Punjab’s Middle Class Give Away Rs 133 Billion Annually to Charity

A report from Lahore recently found that people belonging to the middle class donate about Rs. 113 billion as charity annually in Punjab.

Mueen Afzal, former secretary of Pakistan Ministry of Finance, stated this while sharing with the public a study on individual philanthropy. The study had been conducted by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) on the charity trends in what is regarded as the richest province of the country, at Lahore Press Club on Saturday.

Punjab has had the highest amount of monetary donations in the country, Mueen Afzal stated from the study, with about Rs. 39.3 billion were given in the form of zakat. Other than that, the province also has Rs. 23.1 billion as in-kind donations (in the form of gifts instead of money) and Rs. 18.4 billion as in-time donations.

While some of this is given to mosques and madrassahs, the major recipients of these donations are given to random individuals such as disabled people and beggars, or even just servants that are working in homes.

Mueen Afzal further said that the “giving” trend had to be channeled in a more efficient way so as to help those actually vulnerable and in the best way possible. The study revealed that most of the charity is in the form of cash donations and volunteerism through volunteer groups that student and young adults participate in.

Furthermore, the study has also revealed the role of philanthropy and how important it is to understand people’s spending patterns and whether or not they choose to serve and benefit others more or themselves. The province’s charitable behaviour means that it is has the potential to take on the social problems that it is facing and hopefully be able to create a better society.

Approximately 39 percent of Pakistanis live in varying levels of poverty, with the proportion being as much as six times higher for the rural population as compared to the urban population. Moeen Afzal said that “philanthropy offers enormous opportunities to supplement state-run social programmes to reach out to the poor to address local needs and poverty issues.”

This kind of giving is prevalent in the rest of country, too, and if it is done through the right channels, this could alleviate at least short-term sufferings of the poor while also helping government-run social benefit programmes.

via The News