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2012 marked the third consecutive year that Pakistan has been inundated by crisis-level flooding. Since the floods struck in 2010, AmeriCares has delivered more than $6 million in flood relief to survivors. Our relief expert, Riaz Khalil visited Thatta, Sindh province to report on the impact of distributions of cooking sets and mats. Here, Riaz explains the how these simple necessities helped three struggling families.
Rahmat, who lives in a shelter village just outside Thatta City, is the only earning member of his family. Rahmat’s father died long ago, leaving Rahmat to support seven family members including his mother, five sisters and one brother. Like hundreds of other families, after the floods destroyed their shelter, Rahmat and his family moved to a school building where they lived for two months. Rahmat once made a living by selling old clothes on a handcart in the market — but his business was also destroyed by floods. With no resources to start another business, Rahmat was very worried about his family.
“At one stage, I started thinking about begging to feed my family,” Rahmat explained. “I had repaired my handcart but had no money to move forward. One of my friends advised me to sell spicy potatoes in the market, but I needed something to cook with. Then, my family received AmeriCares donated cooking sets and my problem was solved. I took a two hundred rupees (US $2.13) loan from friends, bought potatoes from the market and started my business.”
Today, Rahmat leaves very early each morning from his home with a handcart filled with food prepared at home using the cooking pots. Rahmat now has plates and glasses to serve potatoes to his customers. The big tray is used to store the food. “With AmeriCares help, I am very happy that today I am able to earn for my family again.”
Sukhaan lives with her eight children family in a Thatta slum area full of temporary shelters. When the floods also destroyed her shelter, her relatives helped her rebuild. Before receiving our donation of cooking sets and a mat, Sukhaan depended on neighbors for her family’s meals. Today, she is very happy because she is able to stay in her shelter and prepare meals for her children.
The cooking sets, including two cooking pots, plates, glasses, and a plastic mat, greatly helped her family. “I use one cooking pot to store drinking water and the other for preparing meals for my family,” Sukhaan explained. “My kids are very happy as we own a complete cooking set now and have plastic mat to sleep on. Thank you for coming to Thatta and taking care of our basic needs.”
Shamim, a widow in her early 50s, lives with her three children in the same slum area in Thatta. Her only earnings come from cleaning dishes in a few houses nearby the slum area. Her shelter was completely destroyed in the floods. Recently, a family from Thatta gave her some money to buy concrete blocks for a one room hut. She now has a room with a temporary roof and cooks outside it for her family.
“It is very difficult for me as I don’t earn a regular income. The plastic mat and cooking set which AmeriCares gave us helped us a lot,” said Shamim. “My three children used to share one plate for meals but now they are happy to have separate plates and they do not fight at mealtime anymore. Thank you, AmeriCares for giving happiness to my children. God will bless you.”