How AAS trust became a lifeline for Karachi’s street children
Published on: August 1, 2018
When some dear family and friends of Abdul Rehman Allana, chairperson of Alsons Group, were affected by drug addiction, he realised that there were really no decent facilities in Pakistan that would offer rehabilitation. It was also the same for people living on the streets and suffering from addiction – there was literally nowhere to go where they could be safe, respected and treated.
And so this motivated him to start his journey to make treatment centres that would guarantee the right to human dignity for sufferers and offer them a chance to live a life free from abuse.
He first went to the UK, where he studied addictive behavioural counselling and earned a diploma.
When he would travel for his studies, he would also visit drug rehabilitation centres in the country and stay at a centre to carefully observe and learn how they functioned.
He then brought what he had learnt in the UK to Pakistan and established the AAS trust, which stands for Alleviate Addiction and Suffering. AAS functions as a private non-governmental organisation and started as a small facility in Sohrab Goth. Eighteen years after it was established, it now has five facilities around Karachi with centres soon to be established in Punjab.
What does Allana’s success in the business world bring to AAS? Precision. Good management techniques from his experience as a business man ensure that everything has to be perfect, high-precision and zero tolerance. We are in very specialised businesses, we make specialised auto components, we also work in the defence industry and need a zero defect policy. What we have, then, are good quality systems in our companies and that is what we have brought to our centres, he says.
One of AAS’ facilities serves as an executive centre, where people who have the means to pay for treatment can have the best possible residential and treatment facilities, under strict confidentiality. It’s almost like a boutique hotel and serves as an endowment fund to help run other facilities that are free of charge.
Despite putting years of effort into AAS, he insists that there is too much work left to be done. The problem is huge and too few helping hands. It is also a major challenge to create empathy and gather the necessary funds to offer health services to people often derogatorily dismissed as ‘charsis’
Watch his interview with VCast Online to learn about the AAS Trust, the challenges of repairing broken childhoods and the need for unconditional compassion.
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