Foundations for new houses - and a new future

by Ruth Bücker, 2011/09/12

When asking members of a humedica doctor team during or after their mission about what touched them most apart from the medical aid they offered, the answers often refer to the people's immense gratitude that causes all the exhaustive work to seem insignificant.

And I personally have hardly ever been met with such immense gratitude like during my project trip to Pakistan after one year of implemented relief measures in the country. Progress and improvement of living circumstances are impressive. It was an indescribable feeling to see how the framework conditions for a new life have been created, how thousands of people have benefited from the construction of new houses. One of those who received help was Kaneez Fatima.

Hope has returned

Kaneez Fatima has three children. The floods of August 2010 destroyed her house and all her furnishings and equipment and hence deprived her of her basis of life. Hundreds of other village inhabitants shared her fate and lost all their belongings and their future perspectives that were focussed on cultivating crops on fields where nothing could grow anymore after they had been covered by masses of mud.

Thanks to the reconstruction projects, hundreds of families could already move into their new, safe houses. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

Kaneez is widowed and since her husband' death five years ago she has been raising her two daughters and her son alone, living on an income of less than one euro per day. She explains the teachings of the Koran to the women of her village community and receives a small additional income in kind as recompense for these services.

Before the heavy monsoon rains destroyed everything, Kaneez and her children had at least owned a cow that had provided them with milk, yoghurt and butter. But after the floods, they had even lost the animal.

"When we went to bed at nine o'clock in the evening, everything was fine", reports the single mother remembering the disaster. "The warning on the loudspeaker came completely unexpected and everything went so fast we couldn’t take anything with us.

Everyone was panicking. Children and women were crying and all the animals were very nervous. It was an atmosphere like on the Day of Judgement. I took my children, untied our only cow and asked my son to take care of the animal and follow me.

We had to walk seven kilometres in order to reach a place that was higher up and therefore safe. This walk in the darkness, on dangerous and unpaved ways, was a terrible experience. While we were walking, I suddenly came to realize that we had left everything behind, and tears welled up in my eyes.

And then our cow panicked and ran away into the darkness. I could only tell my son that he should let go of the rope he used to lead the animal and this probably saved his life. But our only cow was lost. Just as was our house, our equipment, simply everything.

Kaneez Fatima's family is one of 550 families whose hope for a better future has returned. Photo: humedica

These thoughts persecuted and tortured me during the following five days, when we couldn’t return to our village, and the only thing we could do was to wait. When we finally returned, all our fears became bitter reality: we had lost everything."

Since this moment of realisation that changed everything one year ago, humedica and local partners have achieved a lot. Today, Kaneez lives in a newly built house together with her younger daughter and her son, while the older daughter has married a man from the same village and lives with him.

Kaneez continues earning their living by teaching, while her son has found an employment with the village community and her daughter embroiders clothes and fabrics for some payment.

Hope for hundreds of families

Kaneez Fatima, Inayat Ullah and Niaz Ali Khan are some individuals standing behind the impressive figures of the humedica reconstruction project in Pakistan. During the last year, houses could be rebuilt for 400 families in the north of the country.

Using concrete blocks made in Pakistan, we not only managed to give the families a new and safe home. Thanks to these measures, we also succeeded in integrating local communities and in creating jobs for the respective village inhabitants.

Currently, we are running the second phase of our reconstruction project, in the framework of which yet another 324 families receive help with reconstructing their houses. This means a new beginning and positive future perspectives for another 1,700 children, women and men who had lost everything during the floods of last August and had to live in tents until recently.

Besides running the undernutrition programme and education programmes in the south of the country, humedica is now also offering active support in the field of reconstruction in this area. 150 houses could be rebuilt in the region.

It is only thanks to you, dear friends and sponsors, that we disposed of the financial means for implementing these relief measures. Furthermore, our special thanks also goes to the team members of our local partner organisations Aid for Refugees and Orphans Pakistan and Pakistan Mission Society in the north and to Partner Aid International in the south of the country. Our heartfelt thanks for a generous donation also goes to Bild hilft e.V. - Ein Herz für Kinder.

After one year of humedica reconstruction aid

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