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In 2014, southern parts of Sindh experienced a continuing dry spell that inevitably lead to a drought crisis. Tharparkar, where the community’s livelihood depends mainly on livestock management and seasonal farming activities, is one of the most affected districts in Sindh. Following the drought, a scarcity in food and livestock resulted in the death of 650 people. This was mainly due to the lack of drinking water and feed for farming animals. Hundreds of children are reported to be suffering from pneumonia and diarrhea which is constantly adding to the cases of acute malnutrition in the area.

To overcome the alarming food security and nutrition requirements, Community World Service Asia initiated food assistance for drought affected families in the district from the month of February, 2015. In close coordination with local government authorities, nine villages and two bordering hamlets were identified in Taluka Chachro and Dahli of Tharparkar district. Twenty two village committees (VCs) are formed to promote coordination and assist in sharing information to ensure the full participation of communities in this project.

Moreover, our teams were assisted by the VCs in selection of 1,800 households for food assistance, with a priority given to orphans, people with disabilities, widows, and female-headed households. Each family will receive a food package as per minimum Sphere standards consecutively for seven months. The duration of the response is designed in consideration of the immediate food needs and the harvesting time of seasonal crops. In Tharparkar, farmers usually begin to plant seeds after the forecasted rainfall in the month of June, which is projected to harvest after seventy days of planting. The affected communities are also expecting an increase in availability of drinking water for their livestock following the rain.

Two rounds of food distribution are completed since the commencement of the project until now. Our team on the ground is regularly coordinating with stakeholders by participating in cluster meetings, working groups and general coordination meetings. This is done to ensure the sharing of information, to learn from each other’s’ experiences and to avoid duplication.

This assistance is possible with generous support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Presbyterian World Service & Development.

Dispirited by poverty, Rubeena was extremely concerned about the expenses she had to bear for delivering her first baby. Rubeena lives with her husband and his family in village Ranta, union council Bijora. A laborer by profession, her husband, the only breadwinner of the family earns PKR.200 per day, which is not enough to meet the essential requirements of seven family members.

“In view of my family’s current financial situation I was apprehensive about the high cost we would have to pay for my delivery. With transportation and medicine bills included, I knew the childbirth would cost us a lot, which we could not afford.”

Once Rubeena became aware about the quality of medical services provided at the maternal, neonatal child health center (MNCH) at very nominal rates, she planned to visit the center. Examined by an experienced,female medical officer, Rubeena was satisfied and began to visit the center for regular antenatal consultations. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the health center in mid-March, 2015. “Previously I was unaware of childbirth assistance available at such low costs. If I had been taking medical consultations at another health facility, we would have paid PKR.2000 or even more by now. I am glad that we managed the entire treatment at a very minimal cost of PKR.30.”

While Rubeena enjoys her early motherhood days, she continues to visit the health center for postnatal care and also consults with the medical staff regarding her baby’s health and vaccinations.

“I am thankful to Community World Service Asia, for establishing a MNCH in a remote area and for providing quality services at a very low cost. I hope this facility continues to provide support to us and to other communities.”

Community World Service Asia with financial support from Church of Scotland is successfully implementing a project on Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Centre (MNCH) in union council Bijora, district Thatta, Sindh. The aim is to improve maternal, newborn, and child health by providing curative and preventive basic health services, ante and postnatal care, family planning, and vaccination campaigns. The community also benefits from health education sessions on a variety of topics including HIV & AIDS, infant and child feeding, prevention of childhood diseases, and malnutrition. During the first quarter of the year, 1,569 community members received medical assistance at the health center. One hundred and fifty six participants including women, children and men participated in thirteen health sessions, and four health management committee meetings were organized till date.

DurationApr 01, 2015Mar 31, 2018
LocationDistrict Umerkot, Thatta, Sindh Province
Key Activities
  • Developing women’s skills in embroidery, dying, block printing and quilting through vocational training;
  • Formation of Women’s Enterprise Groups;
  • Training of women with basic literacy and numeracy skills as Sales and Marketing Agents;
  • Training of skilled women as Quality Assurance Supervisors;
  • Gender awareness activities to sensitize communities on gender discrimination and encourage support of women’s income-generation, control over resources and household decision-making;
  • Formation of Household Gender Action Groups
Participants700 women in vocational training
3,080 immediate and 7,560 extended household members benefitting from increased income
1,400 men and community members benefitting directly from gender sensitization activities
3,450 community members sensitized on gender issues through Gender Action Groups

DurationFeb 01, 2015Aug 31, 2015
LocationTaluka Dehli and Chachro of Tharparkar District
Key Activities
  • Monthly food items distribution for seven months
Participants1,800: Drought-affected families

1716
DurationAug 01, 2012
LocationThatta District, Sindh Province, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Formation of local health management committees to raise awareness of the health center and its services, and promote knowledge of key health issues;
  • Provision of check-ups for women and children, symptomatic diagnostics, pregnancy tests, ante- and post- natal care, family planning, provision of free medicines and nutritional supplements, and referral of cases;
  • Curative services to children under five, pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Community health sessions on family planning, ante- and post- natal care, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, breastfeeding, and common and seasonal diseases
Participants20,504 community members (population of Union Council Bijora, District Thatta)

I am very happy with the support of CWS-P/A; they have saved my baby…They have properly guided me for nutrition and care of my pregnancy.

Noor Jahan, MNCH patient

If this center would not have existed, I couldn’t have accessed treatment from any hospital due to my poor economical situation. No doubt CWS-P/A has saved my life.

Muhammad Mallah, MNCH patient

PhasePhase OnePhase Three
DurationJan 01, 2015Dec 31, 2015
LocationThatta, Sindh Province, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Adult literacy and vocational training
  • Product development and market linkages
  • Training workshops on disaster risk reduction skills, techniques and procedures
  • Community awareness-raising on key issues of sexual and reproductive health
  • Training and mobilization of community activists
Participants4,700 women from rural communities

After getting admission in the adult literacy center, I used to teach my daughters. My daughters were inspired when they saw me go to school with my bag. Now, they are motivated for education, and I have admitted them into the local school.

Saima, a project participant

After the 2010 floods, I have worked with different NGOs/INGOs. The way CWS-P/A works for sustainability is genius. We like working with them. Other organizations have given shelter, etc, but then they leave. These vocational skills will never die and will trickle down to our children.

Samoon, President of the Village Organization in Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo

We were very glad to see that our embroidery work can be sold in the market. I saw a hand bag for Rs. 300 (USD 3). I didn’t know these small handbags could be expensive. After the first visit, I came back and shared about the differences in cost here and in Karachi.

Bejum Jan, participant in the exposure visit to Karachi

PhasePhase OnePhase Three
DurationJan 01, 2015Dec 31, 2017
LocationThatta, Sindh Province, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Women empowerment through adult learning center, vocational training center, and product development/market linkages
  • Sexual reporductive health (SRH) and GBC awareness through theater groups
  • DRR awareness to community and schools
Participants2,300community members

After getting admission in the adult literacy center, I used to teach my daughters. My daughters were inspired when they saw me go to school with my bag. Now, they are motivated for education, and I have admitted them into the local school.

Saima, a project participant

After the 2010 floods, I have worked with different NGOs/INGOs. The way CWS-P/A works for sustainability is genius. We like working with them. Other organizations have given shelter, etc, but then they leave. These vocational skills will never die and will trickle down to our children.

Samoon, President of the Village Organization in Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo

We were very glad to see that our embroidery work can be sold in the market. I saw a hand bag for Rs. 300 (USD 3). I didn’t know these small handbags could be expensive. After the first visit, I came back and shared about the differences in cost here and in Karachi.

Bejum Jan, participant in the exposure visit to Karachi

PhasePhase OnePhase Three
DurationSep 01, 2012Aug 01, 2013
LocationThatta, Sindh Province, Pakistan
Key Activities
  • Adult literacy and vocational training
  • Product development and market linkages
  • Training workshops on disaster risk reduction skills, techniques and procedures
  • Community awareness-raising on key issues of sexual and reproductive health
  • Training and mobilization of community activists
Participants4,700 women from rural communities

After getting admission in the adult literacy center, I used to teach my daughters. My daughters were inspired when they saw me go to school with my bag. Now, they are motivated for education, and I have admitted them into the local school.

Saima, a project participant

After the 2010 floods, I have worked with different NGOs/INGOs. The way CWS-P/A works for sustainability is genius. We like working with them. Other organizations have given shelter, etc, but then they leave. These vocational skills will never die and will trickle down to our children.

Samoon, President of the Village Organization in Ghulam Mohammad Soorjo

We were very glad to see that our embroidery work can be sold in the market. I saw a hand bag for Rs. 300 (USD 3). I didn’t know these small handbags could be expensive. After the first visit, I came back and shared about the differences in cost here and in Karachi.

Bejum Jan, participant in the exposure visit to Karachi

Before Raheema participated in adult literacy and vocational training, she faced difficulty in meeting her family’s needs. She lives with her four children and husband who earns a meager daily wage in Karo Mallah Village, Thatta. Raheema always wanted her children to be educated; she enrolled two of her children (one girl and one boy) in school, but due to financial constraints she was unable to continue her daughter’s education. While describing her concerns, she said, “If my children are not well, I am unable to take them to a hospital since I don’t have money.”

Due to poverty and social barriers, Raheema did not receive an education; however, her passion to learn motivated her to join the adult literacy center and vocational training center established by Community World Service Asia. Learning to read and write, she began passing on these basic skills to her children.

Because of her fine skills in appliqué work; she was selected as a master trainer which gave her an opportunity to teach the same skill to other women. An exposure visit to markets in Karachi enabled Raheema to understand the market trends, designs, color scheming, and how she can utilize her skills for a variety of products. “With assistance from Community World Service Asia, I received two orders from the buyers in Karachi, for myself and also for other trainees in my village,” she shared.

“I managed to purchase stationery, uniforms, and paid other expenses with my income in order to reenroll my children in school.”

Raheema generates income by making embroidered suits, pillow covers, bed sheets, and other products. She is now hopeful to manage the educational expenses of her children. “I am thankful to Community World Service Asia for giving me the skills, exposure, and a way to earn a living. I have good appliqué work skill; initially the products I used to make were only catering to the market in my village and surrounding areas. The exposure visits enabled me to enhance my marketing knowledge and now by utilizing the same skill I can make a variety of colorful products with beautiful designs.”

Community World Service Asia with financial support from Christian Aid (CA) is successfully implementing the project, Alleviating Poverty through Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Development with a Disaster Resilient Approach in Union Council (UC) Bijora, Thatta, Pakistan – Phase II. The project aims to reduce poverty and gender inequality among highly marginalized women and men through socio-economic empowerment and improved disaster resilience in disaster prone area of Thatta.

As a child, Kazbano, dreamed of obtaining an education, but cultural constraints and poor economic conditions prevented her from achieving her goal. At the age of 40, she is a mother of five children residing in Doso Himaiti Village, Thatta. “My parents were not educated; therefore, I was unable to convince them to send me to the nearest school in my village. I also got married at an early age,” she shared with grief.

A literate woman can support her father and husband with income generation. She can also contribute well in the upbringing of her children and make them a noble citizen.

Kazbano highlighted that illiteracy in her community prevents understanding on the importance of education. The mobility of women and girls is also limited, reducing their opportunity to acquire skills or education outside of their homes.

Her hope was restored when Community World Service Asia engaged the community through mobilization meetings and the formation of a community organization. Impressed by the confidence of female social mobilizers, she found the interest to learn revive in her. She requested her husband to agree to her participation in the adult literacy center. “Initially he resisted because he was concerned about our children, but later he allowed me to join the center with hope that if I am educated, I can also support my children for their education.”

The phonetic method adopted by the trainers at the center made learning much easier. “I am now able to read and write small paragraphs, read Sindhi newspapers, small sentences from books, sign boards, doctors’ names in hospitals, etc. I can also read medicine names as well as the expiry date. Now, I can support my children to acquire quality education. I am very thankful to Community World Service Asia for their development efforts for rural women like me.”

Community World Service Asia with financial support from Christian Aid (CA) is successfully implementing the project, Alleviating Poverty through Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Development with a Disaster Resilient Approach in Union Council (UC) Bijora, Thatta, Pakistan – Phase II. The project aims to reduce poverty and gender inequality among highly marginalized women and men through socio-economic empowerment and improved disaster resilience in disaster prone area of Thatta.

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