By: Green Volunteers
For more than 20 million people, the July 2010 floods, that obliterated everything in their path from Chitral to Thatta, presented a clip from the doomsday scenario. For the rest of the nation they ran alarm bells that will resonate in our ears for decades to come. The magnitude of this disaster was apocalyptical; so much so that the UN declared that the devastation caused clearly superseded the Tsunami that hit the whole of Far East and South Asia. Almost everyone witnessed the chaos and carnage that nature inflicted on the inhabitants, however, unlike most people, two like-minded individuals and longtime friends could not live with themselves just by sitting and watching the terror unfold on their television screens. Rameez Mumtaz and Ali Anis wanted to give back to the country that had given them so much – a home, food to eat, friends to play with, education and most importantly an Identity. They had a vision to unite the most valuable asset of this great nation- the youth. It was this idea that gave birth to Green Volunteers. Now, a year down the line, despite all the odds and as Pakistan faces yet another flood calamity, Green Volunteers stands stronger than before and only getting stronger. Who are these spirited people and what is their mission? Well, let’s find out.
Last year when the floods ravaged the Indus Water basin areas, the founders of Green Volunteers fueled only by the desire to aid the affected people, shared their ideas with their friends and family and soon mobilized an army of volunteers who shared the same passion that they had. The obstacles were many, but by the Grace and Help of Almighty Allah, Green Volunteers delivered on its promise. They hit the streets, running donation drives on the roads armed with banners and donation boxes to appeal to the mass public. The response was exceptional. People were sympathetic to the plight of their fellow countrymen and so they flocked in drones to contribute in whatever capacity that was possible for them. Soon enough, Green Volunteers were able to undertake two projects. They raised Rs. 670,000, and aided by Pakistan Navy, Green Volunteer representatives went on their first project at Nowshera, setting up a relief camp on 15-08-2010 catering for 258 families. Then on 08-09-2010, a second similar project at Charsadda distributing goods and relief packages to 309 families, using a total sum of donations in the amount of Rs. 615,000.
With the enthusiasm among the people diffusing as the after effects of the floods were controlled, seemingly the reason for Green Volunteer’s existence no longer remained. That was when the aims of this organization changed. Green Volunteers would now function as a youth based organization whose basic target would be to raise consciousness for social work and to facilitate rural communities in improving their social, economic, environmental and educational conditions indigenously. What started as a small group of dedicated young men united under the banner of social welfare based out of Islamabad soon became a global phenomenon with followers not only in Pakistan but also in Qatar, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Canada, USA, Ireland and England.
Green Volunteers have not been dormant in recent times, they have been involved in many socially beneficial activities like the hugely successful anti wall chalking drive of areas in and around Islamabad. This Eid-ul-Fitr, the Green Volunteer went out and thanked the unsung heroes of Pakistan the police department and also paid a visit to the patients at the children’s ward at PIMS in Islamabad, distributing gift packs among the sick. “Seeing their priceless smiles are what epitomize Green Volunteers agenda” said Shah Talha, a prominent member of the Green Volunteers. Green Volunteers launched their wrist bands in January of 2011. Sold for Rs. 100 each, all proceeds would be used for charitable activities. To date approximately 6000 bands have been sold. Another Green Volunteer venture was introduction in May 2011 of the Green Volunteer T-shirts. The shirts priced at Rs. 450 each, with patriotic slogans have attained sales of about 350 till now. Merchandise sales along with other fund raising activities including 3 highly successful movie screenings that have made the Green Volunteers particularly popular in Islamabad. However, the fan following in Pakistan is extensive in Karachi as well, with different awareness campaigns being conducted in Karachi, most notably a Green Volunteer representation at an event at IBA.
Recently, Pakistan has had to face another flood related disaster, this time areas of Sindh feeling the brunt. True to their mission, Green Volunteers were among the first organizations to reach Badin-tando bhago, catering for 351 families. They distributed Relief boxes worth Rs2500 each which is basically ration for two weeks. Another relief campaign, again serving a total of 350 families, was conducted in the Jhuddo Tehsil of Mirpurkhas District.
Impressive isn’t it? And it can even be you. Green Volunteers don’t have a corporate backing, they are just normal people, living normal lives, but what, makes them special is the desire to help the less fortunate. The desire to not just sit down and talk but rather to walk the walk. Talk is cheap my friends, and Green Volunteers have proven that time and again. They deliver, they act, they do and considering all the members are either college level students or university level students it is certainly a commendable effort by these people. The youth does care and it can make a difference. Be part of that change, we need more people like them. Anyone can join the Green Volunteers, search for Green Volunteers on facebook and like their page, trust me you will not regret this decision. They plan on opening a school in the flood hit areas, join them and support their cause, they need your help and our country needs them.