Carrying The Torch

  • Publish Date: Jul 8 2018 9:56PM
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  • Updated Date: Jul 8 2018 9:56PM
Carrying The Torch

Qurat Masoodi is fighting for the rights of Kashmir’s orphaned children


Qurat Masoodi, 29, always wanted to work for the welfare of orphans in the valley. Now she’s living her wish. But even though she has been a social worker for nearly a decade, she considers herself a “beginner”.

Qurat runs the voluntary organisation Aash, or hope, which she started in 2010. Aash works with other NGOs and raises money for the orphans. “As I started working with orphanages, I saw the owner of one orphanage ruthlessly beating the kids,” she says explaining what motivated her to start Aash. She was instrumental in shutting down the orphanage, which she claims had a poor infrastructure and where child abuse was rife. But such orphanages are far from an exception. 

Indeed, a survey conducted recently by Aash found high prevalence of psychiatric and emotional disorders among Kashmir’s orphans, including separation anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, panic, conduct and generalised anxiety disorders, and dysthymia. The study attributed this to orphanages not providing adequate psychosocial support to the children. 

Qurat says the problem with people running orphanages in Kashmir is that they think providing food and shelter is enough. “We lack the basic character-building initiatives in orphanages here. These orphans need psychological support more than food and shelter,” she says.

She hopes more people will come forward to help her fight for the rights of the valley’s orphaned children. “I am doing whatever I can do with my limited resources,” she says. “I hope more people will come forward to help these kids who deserve a better life.”