Rana Asif Habib
This profile was prepared when Rana Asif Habib was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Rana’s commitment to understanding the challenges street children face and his insights into their lives have helped him create a rescue center in Karachi that also serves as a resource center for the students, citizen organizations (COs), and the media. While Rana is able to mitigate the suffering of street children through the provision of health services, counseling, legal aid, and skill building trainings, he also educates the public about the complexities and challenges of life on the street. For more than three years, his rescue center has provided food and night shelter facilities to an average of fifteen children a day. Rana also created the Initiator Human Development Foundation as a way to share his growing understanding of the challenges street children face with a large alliance of all the civil society organizations engaged in this work. He believes by better understanding the distinctions between ‘street working’ and ‘street sleeping’ children, aid programs will become more effective and the public will become more understanding. Rana’s programs are influenced by the distinct needs of each group of street children as well as his understanding of the cause of this problem. He also works with families and vulnerable communities to address domestic violence (a major ‘push’ factor for runaways), local university students in researching street children, and government agencies, as they together establish more shelters in the country. By using this approach, Rana is able to develop creative, responsive programs with buy-in from both street children and officials.