New building for special children
KARACHI – A former penalty-corner specialist in the Dutch National Hockey team, Paul Litjens, inaugurated an extension block of Darul Sukun, an institution for the handicapped children, in Karachi on December 11.
Darul Sukun was established by Sister Gertrude Lemmens, who was affectionately called “mama” by all the inmates, with just a few rooms on the ground floor in 1969.
Paul Litjens, speaking on the occasion, said that in 1998 the Royal Netherlands Hockey Federation, on its 100th anniversary, decided to raise funding for an extension block of Darul Sukun, which, in its small premises, was housing nearly 150 inmates.
Mr Litjin said that the federation nominated him as its representative to look after the project. He came to Darul Sukun in 1998 to prepare a documentary for the Dutch television to introduce the institution there to help raise funds.
He said that a piece of land, located next to the Darul Sukun, was purchased and a beautiful ground-plus-two storey building with spacious rooms, etc was constructed at a total cost of approximately half a million euro.
Earlier, Harry Buitink, a representative of the the Dutch Foundation Stichting Thuisfront Zuster Lemens, which supports the Darul Sukun, said that Sister Gertrude started the institution at an age when usually people retire. He said that she was always sure of God’s help, and was right.
He said that the Dutch hockey teams had been coming to Karachi since long and the hockey players had been visiting Darul Sukun time and again. So on its 100th anniversary, the Royal Hockey Federation decided to raise funds for the Darul Sukun.
Earlier, Sr Ruth Louis of the Darul Sukun, said that over the years the number of inmates increased and the premises got overcrowded. She said that it was the dream of Sr Gertrude, to extend the premises in order to make the children here more comfortable. She said that if Sr Gertrude was alive today she would have been very happy to see the new block.
Oswin Mascarenhas said that he hoped that the guests from Holland had more time to stay to visit various historic sites in the city, which was not as dangerous as the media showed it to be.
A large number of Darul Sukun inmates gave impressive song and dance performances, particularly an inmate, Rubina, danced beautifully on a Balochi folk song, and received prolonged clapping. The event was conducted by Henrittea Lobo.
Soon the inmates will be shifted to the new well-lit building that has big rooms, many bathrooms, a big garden, etc.