HUF’s Founder: Lubna Shakoh lived in Phase 3 of DHA, Lahore which is close to an under privileged area. This area has all kinds of skilled and unskilled labor, e.g. plumbers, mechanics, house maids, drivers, etc. She used to often go to the area with her children to give food, clothes, and other donations and with her frequent visits she became familiar with the people there. Once in the middle of winter in the year 2000 she found out about a laborer who had a good number of dependents, but he only earned PKR 100-150 per day. He was not able to make ends meet and his roof fell down as well. Lubna’s husband is a nephrologist and they knew a lot of people, so she called some of her friends to collect money for fixing the roof. She felt good about this, and took on more cases afterwards.
With time, besides doing the cases, she opened up a small school, clinic, a vocational training center, a welfare shop and also started micro-financing by the year 2010. All of this was being done on a small scale. Her vision was basically to create a ‘One Stop Shop’ for humanity where one could have access to loans, send their children to school, and have their daughters learn a trade/skill. If there was a widow or an elderly couple she put them on a ration program.
Anne-Marie St-Onge who was doing national disaster relief work and Dr. Faiza Ashger who was doing Langar (free/ subsidized food for the needy) joined Lubna in 2010. They realized that there was no system to manage all of these little programs so they registered the organization, opened up bank accounts, and started a donation acknowledgement system. The organization was legally established in June 2010.
This summarizes the remarkable and inspiring story of one woman who really has made a profound difference in her locality.
The organization has grown remarkably well and we now have 33 different directors who overlook different programs. Our biggest program is Public Assistance cases such as medical cases, home repair/construction, debt re-consolidation, weddings (especially those of daughters), utility installations, and small water installations which are being looked after daily by Lubna Shakoh herself.
One of our other significant programs is the scholarship program in which students from different institutions of Lahore are given aid. The aim is to give scholarships to our own students of HUF School System when our first batch goes on to college in year 2018.
We also do Microfinancing in which we provide interest free loans to the needy. The loan is given only after HUF staff members have inspected the borrower’s case and living conditions.
We also have a welfare shop where we sell donated and usable items such as clothes, decoration pieces and suitcases at a low price.