Dar ul Sukun initiated as a care home for children with disabilities who were abandoned by their families. A Dutch nun, Sr. Gertrude Lemmens, laid the foundations of Dar ul Sukun on February 17, 1969. Visiting Pakistan in her young days, she was deeply moved by the plight of children with disabilities who were found deserted on street corners or in/around garbage pits in the city. She chose to devote her life for the care of such children in Pakistan. Her selfless love and affection for these children turned Dar ul Sukun into a reality and a pioneer organization for philanthropic initiatives in Pakistan was established. The first physical premises for Dar ul Sukun was donated by the Catholic Community in Karachi, located at Kashmir Road, where social workers, police and even relatives brought children who were un-wanted or left behind by their families due to severe disabilities.
On October 27, 2000, Dar ul Sukun faced an immense loss with Sr. Gertrude’s demise, and while Sr. Gertrude’s absence left a significant gap, Sr. Ruth Lewis assumed the charge, carrying on the mission of Dar ul Sukun. Under Sr. Ruth’s leadership, the construction of a new modern building for Dar ul Sukun home for children with disabilities was completed in 2004. Sr. Ruth continues to lead from the front to this day, playing a major part in administrative and operational functions. Dar ul Sukun also enjoys the voluntary support of committed board members, who are prominent members of Pakistani society representing religious, social and business organizations.
From a single home for children with disabilities, Dar ul Sukun has grown phenomenally over the years. The initial expansion was natural and demand driven – special cases presenting at Dar Ul Sukun needed a separate place and could not be merged together in one place as needs and care requirement of each individual resident were different. Thus, a network of homes developed in Karachi and then expanded to other cities as well. In Karachi, a home for socially displaced girls and women as well as a home for senior citizens was established. A home for orphaned and displaced boys was also established in Quetta, which began operations by the end of 2007.
Across the years, several changes have been embraced for development of Dar ul Sukun as an organization. The first significant change is a taking a step away from the charity based approach on which our foundations were laid and moving towards a right based model for delivering our services and promoting disability awareness. While we remain true to our foundations of compassion and care, we strive to create impact with our presence and the activities that we undertake. For this purpose, all Dar ul Sukun residential premises, previously referred to as “Homes” are now called “Centers”.
A common organizational name “Dar ul Sukun” has been introduced for each Center operating under the umbrella of the organization. A uniform system of financial and administrative functions has been designed and implemented as well as monitoring of all activities is systematized and has become more intensive. Physical infrastructure and environment for each center is being improved by reconstructing or renovating existing premises, furnishing and providing state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, appropriate transportation etc. Surmounting all priorities stands an uncompromising inclination to quality of services for providing care. To achieve efficiency and effectiveness, human resource management has been deemed a critical element and pursued by defining clear-cut policies, job categories and descriptions, hierarchies of function, hiring and firing policies, performance appraisals as well as capacity building initiatives.