UK philanthropist calls for vocational training for underprivileged Pakistani youth

04:00 PM, 15 May, 2024
UK philanthropist calls for vocational training for underprivileged Pakistani youth

LONDON: UK-based distinguished Consultant Paediatrician and Midland International Trust (MIAT) CEO Prof Abdul Rashid Gatrad OBE has urged Pakistan to prioritize vocational training for its most vulnerable youth, aligning this initiative with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Prof Gatrad and his team have successfully raised £3 million for healthcare projects worldwide. They have also established a cleft hospital in Pakistan’s Gujarat district, as documented in an ITV documentary, providing free surgeries and services, supported by donors from the West Midlands.

With a philanthropic footprint spanning over 20 countries, Gatrad's initiatives primarily focus on healthcare, education, and sustainability. He has been a vocal advocate for girls’ empowerment and has received numerous honors for his contributions.

Prof Gatrad’s contributions also include the establishment of medical facilities, provision of free surgeries, and promotion of vocational training programs. Emphasizing the significance of SDGs, he continues his altruistic work at the age of 78, striving to leave a legacy of hope and service to humanity.

Recognized for his exemplary service, Prof Gatrad was awarded the OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 for his dedication to ethnic minority children in the Midlands. In 2014, he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant to Her Majesty the Queen for his continued service.

Although born in India, Gatrad's humanitarian efforts in Pakistan began in 2005 when he was invited by Khwaja Mohammed Aslam, chairman of Midland International Aid Trust UK (MIAT), to assume the role of CEO. Since then, MIAT has significantly impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands globally, particularly children.

Despite modest beginnings with only £20,000 in working capital, MIAT has expanded its reach to over 20 countries under Gatrad's stewardship. Noteworthy achievements include the establishment of the Jubaida Gatrad hospital in Gujarat, Pakistan, providing employment opportunities and essential healthcare services to the community.

Gatrad’s initiatives extend beyond healthcare, and include projects such as the provision of artificial limbs, cataract operations, and educational support for children with disabilities. Through collaborative efforts with organizations like Deafkidz International, he has facilitated vital services for children with hearing impairments, ensuring their integration into society.

Prof Gatrad plans to revisit Pakistan to get support from government officials for his charity’s campaign on vocational education, particularly targeting the most marginalized segments of society.

Reflecting on his lifelong dedication, Gatrad expresses a profound sense of duty towards humanity, aiming to leave behind a legacy of hope and service rather than seeking personal acclaim.