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Brave widow’s mission set to continue as tribute  

The Pakistani widow of courageous former Norwich Methodist preacher Colin Gillett has flown to Norfolk to help ensure that the couple’s work with street children in Lahore can continue, in his memory. Keith Morris reports.

Four years ago Colin Gillett, a local preacher in the Norwich Methodist Circuit, upped sticks and moved from Norfolk to Pakistan on a mission for life to work with orphans and street children.

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Colin suffered long-term from the debilitating Crohn’s Disease which flared up again and caused him to pass away from cardio-respiratory failure on September 7 this year.

While in Pakistan, Colin married local lawyer, Sunita Nayab Gill (32), whose family were already supporting a local orphanage.

Charity pioneer Sunita raised the funds to repatriate Colin’s body back to Norfolk for his funeral in October but was prevented from attending herself due to flight restrictions over events in Afghanistan.

She has since flown to the UK where she is spending a few months meeting charity supporters in Norfolk, Bedford, Sussex and Redcar and trying to establish a UK support group for the charity One World Welfare Organization to help ensure its future funding.

Speaking recently while in Cawston in North Norfolk, Sunita said: “We work with poor street children, beggars and orphans who are given a free education. We also have a foodbank and give food parcels to the brick kiln communities and free them from their debt so that they are released from bonded slavery. 

“Last year we also started a church in the community which now has 100 members and Colin was our local preacher. My father was a Catholic and my mother belonged to the Church of Pakistan. I am now looking to do some religious training so I can continue the church work in my own country,” said Sunita.

Recently food parcels were given out at the church in Colin’s memory. “Colin was the person doing most of the work for the charity. I worked as his translator, helping him communicate with the people as I speak Urdu. His death could be very tough for the charity because he did all of the finances which came from the UK and the USA. Covid has also made everything harder for our work.”

Sunita has already spoken to some friends and church supporters of Colin in Norfolk who have said they are going to continue supporting the work.

“We would like people to support us and to share our work so that more and more people know about us,” said Sunita. “I would love to set up a support group in the UK because it would really help the charity to grow more.”

Sunita and other Christians in Pakistan do face daily persecution: “It is very tough being a Christian in my country,” said Sunita. “I have to be very careful because many people think Christians are their enemies. Christians are denied educational and professional opportunities and there is a lot of discrimination.”

Sunita would like to become a UK citizen after her marriage to Colin, which would make things much  easier for her work.

“Because Colin had a red UK passport that helped us force the authorities to give us protection when we faced opposition to our school work with children, though their parents supported and protected us,” said Sunita. “A UK passport will also help me to come here and go back which at the moment is quite difficult.

“I thank God for helping me to get a visa to come to the UK, as even at the airport they stopped me and wanted to detain me, but I was allowed to travel. I have problems in my country and could seek asylum but I do not want to do this as I want to go back and continue the missionary work we are doing.”

Sunita, who practiced for 10 years in Pakistan’s higher courts as a lawyer, also has plans to expand the work of One World, by raising the capacity of the orphanage from 25 to 50, increasing work on women’s rights and empowering them and educating girls who are often deprived of their basic right to education.

Sunita is currently running an online fund-raiser to fill Christmas shoeboxes for young boys and girls from 4-14. People can donate money via this Justgiving link or send items related to boys and girls from the age of 4-14. Items included are confectionery, clothing, socks, toiletries, stationery, combs, toys and stuffed toys, sports-related items, hair bands, wrist bands, girls related things like earrings, nailpaints. Items should be send to Jonathan Boys, 95 Ramerick Gardens, Arlesey, Bedfordshire, SG15 6XZ.

If you would like to become part of a UK support group for the charity, or support its work, you can contact Sunita at: Sunita_gill@rockmail.com or visit https://web.facebook.com/OWWMission/

 www.oneworldwelfareorganization.weebly.com

Pictured above is Colin Gillett (inset) and his widow Sunita at Cawston church during her recent visit to Norfolk.

 


 



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