Saifullah Bashir meets the group leader that oversees the Chenab region like a bird and tries everything to mitigate the crisis
In 2014 when devastating floods hit Kashmir, a group of youth in Chenab Valley pledged to help the affected people in other districts. In Doda, they raised donations locally and brought essential items, later delivering relief to flood-hit areas like Shopain, Kulgam and Pulwama.
“It was a humanitarian approach rather than a formal one,” acknowledged Hassan Babar, head of the group, now known as Ababeel. “But it was ill organised,”. A professional lawyer, he believes that social service is above all professions. Then Babar and other volunteers decided to establish a full-fledged NGO. “Officially we registered it in July 2015 under the name of Ababeel,” said Babar.
When it started, its reach was restricted to Doda alone. With the passage of time, Ababeel opened units in Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Jammu, Bhalessa, Thathri and Dadepeth. Volunteers from these areas continue to join the NGO.
At the outset, Ababeel was limited to handling accidental cases and fire incidents.
Then Ababeel identified the widows and vulnerable sections of the area and start providing them essential items in food kits and also financial aid in an organized manner.
The Sehri Start
During the holy month of Ramzan in 2016, one of the friends of Babar got stuck in district hospital Doda (now Government Medical College). The following day, he met Babar and narrated that he could not fast as there was no arrangement for Sehri in hospital.
Babar along with a few more volunteers visited the hospital and examined that it was not only his friend who missed the Sehri but there were many more.
“There were only Rs 2500 in our account. We blindly agreed to serve iftaar and sehri for all those attendants who stay in the hospital during Ramzan,” Babar said.
On the first day at least forty persons were provided Sehri. Accordingly, other attendants also came to know and the rush increased.
This initiative was later extended to district hospital Kishtwar and the Government Medical College Jammu as well.
Now, Ababeel is also sponsoring the education of youth. Those students who are performing well in local institutions and wish to continue education in different fields get aid.
“We sponsor students fully and bear all their expenses including books, fees, travel and hostel fee,” said Babar.
Ababeel has four ambulances, which are functional 24 hours. Three are in district Kishtwar and one in Doda.
The region has rough roads, which often lead to mishaps. Ababeel volunteers remain alert in rescuing the people. The region tops the number of civilians lost to road accidents because of bad road conditions, topography and wrong driving.
Without any charges, they ferry patients to Srinagar in case of referral by district hospitals. Ambulances are also being used in interstate, rescue and relief operations.
“We purchased the first three eco ambulances for Rs 6 lakhs and we purchased multi stretcher ambulances for Doda district and it cost us Rs 18 lakhs. We raised donations locally,” added Babar.
Ababeel has purchased a handful of oxygen concentrators. Athrout has provided four concentrators to Ababeel and few oxygen cylinders have also been provided by the SRO Kashmir.
“Whenever a patient of Doda or Kishtwar gets admitted in Srinagar hospital we call SRO or Athrout for further help and they provide it,” said Babar.
Ababeel has around 70 volunteers and in case of emergency over 300 are ready to help the people.
Ababeel helps orphan girls in their marriage.
“Marriage kits which include all the basic things are provided to the deserving girls,” Babar added.
This winter Ababeel donated around 1500 traditional Pheran to the children of different areas. The NGO distributed blankets and other essential items among the needy.