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International charity volunteers travel 4,000 miles to help needy during Ramadan

A group of volunteers have travelled almost 4,000 miles to help the needy in Gilgit-Baltistan during the holy month.

More than half a dozen volunteers have travelled almost 4,000 miles during Ramadan to help those in need.

A group of men, led by property developer and philanthropist, Shahid Iqbal, are currently helping people in Gilgit-Baltistan, an autonomous territory administered by Pakistan, which is home to some of the highest mountain ranges in the world.

Mr Iqbal and his team of volunteers, including Anjam Iqbal, Nadeem Iqbal, Rashid Ibrahim, Babar Ahmed, Sikander Hayat, and Aamir Hamzah, left Britain at the beginning of the holy month to embark on an eight-hour flight to Islamabad followed by a 16-hour road journey to the territory to help the needy.

The team are now currently in the Karakorum and Himalayan region of Gilgit-Baltistan where they have donated over 3,00 food packs so far alongside incubators and money to those in need. They are also building orphanages for children in the different towns who are without parents or family to care for them.

The volunteers have distributed over 3,000 food parcels so far.

Mr Iqbal was introduced to the region seven years ago by close friend and former Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for Bradford West, Haroon Rashid, who is the Honorary Ambassador to the region on sports culture and tourism.

During the height of the pandemic, Mr Iqbal and his wife were unable to enter the UK after travelling abroad and decided to spend several months exploring the region of Gilgit-Baltistan for the first time as a couple.

After years of trying for children with no luck, Mr Iqbal and his wife began to see some of the children of the region as their own and started fundraising for help and assistance for families in Gilgit-Baltistan from their friends and family.

Upon their return to the UK, Mrs Shahid fell pregnant and gave birth to their child last month, motivating them to start a fundraising campaign which has raised more than £80,000 for International Humanitarian Relief.

Mr Rashid, who has spoken on behalf of the group in Gilgit-Baltistan, said: “Gilgit-Baltistan is a province of Pakistan that has some of the highest mountain ranges in the world, home to the Himalayan mountain ranges, the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, K2, and Nanga Parbat, one of the most feared mountains in the world.

The team is building orphanages for children without parents or families.

“It is an impoverished area, it is exceedingly difficult for governmental organisations to operate there because of the terrain but people live there, and their main income is tourism.

!Mr Iqbal has gone over there with his team of volunteers, all local boys, who wanted to contribute to the cause, especially during Ramadan.

“The response has been phenomenal, mainly because it is an area that people do know that is hard to get to.

“He is helping provide incubators and hospital equipment. In addition, there are also a lot of children without parents and so they are contributing money to build orphanages.”

Mr Rashid added: “The team are still out there right now; they have been there for over two-and-a-half weeks so far and will be shortly next wee.

“There are some basic facilities out there, but they are in dire need of modern facilities. What we believe, is that children should be given the best. In terms of shopping, why shouldn’t they be given the best goods? Why should they be given second-hand gifts? So, we take them ourselves they can pick what they want.”

The group is set to return in seven days after they have donated the remaining food items, medical equipment and money.

To donate to the fundraiser, please visit here.

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