Parveen Saeed, a resident of Karachi’s Surjani Town, vowed to help feed the poor after her neighbor, a mother of two, killed her children because she could not afford to feed them. Saeed felt it was her duty to do something about the abject poverty she witnessed around her on a daily basis. Twenty years along the line, she continues to feed more than 1000 people on daily basis.
Saeed was not rich, and she certainly had no links with the woman and her children, except humanity. Moved by the tragedy, she decided that she would try and feed those who could not feed themselves. Consequently, the idea of Khana Ghar, a soup kitchen, was born.
“My mind couldn’t accept that a mother’s heart could do such a thing. When I spoke to the woman, she said, ‘if you were in my place, you’d do the same too’ and that stuck in my mind. I soon decided to do something about it.”
She began Khana Ghar out of her own home and, after two decades of providing subsidized food, she now feeds above 1000 people a day. “I realized back then that poverty was one of the root causes of problems in the city. The very poor can’t even afford two square meals a day,” said Saeed.
Khana Ghar does not provide food for free. Instead, it charges a token amount of Rs3 per meal, which initially started off at Rs2. They charge money as they want to discourage the poor from being dependent on free food. They feel better once they realize that they have earned their food.
Saeed said she does not actively look for donations and neither does she seek publicity for her venture. Instead, funding for Khana Ghar pours in from friends, family, and private donors and she is constantly being contacted by people who wish to help out.
The selfless pursuit of Parveen Saeed
Besides running Khana Ghar, Saeed also provides assistance to people who cannot afford school books, uniforms, and even cloth for funeral shrouds. She also helps out would-be brides and their parents with wedding expenses.
In the long run, Saeed wants to expand Khana Ghar to all parts of the country and desires to see that day soon when no one will sleep hungry. The humble lady is reluctant to admit that she has done anything worthy of praise and recognition. However, only recently, she was honored by the Pride of Pakistan Award for her meritorious service.
Here is her interview
Hats off to Saeed!
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