The people of the nation of Kashmir generally are purveyors of peace who have been adversely and unfairly affected by self-serving interests of external forces. People residing near the Line of Control that divides Kashmir have been going through trying times. Not a single family in these areas has escaped the horrifying effects of the skirmishes.
As a result, the region is severely underdeveloped with high rates of poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality and limited opportunities for youth to progress. An even more disappointing fact is the lack of state’s attention to Kashmir’s most valuable economic asset: tourism. With all the scenic beauty that the place has to offer, efforts for preserving, promoting and sustaining the advantageous blessings of nature are negligible.
Adding to the tug-of-war situation are natural calamities occurring in the valley. The 2005 earthquake in particular caused effects so devastating that its horrors resound in the hills even today. The tragedy claimed more than 80,000 lives with injured people numbering well over 100,000. It wiped out innumerable families and whole communities were destroyed. To this day the true extent of the damage caused to rural and inaccessible areas of beautiful vales of Kashmir is unknown.
Kashmir Charitable Trust (UK) was set up in 1995 by a number of young Kashmiris working in a small northern British town of Rochdale. The objective was; ‘To relieve the inhabitants and the origins (living elsewhere) of the State of Jammu and Kashmir who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress as a result of local, internal or external conflicts, natural disasters or by reason of their social and economic circumstances.’
KCT is working under the slogan of “aapneyian nal mili the aapneyian waste kam karo”آپنیاں نال ملی تہ اپنیاں واسطہ کم کرو.which means “Join your own and work for your own”. The objective of the slogan is for the local community to get involved, be an integral part of the projects and help their own.
This objective was initially applied by working with ‘Hameed Blood Bank’, ‘Kashmir Children Welfare Trust’ and other local organisations in the valley of Kashmir to help people caught up with hardship of everyday struggles. At the same time financial help was also provided to the people living in the buffer zone of divided Kashmir; people who were becoming victims of cross fire between Pakistani and India Armies. Temporary food and accommodation and school fees for children was also provided.
KCT in Kashmir
After October 8th’s earthquake, the members of KCT decided to start work with their partner organisations including Kashmir Record and Research Cell and Kashmir Development Foundation for accommodating the affected people. KCT’s first team reached Muzaffarabad on October 17, 2005 and provided support and cash donations to a number of projects.
The immediate concerns having been addressed, the current situation in the affected areas now calls for a different kind of help. Aiding in employment hunt and pursuing education is presently the focus of the organisation. Besides that, KCT is now interested in launching an embroidery center, an English language institute and an enterprise development centre. Furthermore, ecotourism development and youth management are among core interests of KCT.
The members and supporters of KCT working in various towns and cities in Britain, Europe, USA, Middle East and elsewhere in the world are urged to use their means to strengthen and help KCT to achieve its objectives. Only your help will enable us to provide a better life of the ordinary Kashmiri.