The origin of an organization is essential to understand to better distinguish what makes the organization unique and special. One needs only to sit and listen to the stories of Rukhsana telling of her childhood, the transition into having a family and choosing to be an instrument of love in the lives of those who she interacted with in around her home, neighborhood, market and entire community. Listening to the stories of the lives of the teachers and how they became part of the work of the foundation. Discovering the depth of lifelong friendships and family ties where individuals as they began their professional careers chose to give their time and talents through the Rukhsana Foundation to help people that would not be able to obtain these services. This is the essence of the rich history this organization has making it a unique and special place where action speaks louder than words.
Rukhsana Foundation is founded on the principals and acts of Rukhsana Mushtaq Tahirkheli who has her entire life emulated a life of giving to those less fortunate. Rukhsana inspired her children to form this foundation to provide her an instrument to expand her desires to help in fighting the effects of poverty in preventing people from access to education and medical services. Rukhsana Foundation is a non-governmental organization with a mission to assist the underprivileged and the unfortunate members of our society in a variety of ways both locally in Lahore and across the entire country of Pakistan.
The foundation started in 2005 after the devastating earthquake in Kashmir by providing immediate aid during the relief efforts and constructing houses in the rehabilitation efforts. Since that time Rukhsana foundation opened a Welfare Finishing school for the extreme impoverished people in a segment of Lahore that is adjacent to an affluent area. The dichotomy of large houses with a wall that separates the extreme of intensely impoverishment is hard to imagine. The children of this area became part of the family’s daily routine of sifting through the trash to find items that they could collect and sell to the recyclers in order to obtain several Rupees in a day. The children did not have proper hygiene due to the exposure to all of the elements of the trash and limited resources. School was not an option due to the simple need for the families to survive. Though government schools in Pakistan are free the cost for uniforms, textbooks and normal supplies prevents a large population of people in Pakistan from attending school. Rukhsana began the processes of working with the community opening the doors of a totally free school where the uniforms, textbooks and the supplies are all provided.
Simultaneously as Rukhsana Foundation began its school it opened its welfare clinic up in the shared space of the school location. The combination of a school and clinic in a shared space has become a unique aspect of a place where education occurs in the morning and in the evening the physical body is addressed to ensure that the whole family’s health and wellbeing is addressed. This unity of a school and the clinic created the ability for Rukhsana Foundation to serve the children and all the family members in various ways that has connected the community to the Rukhsana foundation in an intimate manner. Rukhsana Foundation has engaged the local mosque’s in collaborative community related issues which helps ensure that the entire community understands the mission and efforts of the work that the Rukhsana Foundation is providing the community. The relationship between the mosque’s and Rukhsana Foundation transcends ideology and focuses on faith in action.