White House honours 2 Pakistani sisters for humanitarian work

* Naila and Yasmeen have been providing medicine, food, jobs to low-income individuals
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Two Pakistani sisters, Naila Alam and Yasmeen Durrani, have won a humanitarian award for Express Care – a service they run – from the White House for their work in assisting those in need of health care and helping them find jobs.

They received the Honour of Hope Award on June 26 under the White House’s Faith and Community Based Initiative (FCBI) at the White House National Conference of Faith and Community Based Initiative. President George W Bush was present, as were some members of his cabinet, besides more than 1,500 public and private sector leaders.

In 2007, Express Care received the Champion of Compassion Award from the White House Faith and Community Based Initiative (FCBI) through the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board. The programme was a success as the participants who enrolled in the Express Care Personal Care Assistant Training were empowered to become self-sufficient. After they got certified as Personal Care Assistants, they were placed into jobs.

Until now, through the auspices of Express Care, 119 students have received graduation certificates from the Department of Medical Assistance Services. They are already working in the field of health care. The two sisters’ work and service to the community have also won awards from three mayors of Herndon, Virginia, where they are based. They have also won awards from the National Association of Muslim Women and the Council of American Islamic Relations, as well as the Herndon Rotary Club.

Sisters’ work: The founder and chief of Express Care, Naila Alam, who is the survivor of a life-threatening blood disorder, established her non-profit organisation in 2003 and was later joined by Yasmeen Durrani. They have been helping those in need of medicine, food, doctor’s appointments, training and jobs. They also teach health awareness through seminars and workshops. Express Care trains low-income individuals and finds them work. Recently, it also added computer-training classes taught by teachers who speak different languages.

Source: Daily Times, 5/7/2008

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