Individual fates in Pakistan illustrate need for help

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Villages in the area of Hathango

by Hannah Janvarious/DWA, 2013/02/25

The paediatrician Dr. Toni Großhauser has been the humedica project coordinator for Pakistan for almost three years. On his missions, he has experienced a lot and would like to share some of his experiences with you. Some days ago, we published an extract of his travel diary.

Now we invite you to accompany him on a journey into the heart of Pakistan. On this journey we will meet people who still suffer from the consequences of the flood of 2011 and the harsh living conditions in general. Together with Hannah Janvarous from our partner organisation PMS (Pak Mission Society), Toni Großhauser gives us an insight into these individual fates.

1st encounter: Jamal

Jamal lives in the village of Pirano Bozdar in the region of Hathango with his family of five. He has two sons and a daughter. All of his children are still very young and do not got to school yet.

Jamal and his wife work in the field to make ends meet every day. Moreover, they have to see to it that they will be able to pay back the money which they borrowed from their landowner to rent their piece of land – an amount of 60.000 Pakistani rupees, which is a huge sum of money for a Pakistani farmer’s family.

During the flood that left Jamal and his family homeless for three months, they camped on a hill to survive. Only when the water receded, they were able to return to their village.

A team of PMS carried out an exploratory visit to assess if the village of Pirano Bozdar was one of the areas where the need for help was most urgent. Although the results of their assessment did not confirm this, PMS chose this village for their aid project.

Jamal is full of hope that PMS will see his harsh conditions and support his family. For them, life is a daily struggle they can barely win without help from outside.

2nd encounter: Beejlo

Beejlo is an old man. He lives in the village of Babbar Hingoro in the region of Hathango. He is the head of his family and responsible to provide for his relatives. Therefore, he has to work hard outside in the fields with his wife every day.

Beejlo has two sons and two daughters, who all live with their husbands and wives already, far from their parents. After a tragic blow of fate, Beeljo found himself in a very difficult situation: When one of his daughters died, she left him her four little, minor children, who cannot look after themselves yet.

After the death of Beeljo’s daughter, his son-in-law and father of the children abdicated responsibility for the education of his children. He left them at Beeljo’s house and, only a short time later, married another woman from the village and lives with her now. He does not take care of his abandoned children.

Thus, Beeljo now carries the great responsibility of bringing up and educating his four grandchildren. For an old couple like Beeljo and his wife, this is a challenge they are barely able to manage. Every day, they are stretched to their mental and physical limits.

In 2011, the flood hit his home and left him and his family homeless. As long as the village was flooded, they had to live in a different area. All the inhabitants of the village struggled for their survival for three months, on a hill in the vast desert landscape. For twelve weeks, the whole village of Babbar Hingoro lived in the open, without any shelter, without any protection against wind, weather and sand, without food and with little drinking water.

After three months, they were able to return to their village and live in makeshift shelters. They did not receive any help from the government or non-governmental organisations for rebuilding their houses. The majority of the villagers are tenants or ordinary workers and do not have the necessary income to rebuild their houses themselves.

On an exploratory and aid mission of the Pak Mission Society, this village was chosen for support. The exploratory mission served to assess the situation and find out how much of the lower Sind region had been devastated by the flood and had to be restored.

As one the beneficiaries of this aid programme, Beeljo is full of hope that he will soon live in a better home and be able to raise his grandchildren.