Author: Rana Tassawar Ali, January 6 2013 My night's thoughts often foster in me a regret that I fill my vision with such a small contribution for serving humanity.... The social change agent Tufail Khan spoke with me during my visit in his community; Tufail Khan is living in suburb area of Islamabad [Pakistan], where mostly migrants and internally displaced people are living. This is a marginalized community where only a few people are literate, and Tufail Khan is one of the most popular persons in the community. Tufail Khan is providing his volunteer services for community people and, through different services, he is saving and sustaining innumerable lives in this suburb where people are living without basic facilities like health, education, water and sanitation. The volunteer work of Tufail Khan is outstanding, and, mostly, he relies upon his few resources. The major contribution of Tufail Khan's work for deserving and needy people is that he always promotes and raises awareness about human rights and child protection. Tufail Khan belongs to an economically poor family, but his positive attitude and immediate response in difficult circumstances make the difference in the community.
The local people believe in him and trust in his work, and I have been told that he is a collective voice of community people. The visionary work of this social change agent is purely volunteer-based, and his approach toward community development encourages youth to participate in human rights defender activism. Tufail Khan believes that his community should be a model community where people live with an awareness of their rights. He stated that his wish is that children of this suburb enjoy their full rights through their own involvement in their protection. The work and activism of Tufail Khan is contributing to social change and influencing people’s opinions and behavior such that now they are willing to support their children's education.
This small-scale effort of activism is providing positive impact on community people. According to a humanitarian organization program manager, Tufail Khan is a unique individual, and he is able to understand the nature of emergency. Through his experience dealing with a series of emergencies, he knows the right person for the right job. In any case of emergency, he arranges blood and also donates blood every three month, and he understands how to figure out existing services for saving the life of anyone. During any emergency, whenever someone knocks on the door in the night, he always responds and helps.
In this area, people told me that "we always feel proud and comforted that a good person is living among us, and our children and youth feel happiness to be a friend of Tufail Khan." One community focal person said that help is an important gift, and you cannot expect it from everyone, and people like Tufail Khan are willing to provide help to everyone. Tufail Khan was working in an Islamabad-based NGO [non-governmental organisation] Global Vision project where he learned life skills and human rights defender activism, and, after completing a one year project, he carries on different activities from the project for supporting the same cause. According to his colleague, "While working with us, he believes that he is not doing job; he is working for cause." People like Tufail Khan are social change agents in this suburb where most youth were living with extremist thoughts, but, after some long-term effort, they truly advocate for social change. The vision of Tufail Khan will be fulfilling because he knows that efforts do not die.