News / Asia

Pakistan's Christian Hospice to Close After 50 Years

Christian Hospice in Pakistan Facing Closurei
X
November 29, 2013
Sharon Behn reports that the hospice that caters mainly to Muslim patients is now being forced to close because of falling donations and rising costs.

VIDEO: Rawalpindi's Christian hospice, which caters mainly to Muslim patients, is being forced to close because of falling donations and rising costs. VOA's Sharon Behn has more.

TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— In the crowded, winding streets of the Rawalpindi, a small Christian hospice led by Irish nuns has taken care of the destitute and disabled for 50 years.

But the hospice that caters mainly to Muslim patients is now being forced to close because of falling donations and rising costs.

FILE - Pakistani men are pictured during visit of Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono at St. Joseph's Hospice in Rawalpindi.FILE - Pakistani men are pictured during visit of Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono at St. Joseph's Hospice in Rawalpindi.
x
FILE - Pakistani men are pictured during visit of Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono at St. Joseph's Hospice in Rawalpindi.
FILE - Pakistani men are pictured during visit of Spanish Defence Minister Jose Bono at St. Joseph's Hospice in Rawalpindi.
For Aisha Gulrehman, the hospice has been her home for 10 years.

After being hit by a bullet outside her home in Pakistan's poor northwest at age 12, she has battled with cerebral palsy.
 
“When I first came here, I couldn't do anything, now I can eat by myself and I can write," she says. "Everybody here loves me and takes care of me. I wasn't looked after like this in my own home."
 
Like Aisha, all 40 patients here are destitute. Some of the paraplegics and quadraplegics have been abandoned.
 
Sister Margaret Walsh and a team of Pakistani and international volunteers have been trying to keep St. Joseph's running.

But after 50 years, donations are drying up, and bookkeeper Naveed Inderyas says fuel, electricity and medical costs are rising.

“According to our bank balances, we can survive only for the five months," he says.
 
Although the hospice cares for people of all religions, many think that, as a Christian institution, its own faith community should be responsible to raise the money. But sectarian violence has pushed many of Pakistan's wealthier Christians to depart, leaving few donors.
 
While there are many charitable organizations in Pakistan, St. Joseph's is unique, says Dr. Munawar Sher Khan, a Muslim who has been involved with the hospice for 40 years.
 
"It gives a unique service," she says. "There is no place to the best of my knowledge that helps the disabled, the chronically ill, they are rejected from other hospitals, they can't afford to go to hospitals, they can't afford expensive treatments."

Abler patients are encouraged to stay active.
 
Mohammed Sohail was a young man when he dove into a lake and cracked his head on a rock, paralyzing him from the neck down.

"These people, especially hospice, they know what to do with me," he says. "Dressings, food — a lot of other things, special needs for patients they provide us — and slowly, slowly, starting that day, I did move my neck, my hand, my finger, and now I am like a big man."
 
But without donated funds, such success stories could becpome a thing of the past.

While Sister Walsh says she will fight to keep the hospice open, as closing seems too painful an option. Dr. Munawar says she cannot believe that the prospect of closure is one they need to confront.
 
"I love the hospice, and I just can't bear the thought of it closing," she says. "For what? Why are we closing? Insufficient funds? People don't care anymore? I care. That's it."

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sara from: Islamabad
December 06, 2013 1:34 AM
Everyone- this is the website: http://www.stjosephshospice.com.pk/aboutus.php#leadership. Donation details are also set out here


by: Sara from: Islamabad
December 05, 2013 12:36 AM
It would be helpful if there was a bank account number and branch. If the admin can get that going people would be very willing to help.


by: Farhad Durrani from: Islamabad
December 04, 2013 11:37 AM
How much money do they require to remain open?


by: Ejaz U Haq from: Michigan, USA
December 03, 2013 9:38 AM
I am extremely sorry to see this Hospice close. This was started by Father Francis O'Leary in the early sixties and I and my class mates helped him rIse money for the project. It was his dream and he singlehanded and with great passion pursued it. We 'pindiites had never heard of a hospice and did not know the difference between a hospice and a hospital, but once Father O'Leary explained the concept we all Christian and Muslim alike pitched in to raise money for the project. It is a pity this institution has fallen on hard times. I suppose it is indicative of the conditions in Pakistan today. May Father O'Leary's soul rest in heaven and in peace.


by: Rachel from: Rawalpindi
December 03, 2013 6:37 AM
St. Joseph's Hospice is the right place to make donation. I have known about the great work this place has been doing since I visited this hospice when I was in School as a child.I request all people to please put in your share to help St. Joseph's Hospice come out of its bad times and to carry out the good work we cannot do alone. Thanks


by: Sam
December 02, 2013 9:26 PM
How can we help? Is there a website?


by: naela from: lahore
December 02, 2013 12:10 PM
Kindly guide us how contributions can be made to this institute? friends want to donate but are asking how?


by: mandresy from: france
December 02, 2013 7:21 AM
hello,

it is so sad to hear it .Nowadays , closure hospital only because it in not muslim institution is so several.Christian people is better ;they practice what Jesus have explained .Curing all poeple who represents jesus's face.
I pray for pakistan christian and all citizens for peace


by: Clara Pasha from: Islamabad
November 30, 2013 11:18 AM
For the past 50 years the hospice has been involved in providing medical/old age care to many people who cannot afford to pay, or have been abandoned by their families. I personally have been involved since 1987 in raising funds, sending the post graduate nurses for their clinical practice to this very institute and getting some poor people admitted for treatment as well. It makes me very sad to hear this news.

Let all the generous people of Rawalpindi/ Islamabad be of assistance to this charity hospice as it provides service to the needy members of our community. It is an appeal and I sincerely hope that it is heard.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid