Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation in collaboration with US Based Walkabout Foundation and assisted by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), UNHCR and other NGO’s across the country distributed 300 specially customized wheelchairs to the flood affectees as part of its initial phase at a local hotel in Islamabad.
To mark this occasion, Mr. Richard E. Hoagland, Deputy Chief Mission - US Embassy Islamabad, Ms. Carolina Bunster, CEO -Walkabout Foundation and Mr. Ali J. Siddiqui, CEO - Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, Mr. Ali Munir – a UK based Pakistani investor and entrepreneur,and many other notable dignitaries were present and spoke regarding the initiative.
Ms Carolina Bunster, CEO Walkabout Foundationnoted,“A staggering 6 million people are living with paralysis in the United States, which is approximately 2% of the population. This number translates to nearly 1 in 50 people, which means that everyone is ONE degree of separation away from paralysis. Additionally, there are 100 million people in the world that need a wheelchair but cannot afford one and up to 6% of the population of most developing countries need a wheelchair but cannot afford one. Since inception, Walkabout Foundation has donated over 1,500 wheelchairs to people in countries such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Malawi and Chile. It is Walkabout Foundation's first time in Pakistan, but these 300 wheelchairs, which are donated and delivered in conjunction with the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, is part of a larger project to collectively donate thousands of wheelchairs in the next few years to come”.
Mr. Ali J. Siddiqui, CEO Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation commented,“Such humanitarian efforts are the building stone of a prosperous society based on moral equality and quality living for people from all walks of life. He further added that, the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation has always been in the forefront to support and initiate such endeavors”. The Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that aims to provide healthcare, education and social enterprise through sustainable development to underprivileged members of society with a special focus on women, minorities, children and disabled individuals.
Mr. Richard E. Hoagland, Deputy Chief Mission US Embassy Islamabad appreciated the noble efforts of Walkabout Foundation, Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation and Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP). He also emphasized that they look forward to continue promoting such initiatives for the social development of the Pakistani society as a whole. Mr. Atif Sheikh,President Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) also added,“this is a unique initiative in a way that persons with disabilities have been directly engaged throughout the process.
Mr. Ali Munir, a UK based private equity investor and entrepreneur commented, “It has been a pleasure introducing the Walkabout Foundation’s efforts to Pakistan, not least because of the quality of local NGO’s and partner organizations.” Mr. Munir commented that “there is no shortage of support or good will for the people of Pakistan and that the challenge for international donors and organizations is one of identifying credible counterparties.”
The Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation and JS Bank have been a strong advocate of various philanthropic activities in the past as well, including extensive relief efforts in the 2005 earthquake, 2008 IDP crisis and the 2010-11 floods.