I am Sanjesh Dhanja from Karachi, Pakistan. I am currently running an organization called the Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust (PHS) which is based in Karachi. Pakistan Hindu Seva is a non-political, secular, non-profit, non-discriminatory and progressive humanitarian charity organization. PHS strives for the betterment of deprived communities in Pakistan and also provides legal support for different victims affected by human rights violations in all of Sindh. PHS focuses on the rights of women and education of children which are affected to a high extent.
Minorities in Pakistan are not enjoying their full rights, and are facing many problems. Minorities in Pakistan are being treated as second class citizens. To date we, minorities, are not free and are unable to enjoy our rights. As stated by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah; “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan ... You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State".
Some of the major problems Hindus in Pakistan facing are: discrimination within the community, land grabbing, lack of education, lack of health facilities, water shortage, unemployment, low wages, child labor, child marriage, bonded labor, rape cases, forced conversion, the Blasphemy Act and demolition of temples.
I belong to the Hindu community. Being from a minority group in Pakistan and facing discrimination has motivated me to initiate my own organization to work and fight for equal rights.
PHS has been affiliated with Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) since 2012. GHRD has given different trainings on development, communication, strategy planning, advocacy and lobbying. These trainings have empowered me and the employees of PHS. Positive changes are made on documenting, reporting, reaching out to society, conducting fact findings and lobbying for cases.
I learnt to analyse, verify and monitor and follow up the cases which involve human rights violations . I learnt to summarise case files for websites and other publications, to write articles for the website, newsletters and how to improve communication with international organizations. I learned to write strategy plans, advocacy, lobby and legal assistance cases and a fundraising strategy for my organization.
I have learned many skills during my training which includes skills of communication, fundraising, administration and writing.
I have shared my experience as a Pakistani Hindu with the GHRD team. I have informed them of various social and economic issues that the Hindu community face in Pakistani society. I talk about forced conversion, discriminatory laws, bonded labour which are, among others, some of the most urgent human right issues for Hindus in Pakistan.
My goals were to explore my organization and community work through learning at GHRD. It was great to learn from the GHRD team about communication and reporting. I was given tasks for formulating strategic and fundraising planning as I was unknown to all this and I learnt a lot.
It was good time with the GHRD team at Hague. It was nice to be a part of this training where I learned a lot which remains helpful to me and my organization. I would also like to say that I expect GHRD to create further opportunities for my organization as well.
I would like to thank GHRD for inviting me to their Head office in the Hague for this eminent training. I will implement all my learning from GHRD in PHS and continue to use these skills to enhance the effectiveness of PHS.