Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, increased devotion and worship to Allah for all Muslims. Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan. The act of fasting makes us relate closely with the suffering of others, and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted. The fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset with the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. This is a time of strengthening ourbonds with family, friends and surrounding community.
Fatima Memorial Hospital (FMH) shared this time of peace and harmony by providing Iftar to over 300 families of non-paying patients admitted at Fatima Memorial Hospital. The meal comprised of nutritional items such asdates, fruits, juices, and a rice meal for dinner. This meal providing activity enabled us to stand by those families in times of distress and pain. The happiness experienced through this sharing is inconceivable.
Fatima Memorial is a Third Sector, Not for Profit, Non-Government Organization working in the field of Social Development, Health Care, Education, Research & Community Development. It is today one of Pakistan’s largest and oldest Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the healthcare sector.
Fatima Memorial Hospital has an active Community Outreach Programme, registered with the Social Welfare Department as Anjuman Behbood-e-Niswan-O-Itfal (ABNI), which caters to the health, educational and vocational needs of men, women and children in the rural and peri-urban areas around Lahore. Initiated in 1985, by Fatima Memorial Hospital and partially supported by the Women’s Voluntary Service, this programme has provided medical relief to over half a million people. Focusing on communities such as Nainsukh, Malikpur, Lakhoder, and Talwara, where people often live without access to clean drinking water, sewerage, educational facilities, or health care, the team from Fatima Memorial Hospital is welcomed by the community members.[i]
Distinctively FMH has a 35 years record of selfless service to humanity, during which FMH has answered the silent cry of over 5.88 Million patients, out of which 85% were provided medication, diagnostic & surgical facilities, either free or at highly subsidized rates.
In the year 2011-12, free and subsidized health care worth more than Rs. 270 million was provided to deserving patients at the Fatima Memorial Hospital. The income generated from 15% of the private patients is used to cover the cost of treatment of the less privileged members of society.
Iftar to Families of Hospital Patients
Many Muslims believe that feeding someone Iftar is a form of charity and a very rewarding gesture. Indeed it was practiced by Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him) himself as is evident from below Hadith:
Whoever offers meal to his/her Muslimbrother/sister at the time of iftar (the meal eaten by Muslims breaking theirfast after sunset during the month of Ramadan), s/he receives as much reward ass/he has earned. Nothing becomes less of the reward of those s/he offered mealto. (Tirmidhî, Sawm: 82; Ibn-i Majah, Siyam: 40)[ii]
It is very gratifying to feed people. Feeding a fasting person in particular is much more fruitful. Offering food topeople should be believed a blessing. It is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
The most virtuous of deeds isto cover the fault of a Believer, to feed him, and to make him happy by meetinga need of his. [Bayhaqi].
Most indoor patients under treatment at FMH have attendants (from family and friends) with them who look after them in addition to hospital staff deputed for their care. Through this project we provide Iftar to 850 fasting people who are attending to their loved ones admitted in our hospital yet are unable to afford a proper Iftar meal.
Our Mission Continues
To give you an idea of the size and volume of patients we are catering for free and subsidized rates we havedeveloped a pie chart below in figure 1. As you can see close to 1.42 Million patients have been treated for free. This is indeed a monumental achievement!
We continue to strive and struggle for such humanitarian acts. At the same time we are also thankful for your precious donations from the previous years that have made our dream possible. But alas this will all go to waste if we are not able to maintain our momentum.
So we request you to come forward and become a part of a noble deed. Your donations will go a long way towards the fulfillment of our collective mission. We need all the help we can get from socially responsible individuals like you to provide iftar to a person who otherwise couldn’t afford that. Your additional donations will mean a lot to us andeven more to the poor who will be at sooth because of such effort.
We have developed a pictorial collage to showcase the poor attendants with indoor patients.
[i]Fatima Memorial System,Company Website: http://www.fmsystem.org/fms/index.phpaccessed March 2013.
[ii] Quotations on Rewardsof Offering Iftar, Questions on Islam Website, http://www.questionsonislam.com/article/reward-offering-iftar,accessed March 2013.
[iii] Providing Iftar toFamilies of Hospital Patients, Report by Mehr Manzoor,posted December 11th, 2012 http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/iftar-meals-pakistan/updates/,accessed March 2013.
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