Sewing Institute and Clinic
The Clara Foundation began as a dream of the family of Salt Lake City, UT residents Rev. Inayat and Miriam Akhtar. While visiting family in Pakistan they noticed that there were very few educational and vocational opportunities for women and girls in the rural Christian village from which they came. Girls frequently married older men and were widowed at a young age with limited financial means. But the Akhtars felt that if girls could receive training in sewing they would be better equipped to support themselves and their families. They were able to find a sewing instructor and set-up a small program in 2005 in a village home to train a few girls. The following year the Akhtars purchased a small parcel of land on the outskirts of the village that they envisioned as the location for an educational campus in the future.
In 2007 a generous donor through First United Methodist Church in Salt Lake City made it possible to begin construction on a multi-room facility. Rev. Akhtar traveled to Pakistan and personally supervised construction and in 2008 the Clara Foundation (named after Rev. Akhtar’s aunt Clara Mall, a Pakistan-trained nurse living in Utah) celebrated its grand opening.
The Clara Foundation is currently educating both Christian and Muslim girls and women. Local support has been good and village leaders are excited at the prospect of expanding the programs of the school. The Clara Foundation envisions expanding its educational programs beyond sewing to other vocational areas. Boys could also be educated in the evenings separate from the girls in keeping with local customs. And in 2009 an addition was built under the supervision of nurse Clara Mall which will someday house a permanent medical clinic to fill a need for basic, affordable health care in the village.
The Clara Foundation is a non-profit school that relies on the support of volunteers and donors for operation. If you feel moved to support our efforts in Pakistan you may make a tax-deductable monetary donation through our primary supporting congregation, First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City, UT. Be assured that 100% of your donation will go directly to the school and clinic since all administrative work is donated. Please make out checks to:
First United Methodist Church
attn: Clara Foundation
203 S. 200 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
If you have any questions please contact Rev. Inayat and Miriam Akhtar at 801 364-1298.