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Pakistan Flood Rebuilding Grant Program - The Heritage Foundation

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Wed, 2011-06-08 10:07

This update recaps the impact of the project in the Khairpur village, located in the Sindh Village and partly funded by Architecture for Humanity. This is what Yasmeen Lari, founder of the Heritage Foundation, has sent to us on 07JUN11 about the current status of the project:

I would like to share with you the positive developments that have occurred since the Khairpur programme was undertaken in March 2011:

· The students workshop conducted with your support, played a major role in showing solidarity with villagers. Participating in fieldwork, students explored local materials and learnt to make friends with a disadvantaged population.

· Focusing on value of education particularly for girls and the importance of hygienic environment conveyed through daily skits brought about the necessary awareness.

· The villagers agreed to confine all animals in one area, thus creating a much more hygienic environment in the village.

· The skill training component has been extremely successful. Two teams brought from Swat (a cold mountainous area) to the flat area in Sindh (extremely hot), proved to be a step towards integration as both groups were surprised at the hospitality and warmth that was expressed for each other. Twenty local Sindh artisans have been trained who, after the return of the Swat team, are now engaged in carrying out further work.

· The use of mud plaster that is mostly applied by women gave them the confidence to begin decorating their own units with shelves and other elements to personalize their houses.

· The use of local materials and local workforce became a source of economic regeneration which bestowed greater buying power on the villagers. As a result for the first time, a grocery shop has been opened in the village (in one of the GKG units). I was able to buy several packets of sweets from the village shop to distribute among scores of children that gather around.

· A village where they make reed panels, has become the supplier for prefabricated roof panels for the GKG programme. An entire village is now able to generate a great deal of income through supply of local roof panels.

· Another village cluster is engaged in making date palm colourful screens which are being used in bath rooms.

· The economic regeneration, even though it is on a small scale, would never have happened if we had brought concrete blocks and alien roofs of galvanized iron sheets.

· The completed women’s centre on stilts has allowed village women to get together on the first floor for discussion and work, while the ground floor, being the coolest place in the whole village is being used as a school. The stilts structure has been designed to provide an elevated safe haven for women and children in case of future floods.

· In my meeting with women last week, on their request we are providing them with a boat so that they could fish in the river, four sewing machines to make patchwork products and to stitch clothes, electrical pumps for each cluster, so that women could water with ease their own vegetable patch. I told them they have to do everything themselves to generate income, and they are ready.

I am optimistic that with their enthusiastic response, we may yet transform the village, lifting them from the apathetic state that we first encountered. Where only a couple of months ago, there seemed to be extreme despondency, in my meeting last week, the women would spontaneously break into clapping and cheers on the number of things that were possible for them to accomplish.

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