This Student Has Dedicated Her Life To Help Make Health Care Free For Every Pakistani

By Momina Mindeel | 4 Aug, 2016

This is part of a limited series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things in order to give back to Pakistan.

“According to a report by UNDP, there has been a sudden increase of 70 to 80 million in the population of Pakistan since the 1990s, which has led to a drastic growth in the number of people living in substandard conditions,” told Aliha.

The deterioration of education, public and health services has led to sprouting up of quackery businesses all over the country. A majority of our population does not have access to proper education or health awareness programs, consequently making them reach out to these unauthorized doctors. However, there are still people who are playing their part in getting the country’s constantly worsening medical landscape back on track.

 

Lahore’s Aliha Nasrullah, now a dental student studying in New York, is one of such people who have dedicated themselves to the rehabilitation of disadvantaged Pakistanis.

Almost 5 years ago, Aliha was attending a model United Nations event, back in her A-level when out of nowhere, she collapsed and had to be taken to a hospital due to the excruciating pain. Little did she know that her pain would soon motivate her to establish an organization of her own – Barkat Foundation- where she would be serving countless underprivileged patients through free medical camps.

 

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

To put in Miss Nasrullah’s words, “I was dragged from hospital to hospital and had to ultimately take a gap year, which I thought at the time was the worst thing that could ever happen to me and my academic progress. Fast forwarding to August 2012, countless blood tests, biopsies, and ultrasounds later, my body was still mysteriously collapsing to a point where all my doctors had said that there’s nothing they can do about my case and didn’t know how much time I had. But the moment I realized that Barkat was my calling was the day I had once again been discharged from yet another hospital with a huge question mark on my doctors’ notes. I still remember wallowing in self-pity as I sat in my wheelchair, while my parents went to take care of the hospital bill.

And while that was getting taken care of, I saw a couple sitting on the floor in the lobby, a few steps away from me, helplessly staring at their baby. When I asked what was wrong, the mother started crying and told me how there was no hope for her child till they took it to a better medical facility, which they couldn’t because they had already taken a loan from someone in their village to travel all the way to Lahore, and it was nearly impossible for them to afford to stay any longer in another city, let alone go to a more expensive medical facility and pay all the bills again. They went into more details of all the problems they had to face, and at that very moment, I realized that my medical problem and the entailing self-pity was nothing in comparison to the struggles countless people had to face.”

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

A few months later, Aliha went to America, got diagnosed and her life came back to normal. However, the tinge of guilt of being privileged enough to get medical attention in the US never left her heart that she could not do anything for the suffering couple and their child and that is when the idea of Barkat Foundation came into being.

 

Eventually, all the efforts and hard work materialized and Barkat Foundation held their first free medical camp on the 29th of January in a small village called Narang Mandi.

Since then, it has all been about preparing and distributing goody bags in Children’s Hospital on every Eid-ul-Fitr, providing food and medical packages to the famine-stricken families of Thar Parkar, Ramzan distribution packages for the widows of the Koth Pind in Model Town and the list goes on.

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

In the meanwhile, Aliha never ceased working on her long-term goals, of seeing a Pakistan where good healthcare was easily accessible to everyone.

The professional doctors that accompany the foundation on every trip carry out thorough check-ups of those who do not have the budget to travel to big cities for their treatment. At the end of every camp, Aliha and her team buy and distribute all the medicines prescribed by the doctors so that the deserving patients do not have to, themselves. The Christian communities in these areas are given equal importance by the foundation so that the minorities do not feel excluded.

 

Till date, 1,157 poor patients have been treated and Aliha’s mission continues. 

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

Upon inquiry about her ability to manage an academic career alongside the foundation Aliha informed MangoBaaz that while she strives to sustain her undergraduate scholarship in her university, her mother Sabrina Ayesha has taken over her responsibilities and is carrying on her mission with equal zeal.

Barkat Foundation has been successful in attaining donations for their camps up until now however, they will need the community’s constant mental and monetary support to keep their mission going.

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

 

Miss Nasrullah said, “Barkat’s journey has had its ups and downs, without doubt. When I talked to people about this project, many scoffed and said what could an 18 year old girl do? Another person said, “Beta, aap hou kaun abhi? Aisey kaamon kay liyey jaan pehchaan chahiyey.”  But every time I heard someone say something of the sort, I got more and more determined to show them what I could do.”

Source: Aliha Nasrullah
Source: Aliha Nasrullah

If you wish to donate for this noble cause, kindly contact Barkat Fundation on their Facebook page here.

 

For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out ‘14 Days, 14 Stories

Cover Image Via: Aliha Nasrullah 

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