Tariq is the eldest son of a family who has survived conflict and upheaval to be here today, making ends meet in a city far from their home. Hailing from Swat Valley, the family lost all that they knew in 2008, when terrorist attacks laid the region to waste and claimed the life of Tariq's father. Since then Tariq has been responsible for his mother and siblings. He is only 16 years old.

Before Swat Valley became a hotbed of terror, Tariq's father, Kareem, used to work as a woodcutter in the forest near their home. His small income was enough to feed his family, and his children were even attending their village school. But all of that changed overnight. Despite the growing danger, Kareem risked his life to continue working. He had no choice. When Kareem eventually fell victim to an attack, which claimed many lives, his family knew they could not continue living in Swat Valley.

Some months after the devastating loss of her husband, Kareem’s wife gathered her four children and moved to Muzaffarabad. She and her eldest, Tariq, strived to make ends meet in a strange new place. Despite his talents and desire to learn, Tariq had no way of going back to school. His family lived in a shanty too small for them. His siblings went to sleep hungry most nights. His mother couldn’t afford to send him to school.

At the time, Tariq could never have imagined he’d get so much more than an education. That he’d get a roof over his head, routine meals, clothing, and an opportunity to gain skills that would help him give his family a better future. It was at his local masjid, where Tariq attended regular prayers, that he found out about AMWT’s Hafiz Sponsorship Programme. That day he ran home to tell his mother, and she lost no time in applying for him.

Now, Tariq is studying to be a Hafiz at AMWT’s orphan home and school, in Muzaffarabad. “My family is very poor.” He says. “It would have been impossible for me to do receive a Hifz education. I am sincerely grateful to Al Mustafa Welfare Trust and the generous donor who has supported me to take up my Qur’an studies.”

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