Dr Faisal Ikram says that Pakistan Association Dubai's next target is to build an affordable community school in Dubai. Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/GulfNews

Dubai: After the successful launching of its first not-for-profit medical centre in 2020, Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) now pledges to build its first affordable quality school for the community in Dubai.

“We are working closely with the Community Development Authority [CDA] in Dubai, which has agreed to give us land to build a community school to provide quality education at low cost,” Dr Faisal Ikram, President of Pakistan Association in Dubai, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected board of directors of PAD held on Friday at the association.

Meeting demand

He said students with financial constraints from all communities in the UAE would be welcomed in the school. “The school will be built with the help of the community members and will offer quality education at affordable cost to students,” he added, noting that low-cost community schools are “urgently needed” in Dubai for the less privileged students from different communities.

The number of Pakistani curriculum schools is too low to accommodate the fast growing number of students in the UAE. The UAE is home to more than 1.6 million Pakistani expats who need some more schools with affordable fees.

“We have successfully delivered the not-for-profit medical centre which was built at the cost of Dh20 million with the help of the Pakistani community and philanthropists from other communities. Now, building a school is our next challenge and I am determined to achieve this with the help of my team and the community,” added Dr Irkam.

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Vision 2029

“We have achieved huge milestones in the recent years making the PAD as the largest community centre for overseas Pakistanis in the world. We also launched our vision 2029, which we set in 2019 for the next 10 years. It focuses on women and youth empowerment, a green path, a smart path and two areas where we will be working very close to the community is education and health,” he said.

Pakistan flood relief

Pakistan Association is also playing a vital role in providing relief goods for the flood-hit people in Pakistan. “Our campaign triggered enormous response and has got support from all nationalities. We’ve had individuals, we’ve had corporates, we’ve had almost close to 400 volunteers come forward to contribute to this effort,” he noted.

The PAD has so far sent up 12 containers of dry rations, tents, blankets, and hygiene kits. It has its teams working on the ground in the flood-hit areas in collaboration with charity organisation including Akhowat, Al Khidmat Trust, and the Indus hospital in Pakistan. “Our next target is rehabilitation of the flood victims,” he said.

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Newly elected Board of Directors of Pakistan Association Dubai for the year 2022-2024 during the oath taking ceremony on Friday

New board

The new Board of Directors of PAD for the 2022-2024 term comprises of some old and new members led by Dr Faisel Ikram who has been re-elected as President for the third time. “Our former board of dedicated individuals oversaw some of our most monumental achievements during their tenure”, Dr Ikram said during at the ceremony.

He added: “The previous PAD leadership has facilitated the steady progress of our organisation through meticulous planning to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and the subsequent return to normality, leaving behind a benchmark to follow.

“With diverse professional backgrounds from marketing and finance to health care, the new PAD office bearers bring esteemed skill sets to our leadership. They have vowed to work for the long-term sustainable development of the organisation, especially focusing in areas of education and health care.”

Dr Ikram continued: “The ultimate mission of the new leadership remains to uphold our values of compassion, diversity and tolerance while empowering the Pakistani community in areas of physical, financial and social wellness.

“Our newly elected Board of Directors will join forces to promote women and youth development programs, engage students and academics for research and development, digitalise services at PAD, and adopt green policies to reduce our carbon footprint.”

New Board

Dr Faisel Ikram — President

Zahid Hasan — General-Secretary

Dr Shahid Zaman — Vice President

Muhsin Al Banna — Board Member

Mr. Khalid Imtiaz — Board Member

Mariam Mumtaz — Board Member

Sumera Talha — Board Member

Dr Tariq Saeed Khan — Board Member

Muhammad Salah Uddin — Board Member