KARACHI, Nov 18: Three women abandoned their children, eight in all, to their fate by placing them under the care of the Edhi Foundation on Tuesday.

Aged between five and 12 years, the children, some in tears, appeared scared and unaware of the reason that had forced their parents to leave them at the country’s largest charity.

Bilquees Edhi, of the Edhi Foundation, said she knew of no precedent that eight children of living parents were left at any of its centres.

“The monster of poverty is closing in on the lower middle class, forcing parents to abandon their loved ones,” she said, the children huddled around her.

“They all live in Gulzar Colony of Korangi and through initial interaction we have learnt that two of the families are related to each other.”

She said the three women wept inconsolably while saying goodbye to the children. The children, a picture of shock and fear of the unknown, tried in vain to cling to their mothers. “The sight of the women parting from the children was heart-rending,” Bilquees Edhi said.

The eight children were given meals and new clothes before being presented to media at the Bilquees Edhi Foundation Centre at Meethadar.

But the hapless souls were not ready to share their agony with the media.

“She (mother) told us that we are being moved to a school where we would learn and live,” said 12-year-old Faiza, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“We can’t live here and want to go back to our parents. We don’t need schooling,” said Faiza, the oldest of the eight children brought to the centre. Two of her sisters — Rimsha (9) and Rahima (10) — and a

10-year-old brother, Adnan, were too dazed by the tragedy to speak.

The only fact Faiza knew about her father, Mohammad Sabir, was that he was a bakery worker.

Three other children — Umar (10), Usman (8) and Nimra (6) — were also clueless about their presence at Bilquees Edhi Foundation Centre, but they were hopeful that their mother would take them home. They said their father Wasim, a labourer, had pulled them out of school before final examinations a few months ago.

Warda, a five-year-old girl, was the only one among the eight children who was not accompanied by her siblings. She worried about three of her sisters and two brothers.

“I asked Ammi (mummy) to take them along too, but she left Shujaat, Khizar, Laiba, Khizra and Sidra at home,” she said.