As ANT-Hiroshima celebrates our first quarter century, we have been receiving messages of commemoration from our close friends and supporters from all over the world.
Today we publish a joint message from our partners in peace in Pakistan, Ahmed Abbas and Shoaib Haider, of HOPE’87 Pakistan. Ahmed and Shoaib have been at the centre of ANT-Hiroshima’s work in Pakistan from the beginning, back in 2003 when Tomoko made her first fact-finding visit.
Our first interaction with ANT-Hiroshima started almost 10 years ago through Mr Robert Ottitsch (HOPE’87) and the first visit of Mrs Tomoko Watanbe to Pakistan towards the end of 2003.
In the following years Tomoko-san accompanied by sector specialists and volunteers from time to time undertook several visits. These visits helped identify the health sector (focusing mainly on mother and child health) as one of the key areas of intervention for ANT-Hiroshima in Pakistan, followed by education (particularly peace education) and humanitarian aid.
Working in the development and humanitarian aid sector, one is often exasperated by the magnitudes of problems faced by under-privileged people in Pakistan, which is compounded by the fact that it is impossible to reach out to all the needy people.
Yet the smile on the faces of young schoolgirls from the conservative Afghan and Pathan communities, who are attending girls schools which are being run successfully in a sustainable manner, is wonderful to see, as are,
- the joys of a mother to see her sick baby get well at a well-established, adequately staffed, well-equipped and smoothly-functioning health unit,
- the happiness beaming from school children sitting in well-furnished classrooms which had recently been devastated by an earthquake,
- provision of psycho-social support for children,
- the availability of life-saving, clean drinking water to communities ravished by floods,
- the “SADAKO’s story book” cherished by children as their favorite reading book…
- and numerous similar instances…
All have been made possible through the kind, generous and sustained support of ANT-Hiroshima, which has continued for over a decade.
We recall the motto of ANT Hiroshima, explained by Tomoko-san in our first meetings,
“Like ants, we may have little power alone, but through partnership we can accomplish great things.”
Ten years down the line we can see the fruits of this dedicated work, human touch and leadership of the mother ant Tomoko-san and find inspiration in the fact that there is HOPE for a better and peaceful future. As your worker ants we promise to take your vision forward and make this world a prosperous place and spread the seeds of peace for our future generations.
Ahmed Abbas and Shoaib Haider
Note from Shoaib Haider:
In conclusion, I would like to recall my own very personal experience of meeting the late Mrs Yaeko Ueno, a Shinto priest and Tomoko-san’s God-mother, in 2006. At nearly 90 years of age, frail and physically weak, seated in serene surroundings she was radiating with positive energy. Her dedication and support helped us realize one of our projects, helping to alleviate the sufferings of the poor have-nots. Ueno-san REST IN PEACE and keep watching us from the heavens above. I hope to pay homage to her at her final resting place again someday.