Caravan of Life (CoL)Pakistan Trust is a manifestation of the personal journey of two of five siblings, Shaheen S. Ahmed and Khusro Karamat Elley,a vision that now stands as a center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, under the banner of The Recovery House (TRH).Their motivation to found TRH was and remains to be very personal. The dream that TRH embodies stemmed out of their personal experience of giving care to individuals with mental illnesses in their own family, in a city like Karachi where treatment options were few, community and societal support networks were non-existent; where mental institutions resembled prisons more than hospitals, and where mental illnesses were swept under the rug more often than not. It was born out of the idea that families should no longer have to endure alone the devastating impact that mental illnesses too often exact; and is a consequence of watching their widowed mother care for two children with psychiatric disturbances, which would have been difficult in any society, but all the more in Pakistan.
The Recovery House is also emblematic of their deep-rooted belief that people are not their illnesses. People who have serious mental illness are real people; they are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins and friends. They have all of the same needs that well people have, and having a mental illness does not strip them of the rights the typically developed population is entitled to, and it certainly doesn’t change the fact that they are real people with real feelings. In order to help them in a society such as Pakistan’s, services had to be created that would address all of their human and social needs as well as their clinical needs.
At the time, they had to seek better solutions for their family members, and now, this sibling initiative is the very epitome of what they couldn’t find back then: the passion and drive to be that very solution for families facing similar challenges.
And so with the help of their family, friends,acquaintances, professionals from the mental health fields as well as allied fields, consultants in the United States, Shaheen and Khusro sowed the seeds of what is today known as The Recovery House.
The Recovery House has begun to truly serve individuals living with a mental illness in a way that enables them to rejoin society in a meaningful manner and holds the promise of improving outcomes for families and communities across Pakistan. The founders owe their deepest gratitude to those who contributed to their cause in every possible way. These people have enabled us to change the livesof many individuals and families.
Today, the founders of TRH are active mental health advocates and tireless fundraisers for theTrust. They have overseen the transitioning of their brainchild from a free premises to a rented purpose-renovated psychiatric rehabilitation facility where clients live, share meals, relax and heal through a comprehensive, integratedclinical, rehabilitative and primary care program. They now long to replicate this process by assembling a team of compassionate, competent and empathetic professionals who believe that recovery is possible, who support The Recovery House in its journey, and who are capable of creating and operating comprehensive and holistic programs based on the rehabilitation approach.