Pakistani heads one of top five UK charities employing thousands

London: Javed Khan, Chief Executive of the UK’s oldest and largest national children’s charity Barnardo’s, has said that his success is due to the love, affection and protection of his Pakistani parents, yet neither could read nor write.

Javed Khan runs Barnardo’s charity which runs 1033 services in local communities across the UK, including support for children who have been sexually exploited, young people leaving the care system, children with a parent in prison and families struggling to cope and those who fall prey to sex predators. The UK has 167,000 registered charities and Barnardo’s is amongst the top 5 charities. He leads a staff team of over 8,500, with 22,000 volunteers too and charity’s retail chain of over 700 shops. As a British Pakistani, he is the first non-white CEO in Barnardo’s 151 year history.

In an exclusive interview with The News, Javed Khan shared how through hard work he made it to the top and credited his parents for providing him with love, affection and protection.

“My parents migrated from the village of Haveli Baghaal (Dadyal) in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, to Britain in the 1950s. We are a Rajpoot family. My father was a foot soldier for the British army for fourteen years, and neither of my parents could read or write. I was born in High Wycombe and then grew up in the backstreets of inner city Birmingham. Through my 12 years of schooling my parents never attended the parent-teacher meetings because they couldn’t understand a word of English and there was no point. They worked round the clock to enable us to get education and provided love in every possible way and stressed that getting an education was a musts. I obtained a Mathematics degree and started as a teacher in the West Midlands, then made rapid progress through the education sector holding posts of Head of Mathematics, Assistant Principal and then Director of Development in a large further education college,” he shared.

After Assistant Director of Education in Birmingham City Council, in December 2003 Javed joined London’s Harrow Council, as Director of Education, making history as the UK’s first British Pakistani in such a post. By 2006 Harrow had been recognised as the 4th best achieving local education authority in the country. In 2007 he took on the role of Harrow’s Director of Community and Cultural Services, and led the department from ‘poor’ to a ‘good’ external inspection outcome.

Until four years ago Javed was the CEO of Victim Support, one of the leading charities in Britain, that helps over a million victims every year and has 600 sites across England and Wales.

“I was head-hunted to lead this charity and I thought this was the peak of my career. Four years later head-hunters approached me again about Barnardo’s looking for a CEO. I applied and became CEO of this great charity. We provide every kind of support to children of disadvantaged backgrounds. Last year we helped transform the lives of more than 272,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people and their families. Many more were helped by campaigning to change policy and public opinion. The work is continuing and growing, and the challenges are really huge,” said Javed.

He now controls of a budget of over £300 million for the charity which is raised annually through various means. “We get funding from local government, central government through the Home Office, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice- which totals about £200million.

We then raise over £100 million through our shops and fundraising donation campaigns. A few days back, Javed Khan invited Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to the Dorchester Hotel for a benefit concert and gala dinner which was attended by over 350 successful British Asian businessmen. “We decided to invite Ustad Rahat because he is popular across all communities because of his singing for Bollywood and the Qawaali music. It was a great collaboration of Indians, Pakistanis and others who support our charitable work and donated to us generously because we have made them aware of the problems that exist in our communities. Our event was completely sold out, raised a lot of money, and people loved Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s performance. We plan to repeat the vent in future years.”

Javed Khan said that there’s a perception in the world that no problems exist in the UK, but that not the case. He said that over 4 million children live in poverty in the UK and they are in dire need of help. He said that British Pakistani and Muslim communities have just as any problems as any other community. He lamented that community leaders, mosque imams and many parents need to confront these real challenges. He said that many in the Pakistani community don’t accept that their children have health issues at the time of birth or due to genetical reasons and the issues come to light only when its late or when children go to school, so their children go unsupported. He said issues of sexual exploitation and street-grooming, drugs trade and trafficking are challenges across this country, and the British Pakistani community needs to wake up to these challenges too.

He said, “It’s time to raise these issues in the community to find a solution to these problems. Denial is not the way forward.”

Courtesy: The News

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