ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Baitul Mal has launched a special programme to provide financial help to deserving poor people earning less than Rs10,000 a month.
The programme is aimed to mitigate financial hardship of the poor and bring them into the mainstream of the social fabric.
Under the programme, the assistance would be provided on a handwritten application to be submitted with a copy of the national identity card by a person having less than Rs10,000 income per month, PBM Managing Director Barrister Abid Waheed Sheikh told Dawn.
After scrutiny, he said, the PBM would provide the assistance within a week.
The new MD of Baitul Mal claimed that he had introduced austerity, transparency, efficiency and accessibility in the organisation to enable the poor to have an easy access to resources of the social safety net.
Another major change brought about in the organisation, the MD said, was the automation process.
The PBM head office and all its branches and district level offices across the country are now interlinked through internet and this has been done to ensure complete transparency and increase efficiency in the organisation.
The PBM, Mr Sheikh said, had also been working on a new project under which Great Homes would be set up for those senior citizens in their 60s or above who had none to look after them or who had been abandoned by their children.
These elderly people would be provided all facilities of a home, including lodging, clothes, food and entertainment.
One such pilot project had been launched in Lahore, Mr Sheikh said. He said that keeping its success and requirement in mind, such centres would be set up in other different cities also.
Women empowerment is also one of the objectives of the social safety net for which vocational centres have been planned to be opened in different cities and these will impart skills through different courses to women to enable them to earn their livelihood and not to be dependent on the Baitul Mal for assistance.
Courses to be taught at these centres, he said, would include graphic designing, computer skills, beautician, cooking, jewellery-making, rug-making etc.
The MD said these skills would enable women and children to capture their shares in local and international markets. These courses will be free-of-charge. Rather, he said, trainees would be provided Rs5000 stipend a month.
The PBM has also been running centres for rehabilitation of child labour. These centres are especially for those children who have been forced by domestic problems to take up small jobs. Such children are provided education from class 1-5. To encourage their families to send their children to PBM centres, they are also provided a monthly stipend.
In the health sector, the PBM is bearing full expenses for terminal diseases like cancer, hepatitis, heart diseases etc.
In all big hospitals of the country, the Baitul Mal had opened special counters/centres to help those people who seek financial assistance for medical treatment.
Application forms available at these counters were processed through hospitals and the Baitul Mal provided necessary expenses after scrutiny, said the PBM chief who has volunteered himself for the service of the downtrodden and is not receiving any salary or other perks and allowances from the social safety net.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2014