AN AID scheme set up by churches in Bath to help victims of the
2013 bombing of All Saints', Peshawar, has extended its work to
help survivors of the massacre at the Pakistani Army School near by
last December (News, 19
Today, workers from the project Help and Hope were due to make
the first delivery of supplies and offer counselling for
post-traumatic stress to some of the 80 people - mainly children -
wounded in the Taliban attack, in which 141 people died.
The project's work on the ground is led by Qamar Rafiq, a
Pakistani Christian living in Bath who has business links to his
home country. His team have already made seven visits to the All
Saints' survivors, and recently took victims to the capital,
Islamabad, for counselling.
After the school massacre in December, the project's founder,
the Revd Alan Bain, who is Rector of St Philip and St James, Bath,
suggested that the team offer its counselling experience to the
students. "It's a great risk to the team," he said. "It's a war
zone, it's a predominantly Muslim school, and Christians are
vulnerable. But their reply was: 'This is God's mission: we can do
"These children are in critical need of post-traumatic stress
relief for the future so they are in a position to return to
school. . .
"But it's very difficult to do medical work in Pakistan; we have
to tread very carefully. The last thing they want is a Westerner,
because the West is dropping bombs on them from drones, and the
Taliban kill doctors vaccinating against polio. So we are taking
basics like blankets and medical foam mattresses. We are also
delivering fruit juices for all the pupils.
"It's very simple stuff, but it's building relationships. The
amazing thing is that we now have a Christian church going across
the barriers to a Muslim school, sharing what they have learned
from these past months of trauma.
"God has guided us from be- ginning to end, and it's been almost
like riding a wave of faith."
Bath had responded well to his original appeal for £15,000, Mr
Bain said. "It's been like the jar of oil that never runs out: we
take one load, and there's nothing left, and then it fills up
again. It might sound a cliché, but we simply have to trust God. He
seems to be supplying us with what we need to do the job.
"It's not so much bringing aid: it's bringing hope and contact.
It's showing people in a God-forsaken part of the world that,
actually, God is in it, and that he does care. The lesson for us is
that if you set your mind to it, you can do most things."