Nas Khan, managing director of North East-based Jennings Motor Group, is spearheading an appeal to save children’s lives and rebuild a village in flood-stricken Pakistan.
Mr Khan hopes to raise £120,000 to bring hope to the people of Rahim Yar Khan, south of Punjab in Pakistan.
Mr Khan arrived in Britain from Pakistan aged 14 and unable to speak a word of English after his father found work in the Teesside steel mills.
After attending Acklam 6th form college he gained a degree and a job as a car salesman in Stockton.
Now aged 50 he is the Managing Director of Jennings Motor Group which has 8 dealerships and employs 470 people across the North-East.
He said: “the floods in Pakistan are a humanitarian disaster that has already claimed thousands of lives. Far more are now threatened through the spread of disease.
“It is heartbreaking to think that young children are dying for the want of a £3 LifeStraw and I just want to do what I can to try and prevent that happening” said Mr Khan.
“This disaster has caused complete devastation with more than twenty million people injured or currently homeless. Homes and lives have already been lost, but unfortunately the worst is yet to come.
“Our first and foremost priority is to provide immediate and essential aid via the distribution of individual and family water purifying LifeStraws. A small donation of only £3.00 will purchase a personal and portable LifeStraw water purifier, which will last for up to one year. The water purifier destroys and removes 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and prevents common diarrhoea disease – it’s a small price to pay for something that potentially will save someone’s life.
“Our main objective, however, is to contribute on a much greater scale by raising funds towards building a village which will consist of 60 homes, livestock and a deep tube well for clean drinking water, so enabling the village to become self sufficient.”
Nas has seen first hand the devastation natural disasters can cause having visited Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake. His father is currently in the country helping to co-ordinate aid work in the aftermath of the floods.
Nas is taking a hands-on approach to the appeal and will be washing cars at the group’s Ford, Mazda and SEAT dealerships, covering an area from Middlesbrough and Stockton (in Teesside) to Sunderland, Gateshead and South Shields (Tyne and Wear).
He added; “This is a cause very close to my heart and I am determined to reach the fundraising target. The response from staff has been remarkable, everyone is fully supportive of the appeal, which is greatly appreciated.
“The car wash challenge is just the start of a host of fundraising activities which will be taking place in the near future.”
Other events include a charity dinner, which is scheduled to take place in October, a charity bike ride and an Asian Henna night, to name but a few. The public can also donate at any Jennings dealership or through the website. (details below).
Middlesbrough elected Mayor Ray Mallon, has offered immediate support.
“Teesside has close links with Pakistan and it is entirely right that we do something to support people caught up in this terrible catastrophe.
“A lot of people have raised the issue of these floods and have asked how they can help or where they can donate. I’ve known Nas and his family for many years, he’s the ideal man to lead an appeal like this and I’m sure the people of Middlesbrough and the North-East will respond generously.”
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in July following heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan.
It is estimated that over 20,000 people have died and over a million homes have been destroyed since the flooding began, with many more deaths predicted over the coming months.
The United Nations estimates that more than twenty million people are injured or homeless as a result of the flooding, exceeding the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. However, the death count in each of those three disasters was significantly higher than the number of people killed so far in the floods.
At one point, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was underwater due to the flooding.
If vital aid fails to continue reaching the victims of recent flooding, the situation
will rapidly deteriorate. The onset of cholera due to lack of clean drinking water will result in the death toll quickly rising.
In order to prevent a potential epidemic, funds are needed to improve sanitation in order to prevent contaminated drinking water, provide safe drinking water and food provisions, in addition to vaccines being supplied and administered to the people of Pakistan.
Mr Khan is raising money for the appeal though the Emaan Foundation, a registered charity he set up in 2006. The LifeStraw will be distributed via the respected aid organisation Human Appeal International.
If you would like to make a donation, please go to our donation page on this website, or call into any Jennings branch at Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough; Yarm Road, Stockton; Riverside Road, Sunderland; Newcastle Road, South Shields, Eslington Park, Gateshead.