Pakistan’s cricketing legend Shahid Afridi is back in Australia for what he fondly calls his “second innings” – to drum up support for the charity he started in 2014.
“With more fame comes more responsibility as well, I think anyway. I want to use my popularity to make a difference” says Mr Afridi who heads the Shahid Afridi Foundation that has chalked up some incredible runs on the board essentially in the areas of health, education, clean drinking water and emergency relief in Pakistan.
30,000 households helped with Flood Relief, 553 houses built, 1,252,000 people served with drinking water over 150 villages, 251,600 patients treated in hospitals, 166,982 people given food… the stats were proudly displayed on the media wall at the Foundation’s recent Media Meet in Sydney.
“In addition to all that the Shahid Afridi Foundation has been working to establish 16 schools throughout the country in Pakistan and there are over 5,000 students who study in those schools,” said Syed Atif Faheem, Australian Chapter Head and a prominent member of the local Pakistani community.
“In these schools we provide complete education, uniforms, shoes and all the associated materials that they need for their study.”
Mr Afridi noted that while most of the charities in Pakistan are doing great things, they are working in places that can easily be accessed.
“But we are working in remote places where there is much poverty and therefore much need, not easy to reach, some even with security issues,” he said.
In fact t was in a remote part of the country that Mr Afridi chose to build his first hospital in his dad’s name when he lost him in 2012.
The cricketing great was soon joined by international squash hero Jahangir Khan who is also here for the ‘Night With Stars’ tour to raise funds and awareness for the Foundation’s good works.
“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity,” Mr Khan has said of his involvement as a Foundation trustee.
The Sydney dinner event ‘Night With Stars’ will be held at Allianz Stadium at 7pm tomorrow (Tuesday 2nd January) and a few tickets are still available online at https://events.humanitix.com/night-with-stars-sydney
“The Pakistani community here has already been very generous and we hope to raise significant funds with this event where the two legends will be joined by other members of the touring Pakistan cricket team”, Mr Faheem said.
Meanwhile with his Foundation registered in several countries and with the same unstoppable optimism and doggedness he showed on the field (that got him the nickname Boom Boom), Afridi is now going about steadfastly transforming the lives of the underprivileged. The tag line of his new avataar: “Hope – not out” (always said with an infectious broad grin)!
– Brian Laul