Emad died on May 18, 2018 and as the father, when I saw his body for the first time in the funeral home in Boston, , it suddenly came to mind that I will do something in his name. At that time, I had no idea what I will do, may to help 1-2 underprivileged children in their education or something of that sort. I kept talking to people in Boston & in Karachi about my intention to do some charity/philanthropic work in Emad’s name & asking others to suggest how to go about it. One day, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Shahzad Dada & his colleague, Mr. Majid A. Khan visited us for condolence. Shahzad is involved in many NGO related charity work & so I shared my intention with him & asked for advice. He suggested that why don’t I start a football academy in Lyari. He said, he will get me connected with someone in Lyari with whom I can work on this project. At first, I was lost as I don’t know anyone in Lyari & even worse that I had never visited Lyari. However, one thing excited me the most – Emad used to tell me that Baba when I am a fully qualified FIFA coach, one day, I will establish a football academy in Lyari for the underprivileged children of the area. Therefore, if I thought if I am able to establish the football academy in Lyari, it would make my Emad extremely happy & will give us the best sense of achievement in transforming our beloved Emad’s dream into reality.
With that spirit in mind, I shared everything with my wife Atia, daughter Shehrbano and my younger son Ahmed who all encouraged me to work on it & assured me that they will work with me on this project. And hence, I moved forward to make this project happen.
I shared my conversation with Shahzad Dada with my friend, Sheikh Humayun Saghir, who is the head of Karachi Electric covering the areas that includes Lyari. Humayun knows all the right people in Lyari & asked me to visit Lyari. In the meantime, Shahzad & Majid introduced to a female social worker from Lyari, Mahira Ahmed Miyanji, who was trying to get a dedicated ground for girls of Lyari to play football. Mahira told me that there are many girls in Lyari who play football but there is no space dedicated for them. She told me that she is working on this project for the last two years but have not been able to do it, even though she has identified a ground in her neighborhood for girls to play football. On June 23, 2018, I went to see Mahira with Humayun & we visited Sarbazi Football Ground in Singo Lane, Lyari. Humayun also called Mr. Habib Hasan who is the Chairman of Union Council 12 which is responsible for the ground. I explained why I am interested in acquiring the ground & my plans to establish a football academy. Mr. Hasan carefully listened to me & in the end, he asked me from where these children come? I said, the children of this neighborhood will be in the academy & play football. He just said, “aap bismillah karein” (please start the work).
From there onwards, we worked on finalizing the plans for the academy with the locals of the area who Mr. Hasan introduced to us and worked on the agreement. Finally, on August 18, 2018, I signed the agreement with the Chairman Union Council 12 (UC-12), Mr. Habib Hasan and the Chairman, District Municipal Corporation (DMC South). Mr. Malik Muhammad Fayyaz, for a ten-year exclusive use of Sarbazi Football Ground. Under the agreement, I will develop the ground & establish Coach Emad Football Academy (CEFA) for boys & girls of the neighborhood.
To work on my initiative in a comprehensive manner and to carry Emad’s legacy forward, we decided to establish Coach Emad Foundation. On December 12, 2018, Securities & Exchange Corporation of Pakistan (SECP) incorporated Coach Emad Foundation as a not for profit organization under section 42 of the Companies Act 2017.
There are three programs Coach Emad Foundation:
Coach Emad Foundation has a registered office and has a Board of Directors comprising of ten directors, including people having experience in charity/social works, experience in running football academy, architecture & from other professional disciplines. I am the Chairman of the Board and my wife & daughter are directors on the Board. . This provides a wide range of expertise to run the Foundation effectively and to share the responsibility efficiently.
We started collecting donations from friends & families and started the development work on the football ground. Finally, on December 9, 2018, we formally inaugurated Coach Emad Football Academy (CEFA) where 200+ boys & 25+ girls are already registered & getting trained in football, completely free of cost. We have also provided football kits & other equipment to these children. As an additional initiative, we also renovated a boxing club adjacent to the ground which was previously used as a drug den. Now, we are acquiring equipment for the club & soon it will be used by the locals of the neighborhood for health & boxing facilities.
As Coach Emad Foundation is a not for profit organization, it is a donation based organization. The success of all three programs depends on the donations received from individuals and corporations and every program will be free of cost for the children & other people to benefit from.
Besides working with DMC South & the Union Council, we are also actively involving parents of the children playing at the football academy, local elders and social workers living the neighborhood. This will create an ownership to effectively implement our initiatives in the neighborhood and there will be a culture of accountability among all of us. We have also made contacts with Rangers and Anti-Narcotics Force and few of their seniors also visited the area and extended their cooperation for CEFA.
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