Interview with Qurat Ul Ain Bakhteari

Qurat Ul Ain BakhteariWelcome to the inaugural blog issue of The National Volunteer Programme (NVP).  The NVP is striving for two key goals – realization of the potential of volunteering in Pakistan and the provision of the much required human resource relief to institutions working hard to improve the lives of the people of Pakistan.

The NVP provides volunteers with an opportunity to choose how to volunteer their time. Many volunteers have specific skill sets which they can use in their volunteering. The NVP portal makes use of a volunteer’s specific skill set to provide a match in institutions which have specific human resource requirements.

One such institution is the Trust for Development Studies and Practices based in Karachi. The institution has established the Institute of Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) in 1998 in Quetta. Dr Qurat Ul Ain Bakhteari is the founding Director for the Institution. IDSP has based the institution on training the youth of Pakistan. “Although the IDSP has initially been established in Balochistan, the plan is to develop such institutions all over Pakistan” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain.

“If the facility is not available in Balochistan, we convince the beneficiaries to come to Karachi for training, where lodging is provided by the TDSP” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain. Leadership training is also given to the women which specifically focuses on the hurdles the beneficiaries face in their family and communities in order to work.  The IDSP has been particularly successful in imparting practical Midwifery training to women. Most students trained have had the theoretical training but have had no experience in midwifery and so cannot set up a clinic or practice. IDSP has provided the solution in arranging practical training for the midwives in Karachi. The women have then gone back to their villages to provide services in their communities

“Whilst our programmes are growing, we need support at the institutional level for long term sustainability.” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain.  With limited resources – often this is not possible. The NVP hopes to provide support by matching volunteers with the skills to meet the requirements of such institutions.

Dr Qurat Ul Ain applauds the concept of the NVP.  “The idea of creating a platform to start work on volunteer services will be appreciated as it will provide the necessary support to institutions such as ours according to our specific needs” she says.  “We need support in administrative activities such as database upgrading to proposal development”.

The NVP will also provide clarity to volunteers. The volunteers can go to the institution knowing the clear requirements. This adds value to their time and increases the sense of satisfaction as they contribute to the organization in a meaningful manner.

The NVP takes into consideration the needs of the volunteer in today’s day and age. The portal provides a format for online volunteering which reduces the time required for finding an institution that is according to the interest of the volunteer. Dr Qurat Ul Ain commented on how the world has changed in many ways. “The need of the day is to embrace the new age – The NVP is innovative in bringing the modern concept of volunteering to Pakistan”.

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