Sabina Khatri is the Founder and Chairperson of Kiran Foundation, a compassionate non-profit organization that is challenging norms and paradigms in Lyari. By working on holistic wellbeing and growth of marginalized families through education, guidance and consistent long-term counseling of parents along with their children, and by nurturing and empowering the community from within, Sabina Khatri has become a mother-figure for hundreds of people within and outside of Lyari.
Sabina Khatri was a certified Dietician and a Fitness Instructor (Diploma in Nutrition and Fitness from PENN FOSTER; AFAA – Aerobic and Fitness Association of America ; ACE – American Council on Exercise), and ran her private practice for 14 years, where she helped women build a positive body image and self-esteem by dealing with stress and eating disorders. She conducted several workshops, program, and lectures at different schools and colleges. She was always a gifted humanistic counselor, a mentor, and coach to many, but acquired knowledge on Humanistic Integrative Counselling and Therapy from AAS a program from CPPD London, in 2014.
Sabina had always been deeply sensitive to the injustices around her, where the fate of a person is determined by where they are born instead of what they are capable of accomplishing, and where the children of the less privileged do not get to play with the children of the elite: a reality which is often ignored and deemed insignificant in the society. Equipped with a big philanthropic heart and a simple vision of playing their part against this injustice, Sabina and her friends established a Welfare Committee by the name of NEEED (Never-Ending Experiences of Earnest Deeds). She was personally involved in various voluntary activities, such as caring for patients in the Burns Ward at Jinnah Hospital.
Sabina Khatri personifies resilience. Only a tiny fraction of those who endure deep scars at an early age are able to recover fully. Even fewer are able to turn their pain into positivity in a way that lifts others out of darkness. When a case of domestic violence and child abuse reached Sabina in 2004, it resonated with her so deeply that she could not sit aside and do nothing. She could not imagine the pain of another tiny soul losing out on childhood because of the frustrations and brutality of adults. This is when she followed the case all the way to Lyari.
Fearless and headstrong, Sabina Khatri stepped into Lyari at a time when the intolerance and sectarian violence in the community were at an all-time high. With her only superpower being the tenderness and love of a being mother, Sabina understood that if she wanted to create a real difference in the society, she had to educate and empower the mothers of Lyari. As chance would have it, Sabina discovered a Kiran School in Nawabad, which was already being supported by her family. Sabina took charge of Kiran School and established it into a one-of-its-kind preschool for both the mother and child. The concept of teacher- child-mother partnership program was a totally different concept. It was a challenge to bring the mothers to educate themselves. She raised the children and their families in a way that they entered Cambridge schools around the city on merit. This way, Sabina’s dream of bridging the gap between the marginalized and the elite was met. The entire family found an opportunity to make friends and mingle with the privileged society on equal terms through their children’s schooling. Every child was then given a donor.
Eight years after running a successful model of preschool, Sabina registered Kiran Foundation and adopted DCTO Government School. This dilapidated school had failed to provide proper education or even basic literacy to children, and the students with disenfranchised, disengaged and subject to corporal punishments. After the school was adopted, Sabina brought in the Kiran philosophy of Empathy and Compassion and fought countless battles to transform the school into a safe, trauma-informed community space, where the parents are consistently guided and children are given excellent opportunities to flourish.
What started off as a small personal initiative to save a few marginalized children and spread love, a drop in the ocean at that time, gained momentum over the years and has turned into a rising tide. Kiran Foundation has now become a creative hub for progress and ideas, which allows people from all walks of life to come together and learn from each other. The nurturing environment full of love and compassion allows people to share, heal and grow.
A non-conformist and a rebel with a sensitive heart, Sabina Khatri not only shifted mindsets and broke the paradigms of Lyari, but also exceeded all expectations and sense of belief of the elite. Even in the physical spaces she builds, Sabina brings her strong sense of design and aesthetics, giving the same quality of finesse and beauty in the streets and spaces of Lyari, as one would expect in the areas of the elite. Leaving a life of apparent comfort and luxury, she opted for the difficult route of endless trials and constant challenges, but a deep sense of fulfillment of having left an everlasting impact in the lives she touched.
For her exceptional efforts and dedication, Sabina Khatri has received several recognitions and awards. She was one of the six central characters of Ho Yaqeen, a documentary series by Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (SOC Films) that aimed to highlight stories of individuals who have spearheaded efforts for a brighter Pakistan. She also serves as a Member of the board on HANDS, a non-profit organization working under the leadership of Dr. Ghaffar Billo.
She received an outstanding achievement award for quality education by PWF Pakistan in 2017.