A group of Catholic youth in Pakistan is empowering women and youth of all religions through vocational and skill training.
The group works under the name of Divine Hope Foundation (DHF), Pakistan that has a 20-member team including elders and Catholic youth, Daniel Bashir, the team leader, told RVA news.
Last August, DHF started the first batch of students for skill training on sewing for women, computers, and English.
Initially, DHF received 120 applications. After scrutiny, 100 candidates were selected for various courses that are being offered free of cost at Caritas Pakistan-Karachi's premises as DHF does not have its logistics, explained Bashir, a 28-year-old medical doctor, who wishes to become a priest.
He was one of the delegates from Pakistan in the Synod on the Youth 2018 in the Vatican.
According to Bashir, out of 100 students, only 60 will graduate from the course having completed all the requirements.
Archbishop Benny Mario Travas of Karachi, Pakistan, is scheduled to grace the occasion for the certificate distribution ceremony to the first badge to be held on January 28.
The second badge will start on January 19.
The foundation is the mission outreach of Catholic Divine Retreat Centre Ministries, UK.
DHF’s mission is to educate, employ and empower the youth of Pakistan economically and develop technical skills, so they can uplift their family, where they are financially independent.
On January 9, DHF held its first annual general meeting. The team ended the year 2021 on a higher note and reviewed the organization's activities, said Bashir.
Bashir and his team received an award as a recognition of their work for society on December 31 last year from the Rehmat Welfare Foundation, one of the largest non-government charity organizations in Pakistan.
Sharing the origin of DHF, Bashir said during the Covid-19 lockdown last year, a group of youth and elders from the Catholic community in Karachi helped the needy people with groceries and food items.
“Initially, our target was 50 poor or marginalized families. But, later on, we did for 500 families. That was a great learning experience for all of us,” Bashir recalled.
After that experience, the group decided to continue to help unemployed youth with skill training so that they can be gainfully employed and help their families.
“Keeping that in mind, we formed DHF foundation on August 15, 2021, the feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Bashir said.
When asked how the first batch of candidates, who have completed the training recently, view their future, Bashir said, “Some of the women for sewing training were working as domestic workers. They faced many challenges such as domestic violence and hostile situation affecting their self-dignity and rights.”
With sewing training that DHF provided, women can work independently and have greater confidence in their lives and dignity, he said.
This encourages the DHF team to help the youth of all sections of society in Pakistan, a Muslim majority country, the youth leader said.
DHF provides the opportunity for the youth (aged from 18 to 40) to acquire basic and advanced computer skills and other training.
Recently, Bashir met Margaret Fialho, a certified Neuro-Linguistic programming master practitioner life coach, and therapist, and discussed to rope in for DHF.
“We will continue to empower the youth of all religions and provide scope for the career counseling with the help of others,” Bashir said.