In Hamid and Azra’s native country of Pakistan all Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination. Occupations deemed as “dirty” and “shameful” are reserved for Christians, and many believers are victims of bonded labor. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws targeting religious minorities adversely affect Christians- especially those who seek to evangelize. Radical Islamic groups run thousands of madrassas, Islamic education centers where youth are taught and encouraged to persecute religious minorities like Christians.
Oppressed by their own families, and outcasts in their native country because of their Christian faith, Hamid and Azra fled to the United States seeking a better life. They made the north side of the City of Forth Worth their home.
Although they were relieved to have escaped religious persecution, their new lives in the United States were not without struggle. Hamid took a job delivering pizzas, as it was the only work he could find. Each month the couple fought to make their bills, and each month was followed by another month of financial hardship. The family’s troubles deepened when Azra gave birth to twin daughters, as one of the babies had serious health issues. The family was forced to accept public assistance. For a short time -food stamps helped the family to buy baby food and formula, but suddenly in September the family didn’t receive any food stamps.
Fortunately, Azra found Northside Inter-Community Agency (NICA). Since it was established in 1969, NICA has worked tirelessly to serve disadvantaged families in Fort Worth. NICA seeks not only to address the immediate needs of those it serves by providing food, clothing, and other basic needs, but also takes a personalized approach to alleviating the suffering of the impoverished through programs specifically designed to identify and eliminate the root causes of poverty. Although Azra initially requested help with diapers for her infant daughters, when a case manager found that the family was hungry, they were offered food as well, and a case manager will follow up with the family to ensure that they are able to restore their food stamp benefits.
Little has changed for Christians in Pakistan since Hamid and Azra left 3 years ago, Christians continue to be killed for accusations of blasphemy, as well as for their low status in society. Although the road has been bumpy, both Azra and Hamid still believe in the American Dream, they appreciate a country where they are free to openly walk in their faith, and they have great hope for the future. Hamid looks forward to finding a job in appliance repair, and buying a home for his family.
Your continued support provides for those who cannot provide for themselves. It is your compassion, and willingness to help your neighbor that has allowed NICA to provide food for the hungry, to clothe the impoverished, to mentor at-risk youth, and to provide a path out of poverty to those who need a helping hand, and a bright hope for the future. Please continue making the difference in your community, and join NICA’s cause once again by clicking on the donate link below to donate today!