Graduation in Pakistan! Nasreen, Maria and Samina bring light to families in their neighborhoods
Let there be light
by Maria Daniel
Recalling the year Sister Anna Koop was with us in Pakistan, we had no solar and we used to light the candles and keep them in the hallways, on the steps and in our rooms. The whole compound looked like a deep well of darkness. It gave such a frustration and disappointment and we often thought of the USA where there was light all the time and we had the energy and hope.
In Lahore when we were visiting the slums nearby for needs assessment, we went through the same feeling of frustration and disappointment. We did not know if we would fall in an open sewer or bump into a rock and fall.
That feeling was at the back of my mind when I started writing the project to the Hilton Fund for Sisters.
We announced in the church after the Mass last year about starting a center where women could learn skill development (cutting, sewing, embroidery and literacy). By that time the project was already approved by HFFS, so we announced solar installation rewards for the women on completion of their training. We started with 35 women and over the year only 18 could complete the course. Some were married and went to different vicinities and some had some other reasons for leaving.
In end of May we started giving tests (different stitches, cutting and sewing of different designs of Pakistani dresses and in literacy, Math, reading and writing in Urdu and English). The red-letter day arrived on 14th June. Sister Michelle (John of God Sister) was the chief guest and the women were all dressed for the occasion. After the prayers and tea party, the certificates and solar panels were distributed among the women. Later, during the next two weeks, the solar was installed by Maria and Samina to the homes of the women.
The whole ceremony was in the chapel of the John of God Sister’s convent which was now St. Anthony’s High School. Sister Michelle said to Sister Nasreen with a deep sigh that this was our chapel. Nasreen replied to Michelle, so we picked the right place, again today the light and life is distributed to the people. Because without the light, life is disabled and with light, it is able again.