UK: British donating for Pakistani education

Of £20,000 raised to help ship old school furniture to Pakistan only £600 has been donated by members of the Asian community.

The figure has been described as 'pitiful' by one volunteer who has helped with the fundraising.

It is also embarrassing to learn that the furniture is going to villages and towns where a large majority of British Pakistanis in the North West hail from.

While many people are more than willing to donate thousands towards building more mosques it seems a project which helps child education has been largely ignored.

The Furniture For Education Worldwide Project (FEW) is being led by Lancashire County Councillor Terry Burns who has over the past two years helped to ship containers of old furniture to parts of Gujrat, Jhelum and Dhinga in Pakistan.

The furniture is from schools across the region and unless it is shipped abroad it simply ends up being disposed of. Something that Coun Burns is determined should not happen.

Councillor Terry Burns said, "It has been quite frustrating for us on the ground. We only have six weeks or so to ensure this furniture is shipped over otherwise it is burned. Which I think is a big waste of resources.

"I have been to Pakistan myself and seen young kids squatting on the floor during lessons. They should have all this furniture.

"The people there have been very enthusiastic and treated us with so much kindness whenever we have been.

"Furniture such as tables, chairs, and blackboards is all available and could be used by school children in Pakistan.

"Each container costs £1,600 and we have enough furniture to fill over 40 containers. We urgently require funds so this furniture does not go to waste.

"The schools here don't miss out in any way because they are kitted out with new furniture at the end of the school term."

Volunteer Nasir Ahmed who helped with the fundraising said he was alarmed at how little had been given by the Asian community themselves.

"It is surprising as it is going to towns and villages where many people have relatives and friends.

"Councillor Burns is not from Pakistan. He does not have family there. People across the North West do. I think it is quite pitiful that we as the Asian community cannot do more for this project.

"He is doing so much out of the kindness of his heart but the message is not getting across."

Source: Asian Image (English)

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