This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Mushtaq Chhapra: The Peace Hero from Pakistan

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Waleed Tariq:

Peace is a relative concept that cannot be limited to a certain definition. For a realist, peace is merely an absence of war, while many believe that peace is a concept which enriches and nourishes the soul. It is also about hope, imagination and creativity and movement towards a society based on the values of social justice with equal opportunities for everyone in terms of education, healthcare and even distribution of resources.

There are a number of people who have worked in this context. History is full of examples with such peace heroes, and so is the present. In my view, a genuine peace has hero is one who primarily working and essentially advocates and implements peace. He is the one who believes in this country and strives for making something out of nothing. These are individuals who have made major contributions to creating a more peaceful world. Peace heroes provide new role models for young people seeking to build a more just and peaceful world, and they provide a good place to start for anyone who wishes to make a difference in creating a more peaceful world. All in all they work for creating and strengthening the elements of peace in the society.

We shouldn’t be looking for heroes in the skies, our heroes are among us. There is a lot in Pakistan to be happy about and feel proud of. Keeping this in view, my Peace hero from Pakistan is Mushtaq Chhapra who is one such person.

Our Pakistan based journalist Waleed, with Mr. Mushtaq Chhapra, in talks for inputs in this article.

Mushtaq Chhapra is an eminent and revered personality in the business circle of the country’s cosmopolitan center. A philanthropist at heart, he is occupied with many charities in the health sector, food security, art and most importantly education and also serves as the honorary counsel general for the Nepalese Embassy in Karachi. As a businessman, he has manufacturing concerns in Pakistan.

Born on 7th September 1949 in Karachi, Pakistan, Chhapra belonged to a well to do industrious family of the Memon community who had migrated to Pakistan from Gujarat, India during partition. After completing high school, in 1966 he joined his well established family business of textiles. “From a younger age, I became involved in social work, first at local and then at community level and also began working with different welfare organizations. I saw my elders working for the poor and was thus conditioned in such a way that I was inclined towards community service since school age” he says.

It was the year 1985 when Chhapra along with a few dedicated individuals formed his first large scale welfare organization in the field of healthcare popularly known as The Kidney Centre. It was once merely a dream at that time and today by the Grace of God and the help of generous individuals and corporations, the Kidney Centre continues to grow and fulfill that dream. The Kidney Centre is one of the largest up-to-date medical facilities providing wide-ranging, quality renal care to thousands of poor patients — either entirely free or largely subsidized.

The Kidney Centre initiated as a small dialysis unit with just two machines, is now a hundred beds, specialist institution providing complete care for nephro-urological diseases. It also serves as an outstanding teaching, research and lifelong educational institution for nephrology, urology and associated fields. This has all been because of his dedication and commitment towards Peace.

Chhapra also the heads the Jinnah patients Aid Foundation and is serving as the Chairman of its executive committee.
Seventeen years back, the degenerating structure of the Jinnah hospital came to the notice of a group of friends who acknowledged the rich history of the hospital and the value of its capacity in Pakistan. Although the hospital provided patients with basic free medical attention, the decayed wards and deficient equipment made visits to the hospital agonizing.

From this anxiety sprung the vision of Patients Aid Foundation. Maintaining a strictly non-political stance, Chhapra launched an independent drive to raise funds, to reconstruct dilapidated buildings and reinstate crucial medical equipment. Having effectively completed seven massive projects, the Patients Aid Foundation has been successful in establishing a determined reputation and hopes to provide a committed structure to the largest government hospital un Karachi, aiming towards restore and revamp wards and medical equipment.

Moreover, in 1995, when things were going from bad to worse in the country, with kidnappings and intolerance on the rise and the law and order situation deteriorating, Chhapra decided to explore more areas of development as he was concerned about his country. After authentic research, he found out majority of the problems that Pakistan was facing were due to the dismal state of education in Pakistan. “Education is the solution to the many ills prevalent in the society – from lack of basic knowledge about hygiene to developing more sense of tolerance” he said. In order to improve the system, he along with other like-minded people opted to set up a school for those who could not afford quality education which is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of formal education. This organization is known as TCF – The Citizens Foundation. He is the founding committee member and the current Chairman of this organization.

From the first six schools in 1996 in Karachi only, as of 2010, it has progressed to establish more than six hundred purpose-built school units nationwide with an enrollment of ninety-two thousand students.

TCF makes no discrimination in terms of ethnicity or religion and enrolls students on a first-come-first-served basis. It also has a committed Teacher Training Center in Karachi for the ongoing training of its faculty and provides logistical support to its entire faculty; creating more than seven thousand jobs have been created in communities in which it operates.

TCF’s vision is to remove the class barriers and to make the citizens of Pakistan, agents of positive change. It believes that access to primary education is the right of each and every individual and not an opportunity. Apart from following the regular syllabus, it also focuses on the character building of students and equips them with high moral values and self-confidence.

Also in the recent floods, the Citizens Foundation immensely contributed to the Flood Relief efforts with successfully distributing twenty million meals to the affectees before Eid in twenty five cities of Pakistan with nationwide and overseas support. When asked why TCF opted to support the flood victims, he said “It was a natural reaction as many of our schools were flooded. We had the resources and the manpower therefore we stood up for our fellow brothers and sisters”.

Mushtaq Chhapra has tremendously worked to maintain peace in the society. His vision is to create Pakistan as a modern welfare state, which provides a safety net for the poor and needy while providing basic health and education and promote peace throughout the country. He feels this as the only way to tackle Pakistan’s many social problems and hopes that one day; Pakistan will be a model for other developing countries. He advises the youth of today to serve their country well, to focus on their education and to be willing to learn from their seniors/ peers for a prosperous for themselves and the coming generations of this country.

You must be to comment.
  1. Shraddha Sankhe


  2. Soumit Saha27

    Wow great work guys.. Hat’s off to Sir.. so happy to see that such people are there across the border helping thier own..

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Ayeshna Kalyan

By Md Sohel

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below