Saturday, September 18, 2010
Amazing Maham !!!
Photo credit Fauzia Minallah
Maham Ali, is the reason behind these children's excitement. These are a few of the 100 new suits she delivered, so that we can gift them to children in Tangi, Charssada and Nowshehra. Maham is an exceptional young student of Behria University who has been an amazing comrade in our work during the lawyers movement, helping the internally discplaced during the conflict in Swat and Malakand in 2009, raising funds for Pervaiz Masih's family, the Christian janitor who lost his life saving the lives of hundred young students in the suicide attack in Islamic University and now helping the flood affectees. Here is what she wrote about her work that makes us all proud:
I went to Nowshera on the 6th of September with my mother, brother (who went in the capacity of a doctor) and my friend, an exceptional young woman, Saleema Hamid. I consider myself very lucky that I got to work with Saleema who has remarkable organisational skills and who guided me every step of the way. This relief visit would not have been possible without Saleema.
We visited a neighbourhood called 'Daagi Khail Mohalla' consisting of 170 households, most of which had collapsed and which had not received any sort of relief prior to this. Saleema was the one who initially visited Nowshera right after the flood and with the help of Tanveer Zaman and his relative, Gull Mohammad who is a local of the area identified the neighbourhood.
As I write this, I don't know where to begin from. For the last month we have been hearing tragic stories about mothers who put their babies in water coolers and left them in the flood hoping that someone would find the babies and save them and we have been hearing how people in swat are being forced to eat leaves of the trees because they have absolutely no food. We have been seeing terrible images on the TV and one thinks that one has seen it all but then you visit the affected area, talk to people who have lost everything in this disaster and instead of feeling depressed and sad one is amazed by their faith, courage and strength.
This has been an emotional yet amazing experience for me. I remember when I initially started collecting funds for the flood victims, I got an overwhelming response from my friends and family abroad but I was a bit disappointed with the response I got from the people here- but I have been forced to change my mind. Everyone has been extremely generous and kind; from the shopkeeper who gave me 100 Shalwar Kameez instead of the 80 that I asked for, the money changer who, instead of giving us 84 rupees for a dollar, gave us 85 rupees per dollar when he found out the money was for the flood victims and even from my mother's optician who she had gone to get her glasses made and he gave her 5000 rupees for the flood victims.
A lot of thought and planning went into this trip because we did not want to give those people something that they did not need and we wanted to be fully organized and prepared before we go to deliver the relief items. So when Saleema first visited Nowshera, she asked the people what they needed. Saleema, Tanveer and Tauqeer went to Nowshera again 2 days before the delivery day and personally distributed relief-camp-tokens to every household so that the actual camp day would be very smooth and I am pleased to inform that the delivery day was very organized.
It would be unfair not to mention the efforts of Tanveer here. As Saleema wrote, 'without Tanveer's hardwork and his excellent coordination with the shop keepers, whole sale dealers, and truck drivers, this camp would not have been possible.'
Our list comprised of the following items as per requested by the residents, food was not given as it was not needed or requested; mattresses, pillows, comforters, floor mats, water coolers, buckets, mosquito repellent, tooth paste/brushes, soap and clothes.
We gave relief items to all the 170 households in ‘Daagi Khel Mohalla’ and 10 packs were given to the very needy people who lived in the same area. Each pack had the following stuff: 3 mattresses, 3 comforters, 3 pillows, 3 bed sheets and pillow cases, 1 floor mat, 1 water cooler, 1 bucket and mug, 1 pack of soap consisting of 4 soaps, 1 pack of coil consisting of 10 coils, 2 toothpastes and 5 tooth brushes and water purification tablets. cost of each pack: 3518 rupees. We took 2 trucks of relief items and the cost of each truck was 9000 rupees. We also distributed clothes among women and girls.
Apart from this I have also been sending money to Swat through members of civil society, Fauzia Minallah and Ghazala Minallah- two of the most remarkable women that I have the honour of knowing.
I also donated a 100 Shalwar Kameez for kids to Funkor Childart Centre of Fauzia Minallah which were personally delivered by Fauzia Minallah to the flood affected children.
You can read more about the relief efforts of civil society, Islamabad on Fauzia Minallah's blog: http://funkorchildart.blogspot.com/2010/08/flood-relief-efforts-in-swat.html
I am extremely grateful and thankful to all those who so generously contributed. This would not have been possible without your help and donations.
Thank you to all my friends as well who were always ready to help with the packing, ironing and even sewing.
I am attaching some pictures here. Rest of the pictures will be uploaded on Facebook soon. This is especially for the people who are not on Facebook. All the pictures have been taken by Saleema Hamid.
I'll keep everyone updated regarding our relief efforts. Thank you once again for your generous contribution and Eid Mubarak in advance.
Let us be a nation of doers and not just talkers.
Photos by Saleema Hamid