Samina Nawab, a Pakistani Christian humanitarian and rights activist, made headlines in 2016 when she helped rebuild a chapel for 100-plus Christian inmates in a major Karachi prison.
Nawab, who heads Angel Patient Care Services, a Karachi-based non-government organization, raised the funds needed to rebuild and furnish the chapel at Landhi Jail.
In an interview with ucanews.com, Nawab said that a Christian prisoner sought her assistance to build the chapel when she visited the facility to set up a free medical camp.
Nawaz said that building the chapel was just a small part of the humanitarian work she has been doing in Pakistan. Her trust sets up free medical camps to aid the most vulnerable sections of society.
"We are striving to provide basic health facilities to people who can't afford them. We observe people's needs in different areas and organize free medical camps to cater to them," she told ucanews.com.
Nawaz was drawn to humanitarian work from a very young age. "The idea of working for humanity has been with me since childhood. Even as a child I always wanted to work for humanity and serve people in whatever capacity I could," she said.
"In today's world, everyone is working for themselves and busy making their own selves better. But unique is the one who thinks about others who are less fortunate. Because being fortunate with so many blessings it's our right to share them with needy people around us."
Being a woman has not been an obstacle
"Since the launch of Angel Patient Care Services I've organized many successful programs and I am proud to say there hasn't been a single occasion when I had to face any problem for being a woman," she said.
Although rights groups accuse Pakistan of subjecting religious minorities to severe discrimination, Nawab said she never experienced unfair treatment due to her Christian faith.
"I've never faced any hurdle in my social work for being a member of a minority community. In fact people always appreciate my work as Angel's Welfare Trust doesn't focus on any particular religion or caste. Our focus is serving humanity."
One remarkable aspect of her charity is that there is no outside help from any international body, the trust is run on donations from close family and friends. "We usually generate funds from our own family income and sometimes through some of our team members," she said.
"Recently we set up a free eye camp at Cantonment Railway Station in Karachi on Feb. 25 and treated more than 450 porters and railway staff. Those who needed to undergo surgery were taken to clinics," she said.
In recognition of her services, the Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael presented her with the Official Nelson Mandela Award in 2016.
"My message for World Women's Day is that we women should keep reminding ourselves that we are not less than anyone and we can achieve what we aspire to," she said.
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