11th November 2010 – 202 miles
The province of Balochistan is prone to extreme weather and earthquakes. The area often suffers from drought and flooding, which leaves the people extremely vulnerable.
- Installing solar panels for electricity and to power water pumps
- Installation of tanks to distribute rainwater
- Construction of windmills to power water distribution
- Installation of hand-powered water pumps
- Construction of household toilets
- Training of community members in repair and maintenance
At these projects, we met with Abdullah Raza Hassari, a very talented young man who was clearly capable of achieving great things in life, if given the opportunity. He could not afford to continue his education studies and attend university and so Islamic Relief have engaged him as the co-ordinator of a “youth forum” that mobilise the youth and creates champions from within the community. Sadly, with very little opportunities presented in terms of education and employment, kids are otherwise forced into drug taking and / or smuggling. Thank you Abdullah for supplying us with your “light of hope” article – it was very touching.
Whilst in the area, we also visited the local school. We witnessed substantially less numbers of students in the senior years as compared to the junior classes as kids are forced into work to meet their families’ livelihood requirements, a sad fact of life in this area, again re-iterated by the work of the “youth forum”. However, whilst education is important in this area, the major priority at the moment is providing basic infrastructure to live.
Driving on to Nowkshi, we visited Islamic Relief’s Eye Hospital where we ate lunch with their team. In rural areas, eye care facilities are almost non-existent, hence this intervention to provide support to this community without proper access to care and treatment. We were shown around and impressed that the equipment was as modern as in the Western World. The hospital is able to perform all types of major surgery as well as screening and mobile outreach services in remote villages and schools. And to date, this hospital has saved over 30,000 peoples’ eye sight!
That night, we stayed at the Gardinia Resort in Quetta, a hotel popular amongst NGOs, where we were treated to dinner by Nazeem and his team of Islamic Relief.