By Amy Penn
11/21/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In 2014, Tahir and his family had to flee their home in Punjab, Pakistan after his two daughters were forcefully converted at their school. Every morning, the teacher would ask the girls to sing an Islamic song to open the school day. One day, an imam witnessed the singing, declared that the girls had converted to Islam, and threatened to take the girls away from their Christian parents to be raised in a Muslim family. After the frightening experience, Tahir moved his family for protection, but the move came at a great cost.
After moving, Tahir and his family lost their jobs and have been unable to find work in their new home. Surviving without work has proven painful and difficult. International Christian Concern (ICC) first began working with Tahir’s family in 2015 to help provide educational assistance for his children. When Christian families lose their jobs and endure financial difficulties, education is often the first thing sacrificed in order to provide day-to-day necessities. However, the lack of education creates long-term disadvantages for these children because they would not have the training necessary to make them competitive for well-paying jobs in the future.
While ICC’s initial assistance kept Tahir’s children in school, Tahir still couldn’t find work. ICC recognized that a small business would give Tahir the ability to provide for his family’s needs, including shelter, food, and education.
Examining Tahir’s skill-set helped ICC discover that Tahir already possessed a basic understanding of vehicles and motorcycles, so a small motorcycle spare parts business would prove sustainable and financially lucrative in an area abounding in transportation businesses and personal motorcycles.
Such assistance has provided both physical and spiritual relief. Tahir’s daughter told ICC, “Continuously, I am experiencing extraordinary help by ICC towards myself and my family. My father was tense since we landed here in Lahore years back, however ICC is with us like a protecting angel.”
Nabila, Tahir’s wife, recognized that she and her family have “never experienced such wonderful charity work by any organization [and] it is an extraordinary experience in [our] life.”
Tahir has “lost everything, even hope.” He said that he had “no money and no one to help me in my difficulties, however…ICC is…assisting me and taking care of my entire family with food aid, schooling, and now arranging a small business of motorbike spare parts.”
ICC understands that one assistance project may not be enough to help persecuted Christians like Tahir, so revisiting and maintaining relationships is a crucial component of ICC’s work. Continue to pray for the safety and well-being of Christians like Tahir. Pray that Tahir’s business would thrive so that he can use the business to employ other Christians who have experienced persecution.