July 1, 2009 > Hidaya Foundation
By Sargunjot Kaur
In Arabic, Hidaya means to lead and to guide. The charitable organization, Hidaya Foundation, has strived to do just that in offering their aid to depressed countries around the world, which include Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, North America, and West Africa.
"As a child growing up I saw several people driven out their homes during monsoon rains, and since then I have always wanted serve the humanities" reminisces Waseem Baloch, the Founder and President of the Hidaya Foundation.
The Foundation is currently preparing to send donations to the northern part of Pakistan which is under turmoil as a result of Taliban forces and the ongoing war.
"The crisis began nearly three weeks ago, and the number of families running away from their homes with no shoes, clothes, or necessities is still soaring" said Baloch.
Hidaya foundation is continuing drives in Houston, Austin, Dallas, as well as many places in the Bay Area including Santa Clara and Milpitas.
The collection warehouses open during the weekends and welcome in donations of new or gently used items which include computers, books, journals, medical supplies and equipment, school and office furniture, toys, household items, clothes, shoes, and money for food.
The volunteers then pack the donations into 40 feet high containers, which are then shipped to the affected areas around the world. Allocated teams in the foreign areas then distribute the donations to the directly area of crisis.
"Depending on the crisis, we have anywhere from 40-150 volunteers helping us in the warehouses" said Baloch. Volunteers need to be able to handle at least 15-20 pounds of weight and carry bags around.
The mission of the Foundation is to not only relieve poverty-stricken areas but also educate the masses of illiterate individuals in the area.
Information Technology training courses in computer software and hardware have been initiated by Hidaya to bridge the gap and help spread literacy. The classes are offered in part due to the generous donation of computers and furniture provided by donators.
Hidaya has been serving the economically challenged areas around the world since 1999. The Foundation is registered in Bangladesh and Pakistan as humanitarian groups and looks forward to continue providing its relief efforts.
"Poverty is still on the rise due to international policies of all the nations. Poverty is on rampant increase. Unless the world changes its attitude, poverty is going to continue to increase. In the last 10 years, the effects have grown so high it is so hard to believe" said Baloch.
The economic crisis has done nothing to alleviate poverty as well. "We are expecting at least a 20% decrease in donations compared to previous years due to the financial state" said Baloch.
Milpitas Collection Center
91 Montague Expressway, Milpitas
(408) 244-3282 or (866) 244-3292