The blog highlights the role of Social Welfare Society (SWS) in shaping a student’s life on personal and professional fronts.
Joining the Social Welfare Society (SWS) at UMT was a dream come true. The oath-taking ceremony held under the Office of Participant Affairs (OPA) was overwhelming, as we made commitment to work for the well-being of students and society.
This feeling was followed by a great sense of responsibility, which began from home. Since my childhood, I had seen my mother provide food for the poor. She wasn’t a huge philanthropist but had a heart of gold, always ready to send extra pack of rice or haleem in old boxes to those in need.
Obviously it was love blended with generosity that spoke volumes about her open-hearted nature. With these inherited streaks, I grew and moved to Lahore from Islamabad, where I got admission in BS Psychology at UMT.
The hostel life had its own charm as my friends and I enjoyed the new air of independence and cooked ‘extra food.’ This extra serving was either enjoyed by us or distributed among the needy on my way to the University. Such acts were therapeutic spiritually and emotionally. Above all, it kept me connected with mum, whom I missed very much.
Soon we became engrossed in our studies and forgot everything. The assignments and practicals kept us off the ‘helping tracks’ for the time being, but one morning, a huge notice pasted in department corridor about open membership offer in Social Welfare Society gave us a vision to help others on a wider scale.
It was through this Society that I learnt about doing ‘something’ for society which paved the way for academic success too. When my first semester ended, SWS organized a blood donation camp at the University Campus in collaboration with Sundas Foundation. We prepared a list of donors and facilitated them in every way possible. The basic purpose of organizing the camp was to collect blood for children who were suffering from thalassaemia and hemophilia - inherited blood disorders that can cause mild to severe anemia as it involves problems with the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The response was great as we were able to gather 130 students in a few hours.
SWS also started a character building awareness campaign for students and faculty members on weekly basis. Once we did an awareness campaign on ‘backbiting’ and asked students to share their experiences in this regard. The stories they shared were both amusing and thought provoking. Similarly, we prepared colorful brochures, designed handmade post cards, penned slogans and introduced numerous activities which emphasized the theme of honesty, respect and kindness towards others. During these campaigns, students were asked to pen down stories of people who exemplify the best of each trait.
It was during my second semester, that we were asked to participate in fund-raising campaign of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH), which is being constructed in Karachi. For this, the SWS gave us some copies of tickets and were given a one- week deadline to sell those tickets. It was challenging but a rejuvenating activity, as we became more confident in our direct dealing with the public, went door-to-door for fund raising and were able to sell all tickets in just three days. Though we had sleepless nights and ignored our studies for awhile but the feeling of accomplishment was great.
We also participated in candle vigil ceremony, which was held at Liberty Chowk on the eve of 5th anniversary of APS attack to express solidarity with the victims of APS carnage. Parents and relatives of martyrs were also present in the memorial ceremony.
The time spent at UMT was memorable as we organized educational trips for students and held medical camps with Akhuwat Foundation, Sundas Foundation and SKMCH at the Campus. Every time we participated in a ‘movement for a cause.’ I understood my mother’s vision of selfless dedication towards her family and society at large, which was later cherished and enhanced by one of the lessons taught at UMT.