First a Failure
The VHI committee had hoped to work with a Pakistani Christian failed asylum seeker couple who on their return to Pakistan wanted to aid some of the impoverished residents in a nearby village. Unfortunately, our partnership with them failed, because although the couple worked hard at the project, they could not engender trust in the community here in Australia.
Faraz was the answer to our prayers
On 3 October 2019 Christine accepted a Facebook friend request from Faraz, who she learned was from Pakistan. Faraz was a Catholic university student, and musician who led his church choir. He also tutored part time and from his limited resources supported some orphans.
He said the orphans lived at Fatima Boys Hostel, which was part of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Parish, in Gojra.
Although he didn’t know how he would pay for it, the Parish priest in Gojra, Father Simon Khurshid, put his trust in God and with Faraz’s strong encouragement re-opened the hostel in September 2019. The Hostel had operated for many years but closed after the catastrophic Gojra riots of 2009.
We learn about the Fatima Boys Hostel
Father Simon sent us some photos and spoke to us of his work with the orphans. He also sent us a detailed breakdown of the service the hostel provided and the costs for food, clothing, and school fees if we should decide to support them.
We could see that Father Simon provided the boys with the warmth and nourishment of a family home, and opportunities for them to play sport and have fun. Importantly they also attended the nearby Catholic School, St Alberts.
Father Simon had a solidly based structure and plans which were purely for the welfare of the hostel boys. The VHI committee voted to support the Fatima Boys Hostel.
The boys had a cosy home at the hostel but from time to time had to contend with their sad pasts.
“The younger ones are very challenging. Sometimes they cry at night that they want to go to their mother, but they are not mature enough to be told that their mother is no more”.
Farewell to the Fatima Boys Hostel
The hostel boys touched our hearts in so many ways, like sending us messages on Mother’s Day and kneeling to pray for the human and animal loss in the devastating Australian bush fires of 2019-2020
We continued to care for the boys until October 2021 when Father Simon was moved to St Dominic’s Parish in Faisalabad, and the bishop found another organisation to run the hostel. We decided to support Father Simon’s new venture in Faisalabad where he wanted to fulfil his dream of creating a school for the children of brick kiln and sanitary workers, who were unable to afford schooling for their children.