MIANWALI: The local administration has raised Rs10 million for a philanthropists-run orphanage in the Mianwali city to provide better facilities to the wards. Still, the project requires Rs10 million more for completion.

The century-old orphanage, called Yateem Khana in the local parlance, of the district is located near Eid Gah. The shelter started housing Muslim orphans in 1922.

The great work by Hindu philanthropists of those times, who were taking care of the Hindu community, inspired then Muslim district officer, the late Dil Mohammad, to start the mission to save Muslim orphans from beggary and starvation.

An association named ‘Anjuman Islamia Mianwali’ was registered with notables like Pir Akbar Ali, Khan Mohammad Akbar Khan, Khan Bahadur Sultan Khan of Ghalo Gara, and others as its members. They bought land and built a building to house the orphans in the city. The facility offered lodging, food and religious and school education to the children.

After Partition, the Anjuman Islamia Mianwali kept on the mission. The Anjuman was headed by Ghulam Jillani, son of Pir Akbar, for some time and now Sahibzada Abdul Malik, the grandson of Pir Akbar, is the head of the Anjuman.

In 1964, then deputy commissioner of Mianwali Qazi Mohammad Shafi shifted the orphanage to four kanals of the government near the central Eidgah of the city and named it as ‘Darul Itfal’ with the idea that the tag of ‘Yateem Khana’ be removed from the children’s minds. The new facility had three residential rooms, one classroom, one recreational room, an office, a kitchen, a store, and a playground.

The facility took the attention of the incumbent administration who have got an Rs20 million construction plan prepared by engineers to house more than 150 orphans besides providing them with facilities for a healthy atmosphere.

A local cement factory has announced supplying free cement for the project, while brick kiln owners will provide bricks. A local stone crushing owner will supply stone while the Imam Khumeni Trust has donated Rs1.5 million.

On Feb 1, the groundbreaking for the project was done.

DC Omer Sher Chattha is monitoring the project.

Hafiz Manzoor Sialvi, the caretaker of Darul Itfal caretaker, told Dawn presently the facility has only 35 children.

He says their priority is to admit the children without parents who are from poor families. He said these children are given education in the Government Elementary School, Mianwali.

The children are also taught the Holy Quran, and a few of them are learning the holy book by heart.

A school teacher visits the building in the afternoon to help the children with homework. The affairs of the orphanage are running with the donations and the rent of the old orphanage building.

A social worker told Dawn he daily visits the site and is satisfied with the quality of food and education facilities for the children.

DC Chattha told Dawn Rs10 million has been collected from philanthropists and the remaining amount would also be arranged.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2021

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