Microsoft Rekindles Hope at Fountain House

In order to contribute its support to the mental health sector of our society, employees of Microsoft Pakistan volunteered their services at Fountain House Lahore – a unique institution in Asia in the field of mental health.

The employees spent their day interacting with the members of Fountain House who are undergoing rehabilitation treatment.

According to Peps Foundation’s survey of 2008, the estimated number of psychologically disturbed people in Pakistan is more than 14 million. The survey also reveals that there is only four major psychiatric hospitals and 20 such units attached to teaching hospitals, barely enough to serve a growing population.

As part of Microsoft’s global initiative – Employee Volunteer Day in which employees are given a day off with pay to adopt a socially responsible cause- this year a team of 36 employees spent their day with the members of Fountain House. The activities of the day included recreational activities like painting competition, music and sports. Microsoft also upgraded software and hardware for the computer lab at Fountain House.

Kamal Ahmed, Country General Manager, Microsoft Pakistan, who led the team, while expressing his views said,

"We believe that if given the right support and opportunities, these members of our society will bring about a positive change. I hope that our global initiative, undertaken both on a corporate as well as on employee level, will help improve the lives of fellow Pakistanis and specially those who need more care and attention from us.”

While appreciating the support of Microsoft employees, Dr. Syed Imran Murtaza­­, Medical Superintendent, Fountain House said,

“I am thankful to Microsoft for this initiative. I request Microsoft to help us in building our computer lab. This will be a noble gesture and is going to benefit all our members.”

Microsoft, on its part, agreed to build Fountain House’s computer lab.

Since its inception in 1971, Fountain House has rehabilitated over 6500 psychiatric patients. The most laudable part of this institution is its self reliance for funds without any support from the Government or international donor agencies.

Considering the inadequate resources available for the mental health care in Pakistan, it is imperative for both the government and the private sector to contribute their support to establish and sustain similar mental health care centres all over Pakistan and at the same time provide a platform for preparing qualified neuroscientists in Pakistan.

Microsoft executed the novel idea of Employee Volunteer Day for the first time in Pakistan last year when a group of employees decided to spend their time and talent with the children of Gehwara – an orphanage on the outskirts of Rawalpindi. The company has multiple citizenship and corporate social responsibility initiatives running across the country.  The company is also a key partner in setting up computer labs in the government schools of Punjab. It has also contributed over US $ 5.0 million for the flood relief efforts in Pakistan – a fact that has been recognized the US Chamber of Commerce recently.