KARACHI: International Inner Wheel (IIW) president Oluyemisi Alatise, who is presently visiting Pakistan, met with The Express Tribune at the Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Children (SRSC) in Old Numaish to speak about her trip.
Alatise termed her visit to the city of lights as a ‘beautiful trip,’ elaborating that as a nation, she noticed that Pakistanis were following IIW’s theme for the year, ‘Touch a Heart’, to the core. “I have seen several heart touching projects that Pakistanis are involved in for children, and more so for special children, and it’s very impressive,” she shared.
Back home in Nigeria, Alatise is involved in various projects that help build the shattered lives of street children.
“The fall in the crime rate in Nigeria depends on how the government controls it but as a community, we help out street children to have a home before they even think of becoming criminals,” answers Alatise, diplomatically.
For her, what holds more importance is education for young girls. “I would like to see the trend of young girls getting educated picking up at a worldwide level. Train a woman and you train a nation,” she said, adding that girls, when trained, are more caring since they have maternal instincts.
Alatise believes that mothers give children basic training at home. Educating a male or female child is a remarkable thing to achieve, she claimed.
Soon after assuming the office of president, when Alatise told her family and friends that she had accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan, she was baffled by their responses.
“Who wants to kill themselves and go there [Pakistan]?” asked a loved one but Alatise did not hesitate for a second nor did she let their disbelief stop her from coming to Pakistan.
“I accepted the invitation the moment I received it,” she said confidently. She said people have similar reactions to Nigeria and that Pakistanis should also think of paying a visit.
Praising Pakistan as a nation, she said, “What I saw was very different from what is reported in the news”.
“Pakistanis are very generous people and that was an amazing thing to find out. They are very kind-hearted beings,” she said.
Later, Alatise donated £50 to SRSC to keep providing safe drinking water to children who visit the organisation.
Birth of Inner Wheel
IIW, considered to be the largest women’s service voluntary organisation in the world, was created in 1924 in Manchester, England. It first started its active participation in Pakistan in 1962.
Currently, IIW is present in 103 countries worldwide, with 3,945 clubs spread out across the globe.