she added.

Watching the children grow up to marry or attend university makes everything worthwhile for Qureshi, and keeps her optimistic about the future.

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