Vans that will transform kids’ lives

Dr Shakil Malik presents the keys of the vans to a trustee of  the Centre for Profound Education, Islamabad
Dr Shakil Malik presents the keys of the vans to a trustee of the Centre for Profound Education, Islamabad

The generosity of churches and individuals in the Hastings area has transformed the lives of children with severe learning disability in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, raising enough money to purchase two vans to transport them daily to a centre where they will receive education training and care,

The Centre for Profound Education (CPE) was founded with help from mental health experts from the Sussex Partnership Mental Health Trust, including Senior Clinical Director, Dr Shakil Malik and John Hassell OBE the previous headmaster of Glynde Gap School and a national adviser on autism. It is the first centre of its kind in the country. The care which it provides is so excellent that it has recently been made into a training centre for medical students and others.

Children in Islamabad, in one of the vans provided by the LOAF porject thanks to generosity of churches and individuals in the Hastings area,

Children in Islamabad, in one of the vans provided by the LOAF porject thanks to generosity of churches and individuals in the Hastings area,

Last year, local interchurch charity LOAF Project took a fundraising challenge to raise the money for a minibus. The project was known as Wheels of Mercy as the provision of this transport will enable children from some of the poorest areas to benefit from the care provided, irrespective of religion or social status of the family.

Dr Malik says the response to the appeal for funds, not only from churches but other sections of the community including members of Hastings Council, was phenomenal. “It was so great that not just one but two minibuses have been provided,” he said. “This is very helpful as in the meantime the Centre has moved into new premises which can accommodate many more children.”

Last month, Dr Malik travelled to Pakistan to purchase the vehicles with money raised by the LOAF Project and to present them to the local trustees of the charity.

Dr John Geater MBE, Chairman of LOAF Project paid tribute to Dr Malik in making this work possible. “He is an amazing man who gives up his holiday time almost entirely to helping the CPE and other charitable clinics he has started,” he said. “This is in addition to putting in immense hours in the demanding role of the senior doctor in the county’s mental health service. Without his enthusiasm, this project would not have been possible. We would thank the many individuals whose donations have made this provision possible.”

There is an opportunity to celebrate the project on Saturday, September 30 7-10 PM at Concordia Hal, Church Road, St Leonards for an evening of Pakistani food, music and praise and learn more about the work of the CPE and other programs which bridge social cultural and religious divides in Pakistan. The evening is free with donations accepted.

www.loafproject.co.uk