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Farhad working on a solar panel to make an efficient and economical solar energy system to generate electricity
Farhad working on a home built solar power system
Farhad working on a home built solar power system

Twenty-nine-year old Farhad lived in the Afghan refugee village Barari in Mansera with his parents, his wife, and six siblings. His brothers were young and school going, while his father’s ailing health didn’t allow him to work, which left Farhad as the sole income bearer in the family.  Being the eldest among the siblings, Farhad started supporting the entire family financially since a young age through working at the local vegetable market on daily wages.

Providing for a large family of ten members with meagre financial resources meant that their living standards had greatly deteriorated since their arrival in Mansehra. The family’s day to day needs were increasing but most were unmet due to scarcity of funds. Even though Farhad worked for many hours and did all he could to provide for the family, his efforts were not paying him much monetarily.

Recognizing Farhad’s difficulties, his family’s need and his commitment to support them relentlessly, the Community World Service Asia team selected him as a participant of the electrical trade training for the Vocational Training and Market Development project. Farhad invested four long months of hard work and energy into this training. Upon successful completion, he was given the opportunity to work as a local electrician at the Barari camp. He took up many assignments at the camp, which along with earning him a better income, also helped in polishing his newly acquired skills.

Soon after, with the repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan announced, Farhad and his family, among thousands of other refugee families, had to return to their motherland.  The return journey to their home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan went smoothly until they reached there.

“When I arrived in my hometown, there was no electricity in the entire area. The residents of my village were only using lanterns for light as no other source of electricity was available. Soon as summer came, the people were only equipped with hand fans to cool themselves with. Immediately, I planned to use the knowledge I had learnt about solar energy during my training in Pakistan and so I began experimenting with putting up a solar energy system in my house. The people around me were very impressed with my work and the expertise I displayed. Soon, many of them started requesting me to install it in their homes as well for which they would pay me. Today, I earn around AFN 25,000 per month in my hometown”, says Farhad proudly.

“My younger brother is now studying matriculation at school and every day on his return he helps me with my electrical work. He is also learning the profession from me as he assists. Just through receiving this training, I have accomplished a lot.  I am very thankful to Community World Service Asia and all other organizations involved in this project for selecting and supporting me.”

An awareness session on food and water hygiene was held in the Community World Service Asia Mansehra office and in three of its Basic Health Units in Barari, Khaki and Ichrian in celebration of the World Health Day on April 7, 2015. The discussions of the day were centered on the importance of consuming hygienic food. Community members were made aware of the many food borne illnesses that are prevalent due to lack of proper food management and unhygienic nutritional consumption.

Health experts from the MNCH Project team physically demonstrated the difference between hygienic and unhygienic food. They displayed how some food may appear to be safe for consumption but actually would not be. They taught ways of how community members could identify these food contaminations that otherwise go unnoticed, and sanitize their sustenance in a way that would make it safe for their consumption. As this year’s World Health Day’s international theme was “food safety”, the activities conducted in Mansehra focused mainly on the emerging health problems and diseases caused by unhygienic food consumption. A great emphasis was laid on the considerable amount of improvement in living conditions of communities if all individuals started being conscious of food safety.

The team based their awareness sessions on WHO’s guidelines on safer food and on how community members must incorporate these in their homes and villages. The five key points of the guidelines were to keep clean; to separate raw food from cooked food; to cook food thoroughly, to keep food at safe temperatures and to use clean water and cooking utensils.

Community World Service Asia celebrated the World Health Day to promote the “FROM FARM TO PLATE, MAKE FOOD SAFE” global campaign in an effort to streamline food safety through its projects and among the communities it works with.

Noor Elahi, age 29, is a resident at the Afghan refugee camp in Khaki, Mansehra. Being the sole breadwinner, supporting a family of eight members, including his five children, became challenging for Elahi after his father’s death. “I was distressed when my father passed away since I was dependent on him. Now I don’t have any other means of income.” Working hard to make ends meet, Elahi began to work as a laborer on daily wages until he was selected as a trainee under the Vocational Training and Market Development Program to learn carpentry skills.

Foreseeing a bright future, Elahi enthusiastically participated in a four month training program. To encourage participation, trainees were paid a stipend of PKR.150 per day including lunch and refreshment. Upon successful completion of the training he received a certificate along with a tool kit to practice his learning. In addition, he acquired a job as a partially skilled laborer at a local carpentry shop which further increased his earnings. To build upon his capabilities and learn advanced techniques, Elahi was selected for a one month refresher course.

“I was satisfied about my future to some extent and was pleased to know about the advance course offered by Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A). I happily participated in the course to enhance my skills and learned to operate 5 in 1 woodworking machine.”

Considering his expertise and his passion to progress as a professional carpenter, Elahi was selected by the Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) team for Small and Medium Enterprise program along with another Afghan graduate. They were also provided a 5 in 1 woodworking machine to launch their own shop. “Together we are working very hard and generate a profit of PKR.15, 000 per month which is equally divided between us. Now, we also have an opportunity to share our knowledge and learn new techniques from each other. We provide economical services to our community members at their door step and also plan to expand our business to a larger scale. I am very thankful to Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A); because of their extensive assistance I can now support my family easily.”

To support the rehabilitation of refugee communities in Pakistan, Community World Service Asia (formerly CWS-P/A) is implementing a Vocational Training and Market Development Project in Mansehra and Haripur as Gifts of the United States Government since 2010. The goal is to enhance self-reliance and increase income for men and women of Afghan Refugees and host community. A four-month program imparts certifiable skills training to men in welding, electrical works, carpentry, auto mechanics, auto electrician, motor cycle mechanic, plumbing and masonry. Women participate in handicraft and dress designing trades in affiliation with Skill Development Council Peshawar. Upon course completion, graduates received a tool kit designed for their respective trades, which enabled them to establish small scale businesses or more easily find employment in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

DurationJul 01, 2014Jun 30, 2015
LocationUCs Ichrian, Khaki, and Mansehra, Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Provide accessible preventive and curative health services to women and children from refugees/host community in Ichrian and Khaki camps
  • Provision of RH (reproductive health) services to the women of Child bearing age
  • Enhance the capacity of male and female health workers (M/FHWs) and the Community Health Committees
  • Transition of health services to Government Health Department, Mansehra and enhance their capacity to cope with the refugee caseload in the future
Participants52,200 Afghan refugees
12,800 Host community members

PhasePhase OnePhase Two
DurationSep 07, 2014Sep 06, 2015
LocationMansehra and Haripur Districts (Afghan Refugees Camps and surrounding host community)
Key Activities
  • Provide vocational skills to 216 Afghan refugees (144 men and 72 women) and 144 Pakistanis (96 men and 48 women) from the host community to earn dignified livelihood through vocational training.
  • Trades included in the vocational training program are: tailoring, motorcycle repairing, electrical work, and welding for men and dress designing/tailoring and handicraft for women.
  • Secure employment for and increase household income of 513 previously-trained and 360 newly trained graduates.
Participants360 (240 male and 120 Female) Training participants
270 Previous male graduates: Marketing/linkages:
370 (100 women and 270 men): Refresher/advance training:
216 (100 women & 116 men): Employment/linkages of newly trained graduates
240 Women: Enterprise development training
20 (10 men and 10 women): Small medium enterprises
100 Graduates (men): Linkages/employment in Afghanistan
30 Graduates (women): Exhibition

PhasePhase OnePhase Two
DurationJul 01, 2010
LocationMansehra and Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Skills training in auto mechanics, carpentry, electrical works, masonry, plumbing, welding, dress designing and handicrafts
  • Training on market behavior
  • Career counselling
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) writing skills
Participants1,005 male Afghan refugees and members of host communities
510 female Afghan refugees and members of host communities

I now play an important role in my family’s livelihood. We spend most of this money on nutritional needs and also health and clothing needs…I will invest some of the net profit in order to make my business more stable and productive.

Majid Khan, vocational training participant who opened his own business

Majid Khan, 20, found a new direction in life after attending training in welding at Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan’s vocational training center in Mansehra District. He first heard about the center from elders in his community, but he was later met by the mobilization team and informed in more detail about the program. After meeting participant selection criteria, Majid began the four-month welding course, the trade of his choice.

Upon successful complete of the course and certification exam, he took the next step by entering an internship at Muhammad Ikram Welding Works. After his internship, he was ready for full-time employment.

A year after entering the trade, Majid started his own business. His elder brother, Najeeb, also assists in the shop. His first month’s net profit was Rs. 15,000 (USD 150). He is very confident that his revenue will increase as he gains more customers.

“I now play an important role in my family’s livelihood. We spend most of this money on nutritional needs and also health and clothing needs. I will expand this business with the passage of time. I will invest some of the net profit in order to make my business more stable and productive.

“My family and I are very happy with my new business. They support me whole heartedly. I predict a very progressive future for myself.”

DurationJul 01, 2013Jun 30, 2014
LocationMansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
Key Activities
  • Consultations by qualified doctors and lady health visitors (LHV)
  • Provision of essential drugs
  • Reproductive Health care services with a special focus on Mother and Child health including Ante-Natal and Post-Natal care
  • Health Education sessions focusing on water borne diseases, STIs, HIV/AIDs, locally relevant diseases and distribution of information materials
  • Referral of patients to Secondary and Tertiary healthcare facilities
  • Management of alerts, threats and outbreaks, if any, in collaboration with MOH/WHO
  • DEWS reporting
  • Expanded program on immunization against childhood preventable diseases
Participants60,000 Afghan refugees

When I was a child, I received vaccinations from CWS-P/A’s basic health unit and visited the BHU when I was sick. It was my dream to become a doctor and help my community. I really liked the vaccination and awareness programs, which is why I wanted to work and am still here eleven years later as a medical officer.

Dr. Wali Jan, a doctor with Community World Service Asia’s health program