Disclaimer: This article was first published elsewhere and is republished here with recommendation and full permission of the author.
By Mushtaq Rahim
“It is not about sufficient resources, it is all about available resource” is the sentence I heard in Tedx Talk of my younger, Shoaib A. Rahim-I don’t know where he picked it from- and it has been a sentence fascinating me for a while. Yet; seeing words in practice is what makes one believe them. Baaz, a man of weak physique but great ambition, has offered me a chance to see the words in practice.
Baaz Mohammad “Abid” is a poet, a writer, a journalist, a civil society activist, but above all, is a man thinking to help others at a time he himself usually remains between a rock and a hard place for financial survival. Baaz is a Pashto word meaning hawk and the man has chosen to live the vision of a hawk. Considering that many are too worried for their own future, Baaz continues to look for avenues to help others. Called Baaz/Abid Lala (Lala means elder brother in Pashto) by many has not been aiming at changing the world upside down in a fortnight; rather, he is more focused at helping the ultra-poor, the ones struggling for mere survival.
It all started with a request for funding for a few wheel chairs for disabled people. He saw people with special needs struggling to carry the burden of their bodies; put forward a request on his Facebook page to his friends for support; and in no time, financial aid arrived giving the needy people a reason to smile. The helped people informed a few others, and the few other went on to share the news with others, and soon a tiny effort changed into a massive drive of helping people with special needs, a segment fully disowned by Afghan society. So did the financial aid continue to pour in, both from inside and outside Afghanistan.
Baaz continued to make pleas for support, and people offered support. The expansion of number of beneficiaries widened the pool of request for support. The appeal for wheel chairs was doubled by need for medical treatment of local artists struggling to meet their treatment cost and as such Baz Lala was called upon. Financial support to artists meant more people wanted to be served and Abid Lala raised his hand. He is now supporting female schools with stationary at remote rural areas where female education remains to many a taboo.
As is his ambitions, Baaz has taken on a much wider drive of supplying Sheikh Misery area in Jalalabad, center of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, with stuff helping them survive harsh winter. Another Facebook call has been made where he is looking for collecting old dresses, sweaters, socks, no matter how wearied those are. Sheikh Misery is a semi-rural setting where people are struggling for survival in a very impoverished environment. And as usual, people have vested their trust in Abid to help them reach out to the most vulnerable.
The tinny effort of feeble looking strong Baaz has now turned into an organized effort. The Baaz Welfare Foundation has been established. There are many other friends who have joined hands with their Abid Lala and many more have now a chance to reach out to the neediest of the many. As the effort has expanded so has the ambition of the high flying Baaz. He envisions to establish an emergency ambulance service for the public, and much more than that.
Baaz Lala has strong belief in transparency and accountability in a country ranked among top ten corrupt states constantly over the course of last ten years. Every penny, every Afghani received is reported on his Facebook page on regular bases. While many prefer to remain anonymous, every single financial aid package is reported with names of people and their exact geographical locations. The utilization of the funds is also reported with the source of expenditure. Always, Baaz invites people to come and review his financial transactions.
Reaching out to Baaz remains the easiest of communications. He is regularly available on his Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/baaz.abid?fref=ts) and his phone remains on almost always and can be reached at +93-708198512. Communicating with him is fun as he speaks with a tone that can only be associated with Baaz Lala.
As depression, pessimism, worries about future of Afghanistan prevail in Afghan society, Baaz flies above all those. He continues to offer a ray of light amid murky, making the darkness a poetical environment, telling us that slight light can disturb all darkness. Vision of Baaz continues to expand while many others are ready to shrink their space of dreams. May our Baaz continue flying high, explore further and challenge limitations with ever growing ambitions. Baaz believes in changing the world with available resources not with sufficient resources and such people make history. By the way, Baaz has already made one!
Note: This write up is not discussed wit Baaz Mohammad Abid and is based on my personal observation of his actions over the course of last few years.