LUMS Community Comes Together to Support Those in Need Amidst Pandemic
Like much of the world, the COVID-19 lockdown has brought the entire country to a halt. Beneath the quiet calm lies a sense that our country has had to change the way it works and that the usual rules no longer apply. LUMS is no longer buzzing with students, the classrooms are empty and the ‘khokha’ is closed. What still exists though, is the spirit of solidarity and the drive to help each other get through these tough times.
It is this spirit that has been the stimulus for the LUMS COVID-19 Campaign and reflects the true ethos of the University. Every single donation counts and currently, three hundred and ninety-nine donors have come forward with a contribution of PKR 15,355,016. The LUMS COVID-19 Campaign, with a target of PKR 50 million, wishes to support LUMS students and staff members in need and individuals from the community at large who are struggling with food insecurity and health emergencies as a result of the pandemic.
So far, a total of PKR 8,075,000 has been disbursed to 1,821 beneficiaries. Of this amount, LUMS has disbursed PKR 6,675,000 to students, members of LUMS staff, MBM and daily wage earners working at the University. Another PKR 1,400,000 has been disbursed to members of the community at large through Rizq and other student and alumni-led initiatives.
Ration drives funded by this campaign have been running across Pakistan, from small backward areas, like Layyah and Taxila, to major cities like Multan and Lahore among several others. LUMS student and alumni led organisations including the Rizq Trust, Wardah Noor, Muhammad Sarim Raza, the EMBA Class of ‘21, and the LUMS Religious society have actively participated and reached out to people in need especially, the daily wage earners who have lost their jobs due to the lockdown.
One MBM staff member says, “Out of the four bread earners for the family, only two of us are now able to contribute to the household expenditure the house. The other two have lost their jobs due to the lockdown. The money I have received from the COVID-19 Campaign will help me buy ration and feed my children”.
Another beneficiary recounts, “I am a single mother. The current pandemic has left me financially crippled. Living with my parents, I have no one to turn to. I had completely given up hope but as soon as I learnt that I would be provided support by the COVID-19 Campaign, it really made me happy and relieved.”
At LUMS, one out of three students receive significant financial aid, ranging from 30% to 130% of student tuition. In these times of financial crisis, the situation has worsened for these students.
A student from Jhelum explaining his difficulties says, “My father runs a private school in the village that was closed down due to the lockdown. Since March, a considerable number of parents have not paid their children's fees. Moreover, I have lost my job as a tutor too”.
A student from Kasur says, “I am a National Outreach Programme Scholar at LUMS, studying on 120% scholarship. I really need support at this time of distress. We are three brothers, all of whom are studying, and our father is deceased”.
The response to the campaign has been quite encouraging. Alumni, faculty, students, staff and the higher management have been quick to do their part and have responded with their contributions. A notable donation of PKR 10,000,000 has also been made by the Babar Ali Foundation. The most noteworthy thing is that MBM staff members, PDC staff, security guards, cashiers and classroom staff have come forward and contributed PKR 130,600 to the fund to help people in need.
However, this is just the beginning. Through the LUMS COVID-19 Campaign, the University is doing everything within its capacity to provide support to students, staff and the broader community from low-income households struggling to make ends meet. If you want to make a difference during these unprecedented times, join us in helping those who need it the most right now, as the pandemic may take a long time to end affecting millions in its wake. Donate Now to the LUMS COVID-19 Campaign.