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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Where our Flood Appeal money went...

 A School roof destroyed due to the 2010 Pakistan floods.
 Funding provided by Yousaf Arman (BEd) former Deputy Head of Government Boy Scout High School, Walton, Lahore Cant ( father of and chaperone to my wife), to Robin Bashir of Peace Education School System
 The School banner a useful enterprise surviving on donations, that provides free education to Christian children free of charge.
 Our money went in part towards resources for the school such as books, writing pads, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners.
 For many this is a foundation step to greater things and a way out of their economic nadir.
Juliet my wife is on the left she was offered a garland by the lady on the right who was so grateful that people in the UK were remembering their community. 

Yousaf Arman himself a former teacher pleased to hand over tools for education to future generations.

Excuse the photographs, a professional photographer would have taken valuable money away form the poor people that needed it.  When they knew we were form the UK prices rose tenfold and so we just obtained photos from locals with cameras.  The pictures above were provided by Pastor Robin Bashir.

Whilst in Pakistan Juliet undertook the work that I intended to complete regrading our collection of funds for flood relief.  This was in the absence of my authority to travel to Pakistan due to false claims of an assault that were later dropped by the High Commission, after they were asked to provide video evidence.    

My wife travelled to Kasuar a place just outside Lahore that has been ravaged by the recent inundation.  This is no mean feat with 3 children and she should be commended for her diligence and perseverance, at a time when electrical shortages in the country are at a maximum.  Juliet herself was born and lived most of her life in Lahore so is not to averse to the weather conditions and poverty that exists in Pakistan.  Her reports on the devastation caused by the deluge, however are not pleasant reading.  

People are still living in tents whilst they remake their mud homes in certain areas, children are forced to eat on the floor due to a lack of any furniture.  In the home of a local councillor at which Juliet was invited to rest the children ate around the floor of the kitchen near where their mother was preparing food.  This house was blessed with a dilapidated table and 4 chairs, many have no furniture only Charpai - tough stringy beds made from metal posts and thick string - which are extremely uncomfortable and induce back problems. Juliet sought permission to eat with the children, but the home-owners wanted Juliet to eat at the table and so not to offend she obliged and took one child on her lap.  

They provided a basic meal of roti (unleavened bread) and dahl (pulses), this actually happens to be Juliet's favourite and she talked of how well the food had been made, despite cooking equipment limitations.  The conversation was joyous and despite the abject poverty Christians face in Kasaur you would could not detect this hardship through their comment or expressions.  These are a hardy people used to harsh conditions who make do with minimal resources in a manner many of us more privileged people living in the west could not comprehend.  

Juliet looked into the request for donations from the school and was impressed with the vision of the leadership, linked to the local church exhibited and evidenced through the work they were undertaking. 

Juliet spoke at the school and was impressed with questions from the children many of whom asked her about the UK.  They were able to connect with Juliet herself a Pakistani Citizen and fellow Christian.  Juliet enjoyed a time of fun , fellowship and worship and was impressed with the bible knowledge exhibited by the small children.

The needs of the school are quite immense and with a small budget Juliet had to decide on how best to assist with our limited funds.  She offered 30,000 rupees towards the repair of the flood damaged roof.  She also provided food for the day for all the students and teachers for a Easter celebration, unfortunately a load shedding power cut meant that it had to be called short and children took the food home with them.

Juliet was elated by the wonderful welcome she got, usually camera shy she felt obliged to have her picture taken with a lady so full of gratitude for the love shown by British people, that she bought a garland for Juliet.  Juliet has described the damp squalid conditions many can live in.  Their is a lack of drainage in the streets and many homes are below the height of the road causing water logging.  Sewage travels within internal perimeters of peoples home causing a real stench,  and visible health and safety concern.  Much needs to be done to create a more aesthetic and healthy environment for these beleaguered people and millions like them across the country.

Whilst in the area Juliet provided 4000 rupees to local widows who had no source of income, these were cash donations that would help the poor women, survive a hazardous economy.  They need more help and we would like to provide the four widows with sewing machines that would enable them to earn an income for themselves in the safety of their homes.  If you would like to donate please click here:


http://www.britishpakistanichristians.co.uk/appeals.php

The remainder of donations were spent on providing food; 10 kilo bags of flour, 2 kilo's Sugar, 1 Packet of tea bags and 1 Kilo of cooking oil (not Ghee) and 1 Kilo Dahl, to starving families at Shiddara.  We will write a full report on this in due course. 

The need for food, sanitation equipment new housing in Pakistan is a significant priority.  People living in flood hit areas are forced to drink unclean water, their access to food is limited and Christian community are still often being overlooked to aid workers that prioritise Muslim communities or use aid as a lever for religious conversion.  


Pastor Robin Bashir said:


Dear Brother Wilson
Gretting you in the name of Holy Lord Jesus Christ
I am Pastor Robin Bashir from Lahore Pakistan. I got your offering through sister Juliat and Uncle Yousaf Arman.
We are thankful to you for all your support for our church and school.
We have started and new free education school in Rukha Wala Kasaur under Peace Ministries International. Ruka Wala is around one hour drive from Lahore. There are around 90 poor christian families. We started this project to educate them and initially we started with 40 kids and now we have around 50 plus. We are providing free education at montissory level. Initially we didn't had any proper building for school and we used church building for school purpose also. With the self support we were able to start construction of school but we were short of funds to start construction work for Ceiling of school building. With your support are able to continue this project.
We received below mentioned amount from Sister Juliet
  1. 30,000 PKR for ceilingPublish Post
  2. 4,000 PKR for widows
  3. 1200 PKR for entertainment of congregation and school kids
  4. 1700 PKR for conveyances to chruch at Rukha Wala.
We are  very thankful to you and sister Juliat for support and encouragement. May GOD use both of you in His way and bless you both 

Thanks and Regards
Pastor Robin Bashir 
Peace Ministries International

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