OPF geared up to facilitate OPs

1215

Aamir Abbas

OVERSEAS Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) functions for the welfare of
Overseas Pakistanis and their families/dependents in Pakistan, under the administrative control of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development. An independent Board of Governors is the competent forum to approve different welfare schemes in various disciplines.
OPF is providing financial assistance to the families of those Overseas Pakistanis who accidently lose their life or sustain major injuries that render them disabled. Under this death and disability financial assistance scheme, OPF has so far supported families of 11493 OPs, disbursing more than Rs.2.25 Billion.
OPF’s support for Overseas Pakistanis is not limited to its regular activities. Wherever and whenever, Overseas Pakistanis are in trouble, OPF has responded according to the needs of emergency. OPF’s relief activities which ensured full facilitation of affected Overseas Pakistanis in 1990 Gulf War, 1994 Crises and 2015 War in Yemen, 2011 political crises in Libya etc were appreciated at both national and international levels.
In order to assist Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) to have their own house, establishment of dedicated housing schemes for Overseas Pakistanis has been a key focus for OPF. The Foundation has so far successfully completed seven OPF Housing Schemes. Development work at three more housing schemes is in the last phase of completion, whereas another three housing schemes are in the pipeline.
For the educational well-being of children of Overseas Pakistanis, OPF has established a high quality education system comprising of 25 educational institutions (4 colleges, 20 high schools, 1 primary school) throughout the country including Azad Jammu & Kashmir. In addition to formal academic education, ample opportunities are provided to students to polish their creative, artistic and leadership skills. There is first right of admission to the children of Overseas Pakistanis at all OPF Educational Institutions where they can also avail 50% discount in tuition fee.
6. Moreover, OPF is constantly drawing up new strategies, policies and plans for educational reforms in OPF Educational institutions. Originally, conceived to address the issue of shortage of highly qualified subject specialist teachers in OPF Educational Institutions located in remote and underserved areas, the implementation of OPF E-learning Program (online lectures) has ensured that quality of education provided to students of far-flung OPF Educational Institutions is at par with educational standards of OPF Educational Institutions in Islamabad. E-Learning facility has also been extended to OPs in KSA and UAE.
OPF’s efforts for educational well-being of the children of Overseas Pakistanis is not restricted to its own educational institutions. The Foundation has a fully operational scholarship program, Overseas Pakistanis Education Fund, to provide financial assistance to the children of Overseas Pakistanis studying in institutions across the country, from Intermediate to Master level. Since the establishment of OPF Scholarship Program, Rs. 37.48 Million has been disbursed amongst 13,053 children of Overseas Pakistanis.
In line with the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan and under the able guidance of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, OPF has turned into a profit-earning entity and OPF has taken various new initiatives to further facilitate Overseas Pakistanis and their families in Pakistan. The major initiatives taken during the tenure of present government include establishment of NAYA Pakistan Calling Web Portal, at OPF Facilitation Counters at international airports in Pakistan, revamping of OPF’s educational services including launching of OPF’s E-Learning Program, development of OPF Farms Housing Scheme (OPF Greens) at Raiwind Road, Lahore, collaboration with the British Council for overall qualitative improvement in OPF Education System through Faculty Development Program and participation in British Council’s International School Awards program in which six OPF schools have already won awards for their excellent performance.
For professional development of teachers of OPF Educational Institutions, OPF has also signed an MoU with American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence which will provide OPF teachers online access to its resources of modern teaching techniques and pedagogies leading to an internationally recognized teaching certification, Chinese Language Classes started to equip students of OPF Education System with proficiency/credentials in Chinese Language to benefit from future prospects of CPEC, establishment of a degree awarding institute in Islamabad to facilitate children of overseas Pakistanis returning to Pakistan for pursuing affordable higher education in disciplines having high employability rate abroad, Health Insurance of intending emigrants in terms of Health Insaf Card, establishment of an Overseas Pakistanis Desk at Model Police Station,F-6, Islamabad and establishment of Machine Readable Passport (MRP) facility at OPF Head Office, Islamabad to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis.

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