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Following the visit of Fr. Liam O'Callaghan to the school we decided this
year to raise funds for Pakistan. After we made this decision the country
was hit by a devastating earthquake. Fr. Liam sent us pictures and emails from
Pakistan outlining the destruction in the country. Mrs Boylan organised a
special Chrismas card fund raiser where each pupil made four cards and these
were then sold. Below are examples of some of the cards. Our appeal was very
successful and over €1200 was raised and will be sent to Fr. Liam from the
pupils of Portlaw N.S.
Below is a letter which Fr. Liam sent to the Parish thanking everyone who sent money to him for the victims of the earthquake.
Greetings from Pakistan and hoping this find you all
well and in good health. I want to thank you all for the generous donation of E.
6,755 for the earthquake relief effort which I received recently. The situation
is critical as the snow has already started falling in the higher areas and
supplies are badly needed before the roads become unpassable. On Dec. the 19th
I will travel with a truck load of food rations - rice, flour, cooking oil, tea,
sugar etc. - to Banu Jabar, a village north of Balakot, which was totally
destroyed in the earthquake. Part of your donation has part-paid for this truck.
The Columbans are partners with four other groups in a plan to build 200 houses
in this village before April, the first house is hoped to be built by Christmas.
Because of the severe weather some people have moved
down to cities and towns on the plains to stay with relatives for the winter.
While visiting some of the hospitals here in Lahore I discovered the some of
them are staying in rented accommodation in our parish and while visiting there
actually discovered more families. They are all from Balakot, the biggest city
in the North West Frontier Province and which was totally destroyed. All the
families who arrived have lost family members and some more are injured. We have
taken ten people to hospital for treatment and most are not serious and will in
time be fine. They are all living in over-crowded conditions and in two of the
houses, which are only 3-roomed there are over 30 family members living there.
But at least they will be warm and safe for the winter. We have provided them
with some warm clothes and blankets, help out with the rent and also give
regular food rations, we will continue to give the food rations as long as they
are here, most likely until next May when they all plan to go back and try to
rebuild their lives and their homes. The remainder of your donation I am using
for all this.
One particular heart-breaking case is Mohammed
Akbar’s family, he contacted me asking if I could get treatment for his
sister, Samina, who has a serious back injury. We got her to Lahore and I got
her admitted into an excellent hospital here. She had an operation on her spine
done in Islamabad just after the earthquake but after examination here the
surgeon said it was not done properly and needs to be re-done but cannot be done
for a number of weeks yet because of a terrible bed sore. However, she is
looking much better after only a few days of good care. While talking to
Mohammed Akbar he told me about his family, I was so shocked to hear that he has
lost his wife, daughter, father, father-in-law and four cousins when the roof of
the house fell on top of them. He has three other children who are being cared
for by relations in Islamabad while he is doing so much for his sister. With
your help and your prayers we will do all we can to get Samina as well as
I will finish for now and wish you all a very happy,
peaceful and holy Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas is that the Word
chooses to become flesh in our human reality, which can have so much suffering
and pain at times, bringing gifts of hope, good news, peace and love. My hope
and prayer for you and your loved ones is that you receive these gifts in
Liam O’ Callaghan.