Dubai - Parwarish Home was established in 2009 after a military operation in Swat left many children homeless.
Over 50 boys and girls, along with their families and friends, came together to mix, match, stitch and stuff toys for orphan children at Parwarish Home in Swat - a boarding school for orphans supported by Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD). The youth forum of PAD arranged the 'Gift a Smile' initiative in which over 100 stuffed toys were handmade.
"Our aim through this activity was to emotionally connect with the gift we are making and instil a feeling of empathy with the kids who have lost their parents," said Nissmah Atif, chairperson of Pakistan Youth Forum. "These are small Eid gifts from the youth to the children at the Parwarish Home."
The participants were given cutouts of fabrics of different shapes, they sewed them together, stuffed them with cotton and customised them with additional stuff. A personalised note was also written and attached to each toy.
Parwarish Home was established in 2009 after a military operation in Swat left many children homeless. It is supported by PAD and operates through the concept of Parwarish family. Families in Dubai adopt a child providing financial assistance and empowering them. Currently, 320 students are getting quality education, and among them 117 are girls.
Moeena, a doctor at the American Hospital Dubai, who has adopted three students from Parwarish, was present with her teenager daughter. "This is the least we can do as a community. I think we all should try and adopt as support is required for these children who have no one in the world. It was a great initiative as we got to personalise toys," she said.
Dr Faisel Ikram, president of PAD, encouraged the efforts the youth were making in sharing joys with the less fortunate ones back home. "This is an innovative exercise that the Pakistani youth is doing by making hand-made toys for the orphan children in Swat. It is heartening to see the youth making a difference in the community with their time and skills."
Dr Ikram urged the youngsters to visit Parwarish Home on their next visit to Pakistan as it will open a new world of learning for them.
Humaira Basheer, another parent who came with her children for the event, said: "My sole purpose of coming here was to make these toys for the innocent souls in Swat. These toys might be ordinary for us but they can make an extraordinary difference in their lives."
Fifteen students of Omar Bin Al Khattab Pakistan Islamia School - Ajman, were also active participants and enjoyed the activity. One student, Moiz Mahmood, said: "The handmade toys have another level of attachment, these require time as well as a thought process which makes it even more special. The act seems to be small but it will foster a bigger difference in our lives."
Every year, 25 new students are admitted in Parwarish. An invitation to sponsor students is sent out in the beginning of each year. The annual sponsorship fee is $1,200 (Dh4,500). This covers the students boarding expenses, education cost, utilities, health, meals and other daily necessities. All proceeds are sent through the Emirates Red Crescent Society.
Parwarish is currently operated from a facility on lease for 10 years that is to run out at end of 2019. Hence, the need for a larger purpose-built facility has been felt over the years. The plan to have premises with all the necessary facilities will cost 100 million Pakistani rupees. Facilities include boarding houses with a capacity for 500 students, academic block, sports grounds, a mosque and a dispensary.