Bishop Michael Oulton (right) with Christian Cultural Association of South Asians Chair and Chief Executive Officer Samuel Laldin. Submitted photo by Mark Hauser

Ontario diocese aids bursary fund for Pakistani orphans

The Kingston-based Anglican Diocese of Ontario has lent its support to a fund set up by the Kingston branch of the Christian Cultural Association of South Asians (CCASA). The fund will provide bursaries for children orphaned by the 2013 church bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The twin suicide bomb attack took place as worshippers left a service at historic All Saints Church on Sept. 22, 2013. Approximately 127 people were killed and 250 injured, according to church authorities and Human Rights Focus Pakistan, an NGO working to promote the rights of the vulnerable, particularly religious minorities and women. As a result of the attack, 41 children were left orphaned.

The CCASA, which has branches in most major Canadian cities, has often set aside emergency funds to help victims of suicide attacks and other catastrophes. But in the wake of the Peshawar church bombing, its Kingston branch decided to focus on helping children who had lost their parents by providing them with education.

With Anglicans comprising a fair share of the Kingston CCASA, chair and chief executive officer Samuel Laldin approached the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael Oulton, who expressed his strong support for the bursary fund and kickstarted the initiative by personally making a $1,000 donation.

“That was the start, actually…We have some money, but we were debating whether to do it or not,” Laldin recalled. “But when I talked to [Bishop Oulton] and he gave me a $1,000 cheque, there was no turning back then.”

Through individual donations, the CCASA was able to exceed its $7,500 target, ultimately raising $10,000 for the bursary fund.

Dubbed the Pakistani Youth Education (PYE) fund, it aims to help to pay for the education of four or five Pakistani students per year at all education levels, from elementary to postsecondary, on an annual basis—with the aim of increasing the number of students over time as the fund grows.

In that regard, the Ontario diocese provided invaluable fiscal assistance as Bishop Oulton offered to place the money raised for PYE in the diocese’s own Consolidated Investment Fund (CIF).

Pooling donations with the millions of dollars the diocese has invested in the CIF allows the bursary fund to realize a much higher rate of return.

“Our rate of return is probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of six per cent, where[as if] you take $10,000 and you invest it in a GIC, you’re lucky to get a part of one per cent,” Bishop Oulton said. “So this allows these funds to grow a lot more quickly than they would otherwise.”

Explaining his support for the bursary program, the bishop pointed to the critical role of education in combating terrorism.

“When people have access to education, they have the ability then to reach out to one another, to try to combat these kinds of activities with a different way of thinking, a different way of approaching the challenges that they face within their society…At whatever point these young people are looking at education, that’s where we want to be there to help them out.”

Further cementing their support for the PYE fund, the diocese of Ontario has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the CCASA.

“For the church, it’s these community partnerships I think are really critical in the future,” Bishop Oulton said. “So it’s great to be able to be part of one of them.”

Donations to the bursary program can be made by sending a cheque to the CCASA in Kingston or the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, writing in the memo line that it is for Pakistani Youth Education.

Mailing addresses are:

Christian Cultural Association of South Asians Office
33 Forsythe Avenue, Suite 1
Kingston, Ontario
K7M 2M1

Anglican Diocese of Ontario
90 Johnson Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 1X7

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