ROBINA INAM KHAN
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By AZAM ALI
Aug 23 - 29, 2004
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MRS. ROBINA INAM KHAN is running a unique institution of its kind under the title of Karachi Vocational Training Center (KVTC) in Defense Housing Society for the cure and training of mentally handicapped children which has cured and trained many mentally retarded and handicap kids of various class of society. As many as 12 mentally retarded children after getting cured and occupational training got married and are now parents of healthy kids. Robina Inam was born in Hyderabad in 1956, she went Aden when she was only three years old. She returned here when she was 13 and got basic academic education from Karachi. She got nine-year Industrial Training in UK followed by practical work experience in field. She joined many Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Karachi on voluntarily basis. Finally she founded KVTC for the citizens of Karachi in 1991 with the help of a small group of psychologists and philanthropists and only just over a decade her institution became leading institution for the cure, education and training center for the mentally handicapped youths and adults in Karachi.

PAGE: Would you like to share the reasons of selecting to establish an institution for mentally handicapped children?

ROBINA INAM: when I was 12 or so I started thinking just opposite from other people when I saw few mentally retarded people. I also saw my cousin who was mentally retarded and people used to ask her to pray (Dua) for their domestic crisis. So these people remained a central point in my mind. The question that "why they were different from other normal people?" Dozens of questions used to rise daily in my mind but I seldom asked to anyone. With the passage of time and getting education, I reached on the conclusion that mentally retarded children need our help and we ought to do something for them. Luckily I married to a psychologist Dr. Inam-ur-Rahman Khan and I started learning handle mentally retarded kids. So in 1990, KVTC came on papers and in 1991 a small center was established in DHA.

PAGE: Why did you select a posh locality for KVTC like Defense Housing Society?

ROBINA INAM: Simply because of the fact that, in high society a mentally retarded kid is treated as a burden and parents want to get rid of him or her and provide every facility to their normal children. But in middle class and lower class society a mentally retarded child is not neglected such a way. I have seen that middle and lower class society feel a religious obligation to sacrify their happiness and time for them. This is the reason that now KVTC has a hostel where students "special children" are kept and 98 percent of them belong to high society. At present 1500 students are on waiting list due to limited capacity in the KVTC and its hostel.

 

 

PAGE: Apart from your husband and three children who else helped you in your mission?

ROBINA INAM: There are many people. But without Karachi-based Industrialists and Defense Housing Authority (DHA) my dream could never become a reality. I don't thank them because I can not thank them. Almighty Allah will give them reward for what they have done for mentally retarded children. There is a long list of friends of KVTC and that is very long. But my mission is even longer.

PAGE: What is your mission and goal?

ROBINA INAM: I don't know whether it is going to be completed in my life or not but I want to establish a countrywide network of KVTC, which has centers with hostels in every city of Pakistan. I want to set up training centers for teachers for handling of mentally retarded children. There are many women and men who want to work for mentally retarded children but they need training for that purpose. I want to set up a system countrywide where mentally retarded children could be cured and made valuable elements of the society. I wish I were sufficient to complete the remaining huge program of my mission.

PAGE: Your own children are not neglected as you have devoted your life for mentally retarded children?

ROBINA INAM: No not at all, they also help me in my mission, they give their lot of time and they respect my mission. Am lucky that Almighty Allah has given me such nice two sons and a daughter and above all am lucky that am married to Dr. Inam-ur-Rahman Khan who apart from a very, very good psychologist is a nice husband.

 

 

PAGE: We have learnt that you have devoted yourself to the mentally retarded children that you stay home even when you had fracture in your shin and when your were suffering from severe health crisis.

ROBINA INAM: Yes, but KVTC is part of my home it does not give me such feelings that usually work places give to others. On the contrary, whenever I am not feeling well I came in KVTC and spend time with students and that give me relaxation. My house was very far from the KVTC. But now on my pressure and demand Dr. Inam has managed to get a house near center and now I can see KVTC from my house.