"Wind of Change" in Pakistan

3 questions to … humedica corporate communications manager Heinke Rauscher


Pakistan and its inhabitants have to meet many challenges in various fields – developmentally as well as with regard to the extreme consequences of the global climatic change and devastating natural disasters. Since 2005 humedica engages in Pakistan – in short-term emergency interventions as well as in long-term aid projects in cooperation with the local partner organization PAK Mission Society (PMS) organizing programmes for reconstruction, educational work as well as water and hygiene provision. In October 2018, together with the first Bavarian trade delegation for 20 years, humedica employee Heinke Rauscher visited this country, which at the moment goes through an interesting time of transition. What did Heinke Rauscher and her companions experience in Pakistan?

Dear Heinke, recently you travelled to Pakistan together with a Bavarian trade delegation. What were the objects and purposes of this delegation journey?

Our journey clearly focussed on the networking of German and Pakistan companies and organisations, it had been organized by the Honorary Pakistan consulate in close cooperation with the Bavarian State Ministry for Economy, Regional Development and Energy. As we were the first Bavarian trade delegation to visit Pakistan for 20 years, our stay received particular attention and was closely accompanied by the national media. We were invited to many events and met with various Pakistan chambers of commerce as well as representatives of politics, military and economy, so that we were able to learn a lot about the country and to make interesting contacts.

Konferenz der bayerischen Delegation in Pakistan

The exchange between Pakistan and German representatives may well lay the foundation for further cooperation. Photo: Perikles Poetis

Since August 2018 Pakistan has a new government, which also has many interesting economic topics on its agenda. This "Wind of Change" was tangible also at the networking events, where we as German company representatives spoke to the business people of Pakistan about new ideas and approaches for collaboration. In particular the big cultural and economic challenges took center stage. Standards for Corporate Social Responsibility, i.e. the social responsibility of companies, were addressed in personal discussion.

Especially the last topic was very interesting for me, as I am responsible for this field at humedica. We already have a strong partner on our side with PAK Mission Society (PMS) in Pakistan, which I also met on site. To my opinion this journey offered both the members of our delegation and our Pakistan hosts many opportunities for interesting discussions, contacts and the development of potential partnerships.

That sounds like many official meetings and discussions. What are your personal impressions, how did you experience the country Pakistan and its people?

That is right. Our time schedule was quite full. Everything was organized most efficiently and very professionally. I personally noted that generally there are many very big differences in Pakistan. In every regard. Particularly noticeable for me with regard to life in the city or in the country. Infrastructure, education, economy, the conduct of and towards women – all this sometimes gives you the impression to be in two different worlds if you are moving around from mega-cities to rural regions.

In Lahore for example we visited a so-called Think Tank, an ideas factory for innovative business concepts. Here men and women develop new concepts, which also cover social aspects. That was rather impressive. We met a young woman, who comes from poor backgrounds herself and now works on a business model that will allow all social classes access to consumer products by offering microcredits. In the country that would be quite unthinkable in Pakistan, here the business world is still very dominated by men.

Delegation im Think Tank in Lahore

The Think Tank in Lahore develops new business models – often with regard to social aspects. Photo: humedica

For me as a European woman it was a new experience to adapt my behaviour to the conduct of men, like waiting for their reaction before greeting them.

In general the people in Pakistan were very open and incredibly friendly, also very hospital. Everywhere we were invited and welcomed with great warmth. Pakistan is a beautiful country that currently is making some important moves for the future. I definitely leave the door open for a return one day and hope that the security situation will further improve to render this even more probable. That is my biggest wish for this great country and its inhabitants.

humedica supports the Pakistan people since many years with various projects, which are implemented together with our partner PAK Mission Society (PMS). Did you hear any news about this work while meeting with PMS in Pakistan?

It was great to meet the colleagues from PAK Mission Society in person. I also had the chance to visit their very latest pilot project. At the moment humedica assists in particular projects in the rural parts of Pakistan dealing with disaster prevention and the topics of water and hygiene. Here we are constructing wells in order to supply the people in the villages with clear drinking water and to train them regarding social-health topics.

PMS now initiates smaller pilot schemes to cover also the various needs in urban areas, which I have already addressed earlier on, testing a bunch of smaller projects on the topics of equal opportunities, education or garbage, too. Near Islamabad we visited a small recycling center run by PMS in a slum. Here mostly Christians are living, who are a minority in Pakistan. They often have a low social level and receive hardly any support. All employees of the recycling center come from this slum. They collect the rubbish with a small garbage removal vehicle and sort it. Materials like tin and glass are sold, the organic garbage is turned into mold and sold afterwards f. e. to garden centers. It now has become a small social enterprise, which is able to finance itself as well as its employees. Simply great.

Heinke Rauscher mit PAK Mission Society im Recyclinghof bei Islamabad

Heinke Rauscher had the opportunity to visit the small recycling center run by PAK Mission Society in a slum near Islamabad. Photo: humedica

We will see whether the exchange and the contacts with the Bavarian delegation will help to implement other similarly great projects. Anyway – our aim is to strengthen the trust that humedica and PMS have already gained thanks to the repeated emergency help in these rural regions and which now enables us to get access to areas rarely reached by help from outside in order to support the people there in the long term.

Thank you very much, Heinke, for these interesting insights!

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