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"Humanity always wins": Sakina Javed and the Karachi community project

By Rachel Harper

Sakina Javed (EMBADS2021) shares how the LBS alumni network has connected her to a project that is changing lives in Karachi, Pakistan.


What drew you to LBS?

The diversity at LBS is one thing that made me consider it as an option. When I researched more about the EMBA programs being offered, LBS was one of the top on my list because of its location in London and Dubai, as well as its affiliation with various leading universities worldwide.


Tell us a little bit about your experience so far…

Being the Academic Representative of my cohort, my experience has been phenomenal and I am fortunate to be a part of such an exemplary class. The class has been a great aid in both my personal and professional growth.

The community approach that LBS has developed is a great way to enhance your network and connect to people with similar interests.


How did the community project get started?

The community project has been a life changing experience for me. We have huge group of Pakistani alumni on WhatsApp and I was invited to join the LBS email after my admission. In November 2019 an LBS alumni, Maryam Wattoo, posted about 1,100 families that had been without shelter for eight months because their homes were built on illegal land and were demolished by the provincial government in Karachi.

She asked if someone based in Karachi could provide basic necessities and if we are able to raise funds through LBS Pakistani alumni. Since I am based in Karachi, I offered to help and we started raising funds. Within a few hours funds worth $7,000 were raised through that WhatsApp group. We took quotes from various vendors to get the best prices and ordered about 100 blankets and eight camps as phase one of the community project and added more the following month.


Who does it support and who’s involved?

With the help of the federal government and many alumni (Gulraiz Khan even sent his security personnel with us), we were able to provide shelter and some basic life necessities to the people who took it as the biggest blessing of their lives. A lot of alumni from Pakistan have contributed to this community project and have given some great advice.

Once on the ground I saw how difficult life can be for some, which made me count my blessings. The love and regard I got in return for doing the bare minimum made me promise to do much more.


What are your future aims and plans?

As some of the alumni have connections with government officials, we have been pushing them to create a committee for these people and to solve their problems. Last week, we got the news that a committee has been set up and the land will most likely be returned to the residents.

The land was to be used for a railway and that’s the reason the houses were demolished in the first place. Once we are able to secure the land, we will be using these funds to help people rebuild their homes. Our next phase will likely be a medical camp as many people need medical aid following the winter season.


Anything else that you would like to share? How can people get involved?

The most heart-warming feeling for me was when the non-Pakistani students from my class (EMBADS2021), who have never even visited Pakistan, contributed to this project. It made me believe that regardless of anyone’s background or situation, humanity always wins. The amount doesn’t matter, it’s the thought that counts.

I would like to end this with a request to all of you - start an initiative in your country to give back to society and make a positive impact.