Walk For Syria/Turkey.

By Dr. Musarrat Malik

Along with our friends in Sacramento, my husband, Maqbool and I have always been supporters of GiveLight (GL). Though, I have known Dian Alyan for more than 20 years, long before the inception of GL. Yet with this recent trip to Pakistan, spending three nights in Multan made me respect and admire her even more. I witnessed her genuineness and sincerity during salah when she shed heartfelt tears. She also constantly reminded us that our work is for the sake of Allah – to please Him and pave our path to paradise. Moreover, during our early morning walks, Dian would candidly share touching stories about the children, all while brainstorming ways to enhance their prospects.

My promise to Dian that I would travel with her for the opening of the GL Home in Pakistan came to reality, Alhamdulillah. All my planning seamlessly came together as I accompanied my parents to Karachi. My initial excitement was now becoming a feeling of responsibility and apprehension about the tasks ahead; what if something goes wrong… Pakistani Americans can relate to my trivial concerns.

My parents and I arrived in Karachi a couple of days after Dian’s arrival. My sister and brother-in-law, Kiran and Ali were hosting Dian at their home after they picked her up from the airport. As we arrived at Kiran and Ali’s home, it was a relief to see Dian happy and excited as she had already toured four other orphanages in Karachi and met with Faisal Edhi from the Edhi Center. The center is named after its founder Abdul Sattar Edhi, which is one of the largest NGOs in the subcontinent. They have an orphan program and Dian wanted to explore potential ways to collaborate.

Soon after, Dian and I embarked on our journey which to me felt like going to Umrah; feelings of honor, disbelief, and immense gratitude to Allah flowed through me. My excitement was rebuilding as we were greeted by a GL volunteer to be driven to the beautiful GL Home. Mr. Mahmood Hassan, our generous donor, named the home after his beloved wife, Jamila. She was not able to join us due to family commitments, but Mr. Mahmood greeted us with open arms and made us feel right at home.

Then all the 21 children came out to greet us. Each one was so well-behaved and polite. Dian immediately broke the ice as she hugged each child and looked at them with motherly love which was contagious, as I instantly felt immense love for all of them. I could not believe my heart would melt the way it did. The last time I felt that way was when I spoke with one of my children over the phone a few hours earlier. The few days that I spent with our GL children were filled with love and pure joy.

The home was beyond my expectations- the architectural details are superb, and the bricks and traditional Multani blue tiles stand out; it is indeed the best-looking building on the block. The home is very well-planned, the administrative wing has a computer lab and a library, and under construction is a guest suite- I am looking forward to spending a few days a year there. It is beautifully constructed around an open courtyard. The kids loved running around the courtyard and jumping on the trampoline with Dian.

Each child has a story, a history, and experiences of trauma. Dian intricately and delicately navigated through their adversity. Being in the medical field, I was able to go over some basic health care and preventive care guidelines with the children, emphasizing aspects of nutrition and counseling. All the while I was in awe of how Dian manages to look after the mental and physical well-being of all the GL children around the world, while I am struggling to keep up with my own two children.

Dian bought bicycles and kites for the children and also recruited local skilled and compassionate individuals to volunteer to teach art, music, and soccer. We also enjoyed several meals with the children; they were so happy to dine with us. I was thoroughly impressed by their table manners. Additionally, we did yoga and played games, witnessing the children’s joy firsthand. Their laughter resonated deeply within me, evoking gratitude for the abundance of blessings we have- for our nurturing parents, our supportive siblings, and our loving spouses and children.

With much apprehension, I had to say my goodbyes. I will InshAllah remain involved with the home and look forward to seeing these beautiful children blossom.

I want to thank Dian from the bottom of my heart for taking me on this beautiful journey. And, thanks to my family and friends for their overwhelming support.