Why I am dedicating my time to INARA

INARAimran


By Imran Khan, Al Jazeera English correspondent


I remember that day. The year was 2006, and I was in Pakistan’s northwest reporting for Al Jazeera English on yet another influx of Afghan refugees into the country. There from a distance I saw a child. As the other children played around her, she sat listlessly in the shadows of a tent. She didn't move or show any emotion. It was like the joy of childhood had drained out of from her. I asked my guide, an NGO worker, what had happened. She had been shot by a stray bullet during fighting in her village. 
 
She had survived as the bullet grazed her leg, but for several days she hadn't received any treatment and now moving caused her immense pain. For a few dollars, she could have received basic treatment but with so many refugees that help wasn't available. She had simply fallen through the cracks. With basic treatment, she would have been running around with the other children. Since that day, I have seen hundreds of cases like hers all over the world: child victims of war who don't have any access to help. 


I’m not alone. INARA was formed by CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon who has witnessed many similar cases. She wanted to help. Her passion was infectious and as I saw her project unfold and come to fruition I knew I wanted to get involved. I was anxious however. What could I really offer? I made a few calls to friends who encouraged me to get involved and once they heard about INARA they too promised to help. So today I am pleased to announce that I’m formally taking on the role of pro bono consultant for INARA, dedicating my spare time to this cause. What does that mean? It means I am going to help raise awareness and funds and try and help the children who are victims of war. It means I am going to do all I can to give them a chance to live a good life and to do the things that other children do, and not have to sit in the shadows. Inara means “ray of light” in Arabic. It's a fitting name.