Fr. Pervaz Daniel, O.F.M.

After Yusuf Bagh’s appointment as Custos of the Friars Minor in Pakistan. Fr. Pervaz Daniel, O.F.M. is appointed parish priest of St. Francis of Assisi Parish Khipro.

He, together with Walfred Mohan, O.F.M. (mainly linked with medical care) and Yusuf Bagh will take care of this website and have people informed of the development of this project. friendsofkhipro website was neglected not because of any lack of interest but because of other engagements.
contact: Pervaz Daniel pevdan@gmail.com
Walfred Mohan walfredmohanofm@gmail.com
Yusuf Bagh yusufbagh@gmail.com

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Medical Camp in Khipro Area

Medical Camp in Khipro Parish.

October 16 – 17, 2013

175 After I returned from my holidays in September, I met Doctor Shafique in Karachi and fixed the dates for a medical camp in Khipro.  We decided to hold the camp during the Eid Holidays (a three day – Muslim festival – EID-UL-AZHA); 15 – 16 – 17 October.

As we were fixing the dates we forgot that because of the Eid there will be less public transportation. With great difficulty the doctor arranged a private taxi (for five people, travelling with five or six cartons of medicines). The medical team left Karachi around 2 in the morning and arrived in Mirpurkhas around 5.30 a.m.  The driver went back to Karachi to celebrate the Eid with his family. Fr. Bhuro and master Albert drove to Mirpurkhas and brought  them to Khipro. This was an event in itself, never mind!

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Medical Team:  The medical team consisted of: a physician (medical doctor), a dentist, a physio therapist, a dispenser, two female, one male medical staff nurses and a mid-wife! And plus us, the parish staff running around, arranging the smooth running of the camp. This looked like a hospital staff.  The team was well organized.

 

The patient would first receive an attendance receipt from one of our parish team members, with that s/he proceeded to the nurse/s. The blood pressure and the body temperature were checked. The doctor and/or dentist (from the dentist they also received tooth paste and a brush) then checked the patient/s. Thereafter they were referred to the therapist and/or to the dispensary, where the patient/s received their medicines. From there the patient would proceed to another place with the attendance receipt to receive the mosquito net.

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This time the medical camps were held at three different places. Maluk Pohar, which is about 25 kilometers and Bangli about 70 kilometers from Khipro town. Because people were informed ahead of time, the news had already spread in the area; therefore people from surrounding  villages also benefitted from this camp.  The third camp was organised in the parish hall in Khipro. All in all about three hundred people were checked and received the medicine and mosquito nets.028024133

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Like always, it were children and women who mostly came for the medical check-up.  The common diseases were skin related and stomach aches. The children were weak and lean, where as the young married women either were pregnant and/or with new born babies.  Obviously malnutrition, unclean water and unhygienic environments were the major causes.

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On the whole all ages, the pregnant women, new borns, young and old men and women got the medical attention. This was offered to all indiscriminately of race and creed. It was clear that people felt respected, and dignity of poverty was upheld, the way people presented themselves and by the behaviour of the staff.

 

We are hoping to hold one more camp in early December.  The dates are still to be decided with the  doctor. We are also thinking of hiring a full time lady staff nurse who can assist the young pregnant women and children.

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Beside this we are also arranging a family life and health related seminar on November 9 and 10. We hope men and women from different villages will assist us to establish and make an assessment as to how we together can help the young families to live a healthy and happy life in the given circumstances (poverty and other issues around them)! And also to work out and pin point other issues besides mere poverty.

 

Yusuf Bagh.

 

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Story of Daiyo and Jonjo

Story of Daiyo and Jonjo

 Life is precious and a wonderful gift from God. I understand and accept that at times difficulties and mishaps arise in life. They can be painful, disturbing and disappointing. At such times what do I do? Where do I go and  whom do I turn to? What options do I have? These are important questions for me. I grew up in this area (Khipro), in the same circumstances and environment!  I come from a large family. I have seen great poverty, experienced hunger and thirst. I walked miles, many times bare foot or with a plastic flip-flop, which burns the feet in the sun, to go to a primary school in town and walked back home in the scorching heat. The burning rays of the hot sun nearly killed me!

Life was tough and very demanding. I never thought I would ever pass primary school level but as the time went on, my parents and family, priests and nuns encouraged me to persevere. And now I strongly believe that if there is a will there is nothing which cannot be achieved! With this in mind I offer a reflection on the story of husband and wife, Daiyo and Jonjo.

family life a

My people, the Parkari Kohlis are a semi-nomadic Tribal People. It is not that they constantly want to migrate from place to place, but it is because of the unjust feudal system within which they live and work. The landlords do not provide their ‘haris’ with basic needs such as food and medical care. Most of the families have six to ten children. To look after such a big family is not easy; in fact it is extremely difficult. The daily wages for a labourer is around Rs. 300. To buy the basic rations like flour, rice, vegetables, oil, sugar and tea for just one meal would cost at least Rs. 200.  In the case of the hari who works for a landlord receives Rs. 1500 cash and 40 to 60 kg flour for thirty days. The hari is forced to find the money for other expenses from elsewhere. If he keeps borrowing from the landlord his debt increases and slowly becomes unwanted slave, for becomes next  to impossible pay back the increasing debts! On the other hand the person working on daily wages has to survive only on the wages he gets per day. In many cases the men start smoking and drinking; and thus with the passage of time some become addicts, which obviously makes the family situation even worse.

Daiyo and Jonjo’s story is no different. They were hard working, struggled in life and wanted the best for themselves and their eight children.  Daiyo was 44 and Jonjo 40 years old when they migrated from Kunri to Francis Nagar in Khipro for better life. Daiyo is remembered of his kindness for the children and for his good behaviour. He was hard working. He never complained and never refused to work. He would work in the hot sun, in the rain or in the cold winter. Jonjo, his wife was also a hard worker both at home and in the fields. During the wheat season she would cut the wheat and in cotton season pick the cotton. Thus both of them worked hard to provide food for their children, educate them and in this they fulfilled their responsibilities for their family.

One day their youngest child, a five year old became very sick. Both, Daiyo and Jonjo had nothing in their house to cook, never mind have money to pay for doctor fee or buy medicine. Jonjo told her husband to arrange for some money in order to take the child to the doctor but to no avail! They both argued and shared their frustration and sense of failure. They had worked hard, did not waste money, did not drink but still had no money to save the child. Jonjo could not accept this situation. It was very hard for her to face this desperate situation and watch her child die. She became very disappointed and disheartened. She thought to herself that it would be better that she kill herself rather than watch helplessly as her child died. So she committed suicide. It was a big shock for the village. They could not believe what they had seen and heard. They all knew how both parents were committed to do their best for the children.  Within six month Daiyo too was disappointed and disheartened and could not face any more the desperation of his family. He too, at the same time and place took his life and died the same way as his wife.

 It was hard to accept this. The children were going to school. Their relatives were not  in the position to help them. The older brother, Hero, did the heroic thing. He took the responsibility, borrowed some money, bought a pushcart and started selling vegetables and fruits. He worked day and night. The other brothers also chipped in, when Hero was resting or went to the wholesale market. Parkete, the younger one worked on the pushcart. The brothers and sisters struggled but worked hard. The helped get their sister married. Today they have a beautiful house and are living a good life and happy life.

I feel sad about the Daiyo and Jonjo the way they took their lives. However I do feel that if they are looking from up above at their children they must be feeling proud for the efforts their children made to better their lives.  May God bless the family and the parents who are in the presence of God

Bhuro Mangho

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Clean Water and Washrooms

028DSC05147DSC05125583099086081076CLEAN WATER

Water is one of the essential thing for all life. With the help of good friends, we have been able to provide clean water to some of the families in the area of Khipro. We are thankful to all who contributed towards it! A Big Thanks.

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By no means this project is over… much more can be done in this area…

THE NEED

While busy with this project we came across houses where people desperately need washrooms (toilets)… reasons are obvious, hygiene, privacy, safety and protection of women…and many more…

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Family Transformation and Family life

Introduction: On March 9 – 10 (Saturday and Sunday) the parish arranged a Family Transformation programme, with the help of the Major Religious Justice and Peace Commission in Hyderabad. The team consisted of Abid Habib OFM Cap, from Joti Center Mipurkhas and Sr. Catherine FMM; Sr. Alice FMM and Mr Danish. With them came Sr. Iffat FMM and Miss Shagufta. And the parish team: Albert Baldev, Anthony Bhimo and Bhuro Mangho and Yusuf Bagh.school

The people who attended this programme came from various areas (from the parish) spread in the radius of about 70 kilometers. More than 60 people came from outside Khipro town and 15 to 20 people joined from Francis Nagar, Khipro. Among them were 9 young couples who got married in January and February 2013! These couples received a small gift during the programme. Sister Alice led the group by doing some ice-breaking activities. The participants felt relaxed and were amused with the activities.

In this programme we celebrated the International Day of Women (March 8). To mark the day, after the Sunday Mass the women of Francis Nagar together with the participants were served high tea.

Objective: to provide an opportunity for gender equality, reflect on traditional practices and safety of young girls in the feudal system.

Aim: to provide a safe and supportive environment where both (genders) Parkari Kohli women and men could sit as equals, and, on equal ground, discuss their life situation. Encourage them to have dialogue (which the custom does not allow), and help them reflect on the life giving and life draining customs and traditions in the culture. Together look for  solutions, so both women and men take responsibility for possible (liberating) changes. They would also see why young marriages occur and the problems they create in the families.

The Programme Was Twofold. To meet and greet the Young Married Couples (Albert Baldev, Anthony Bhimo and Bhuro Mangho – helped the group on Saturday evening) To look into Culture and Tradition – are they life giving or life draining?

For Saturday evening the group was divided into two. With the help of power point, the YOUNG COUPLES were explained the meaning of different things used during the marriage ceremony: like Coconut, Rice, Light, Water, Green and White cloth and alike representing Life, Hope, Fertility, Health, Prosperity and Abundance! Full of meaning, colourful life awaiting ahead! The experience shows (for most people in this society) that hardly a day goes by without struggle and life becomes mere survival!? The crunch is that no sooner are they married then both husband and wife start working on the field. The loan taken for the wedding starts weighing heavily on them. Since the marriage takes place at a very young age (14 – 16 years) – why marry so young is yet another debate? – in short – tradition is one reality but the deeper reality is (fear) to protect the young girl from the men (landlord/sons – feudal system) around who may abuse her.

The limited experience and knowledge of the couples about life and marriage bring hosts of problems; starting from relationship with in-laws, sexuality, pregnancy, child birth and dependency or independency…! In most instances the girl needs to adjust to all circumstances. On the other hand the young boy (the husband) tries to be obedient if for nothing else just for mere survival. He needs his male relatives to help him stand on his feet to be the bread earner.

The girl becomes the “IZZAT” (honour) of the family. She needs to hide her face from all males (older to her or her husband) except from her own close relatives. She is not allowed to sit on the same level as men. Mostly she sits on the ground whereas the men (male) even her own brothers (even younger ones) may sit higher than her i.e on the bed or chair. The married girls / women now have to wear plastic bangles also on the forearms. The symbol of beauty but also a sign of being wedded. The boy child is a gift, the girl child is considered less – this goes on throughout life. The sex of the child determines the treatment s/he gets in life regarding eating, clothing, health, education – the boy child is preferred!

With these realities at the background the team tried to make the participants aware where they are at and what they have been practising.

Abid Habib:- talked about his own family and the culture he grew (in the Punjab) shaped his life. The nodding of the heads made it very clear that they agreed to the fact that the culture in which we grow and the religious background play a huge role in our behaviour. Even though we do not practise the Islamic religion yet, because we live in this culture, this too plays a role in our behaviour. We take a lot from our surroundings, whether we like it or not. And when it is in our favour we tend to grab it. This has happened in many instances in this male dominated society. The man being the main bread earner, takes it for granted that women be only for service. Even to give birth is not seen as a sign of love but a duty to produce a boy child and be available to man whenever he wants. Abid then showed slides from Afghanistan. In these slides, women were covered from head to foot, as if they are in prison! The participants were not amused by this kind of treatment. On the one hand, they were shocked to see this, on the other hand during discussion it became clear that sometimes their own culture treats them the same and in some instances even worse.

Sister Catherine:- talked about our Christian faith and Christian family life. With the help of a slide show she too expressed that our Lord Jesus in his life liberated women from the clutches of tradition and oppressive male dominated behaviour. Many women in the group were able to relate to some of the stories in the gospel. The bent woman made an impact on women, that they too need to stand erect.

Danish:- helped see the legal aspect of getting out of slavery. With the examples from the field of justice and peace, he showed that it is possible to change the status quo. And united with other like minded people (who may be are in the same situation) can help us get out of the slavery/system. He also explained that tradition and cultures come into existence by consistently practising certain things.

Yusuf Bagh:– then continued from there. He invited participants to share the cultural practices which are life giving and which are life draining. Yusuf from his own family gave examples where they learnt (the hard-way) how in the long run not listening to the voice/s of girls/women (daughter and/or sister) can create problems for the family. By listening to the family members, especially those involved in decisions can help make a better decision. This also helps create a happy and responsible family. Each member in the family feels counted and responsible for, and thus (hopefully) contributes towards its success. This kind of practice may seem like going against the (current) existing customs of the society, and thus a strong reaction can be expected from people. This will be especially from those who may feel threatened and start expressing their own fear to change. On the other hand this gesture of change can become a stepping stone for others who as yet are not daring enough to take a step towards change.
By this time the participants got into a real discussion and started talking about different changes they tried to bring in their families, the responses and reactions they received. It was obvious that mostly the reactions came from men and not from women. The women participants were looking for change but were dependent on the male response in the family. Starting from sending a girl child to school or not…to marriage…

There are inside and outside pressures which make the traditional customs strong and unshakeable. This mainly comes from the men, to keep the male dominant society alive and prevailing!
There are some customs which can be changed and are in the reach of the families; and others involve a wider society for a change. We then started narrowing down to talk about the customs which are in our reach, are life draining and enslaving and obstructing daily living. Ones again, it became clear that most of the customs are concerned with the honour and respect of men only. And women are held responsible for this. By their keeping up the customs and traditions the man will have his IZZAT / honour and respect.

One of the interesting (amusing) remark women made:- If only a man would practise just for one day the customs, which women practise every day. This is just for him to know how it feels being in: purdah, wear bangles andsit on the floor!

Among many customs, these were put forward for debate!

Bangles (plastic):– used on the arms for virgins and plus forearms for married women. The young girls may wear (plastic) bangles in their full arms. When married they have to wear bangles on both arms till the shoulders. This is for respect and a sign of being married women. By itself it looks enslaving, but practically it is heavy and dangerous for health , especially in summer causing all sorts of skin diseases and rash. Working and cooking with these bangles is not only difficult but life threatening as well. If the husband dies the woman (widow) has to take her bangles off and keep them on the grave of thehusband. From then onwards she needs to have bare arms. A sign of widowhood!

Veil – purdah – (ghungato) – hiding of face: One of the participants said, that the ‘purdah’ veil (hiding face) is dangerous. Women stumble easily. When ones leave her spot she find it hard to find it back. It is difficult for women to hide their face all the time from male in-laws. While cooking and using the firewood (for the stove – chulaha) and / or to fetch water from the canal with hidden face is not safe. And working in the field becomes doubly difficult to keep her face hidden cutting wheat, or picking cotton…and so on.

Why does a woman need to hide her face from the family she lives in and gives birth. With discussion it was also clear that the purdah is nothing but an outward gesture. The abuse of women can and does take place in many families in spite of the purdah!

Sitting and seating arrangement – for men (higher place – on the bed) and women on the floor (lower place). It is a custom that while men sit on the bed then women are not allowed to sit on an equal level to them. It has been observed that if a husband and wife or a family female relative are sitting on the bed, and a male relative or a friend happens to comefor a visit the woman has to leave her place immediately (actually, the woman has to keep an eye, that no man may see her sitting equal to man in her own home) and sits on a lower place, which means on the floor.

A widow is forbidden to bless her children at the time of marriage:- Now that the husband has died. The mother bears all the pain to rear the family and also takes responsibility to look for a suitable spouse for her boy and/or girl. It is only left to the imagination to envisage, a widow raising a family in the given circumstances! But at the time of the wedding she is not allowed to perform the wedding rituals and bless her children who are now getting married. It is considered a bad omen. How on earth, one can imagine that a mother is not allowed to bless her children, especially at such a pivotal and happy occasion. Irony was that though all agreed to this ridiculous custom yet, it was hard to change it.
As the debate went on, people were arguing from different angles to keep the traditions alive and form and inform and educate and transform the cultures, traditions and customs. On the one hand it looked as if we were going nowhere, on the other hand participants were scratching their heads, getting irritated and asking questions how and why these traditions are so binding and yet others were debating saying, what is wrong with this. It was amazing to see men and women struggling to make sense of all this. I saw that transformation was taking place right there, when all sitting on the floor (equal) trying to make sense of this all.

When this was going on I happened to ask a woman! From whom are you taking ghungato (veil-hiding face). She named a person who was sitting there. He willing stood up and openly witnessed, that I do not see much sense in this. He made the motion, came to the woman, put his hand on her head,(accepting her as a daughter or younger sister). Telling her that she no more has to do this for him. The house burst with joy and awe, spontaneously applauded at this and suddenly the atmosphere changed. It is possible they said. Each one needs to take responsibility and ought to make an effort.

We are not certain what happened when they went home to the same environment. For we know that the support these people had in the group will be hard to receive in the village they come from. More so the woman has still to face the situation outside her own house. Equally the man will have to be daring enough to respond to the people who may ask different questions. It is also a face saving situation, apart from the pressure of the society, their own honour, and the safety of their wife and children. But we are sure that change will take place and people are ready for it. We may have to take one step at a time…Liberation will come from below and transformation will take place. As a matter of fact it is already in process!

Yusuf Bagh

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Three day medical camp

Medical Camp in Khipro Parish.

October 16 – 17, 2013

 After I returned from my holidays in September, I met Doctor Shafique in Karachi and fixed the dates for a medical camp in Khipro.  We decided to hold the camp during the Eid Holidays (a three day – Muslim festival – EID-UL-AZHA); 15 – 16 – 17 October.

As we were fixing the dates we forgot that because of the Eid there will be less public transportation. With great difficulty the doctor arranged a private taxi (for five people, travelling with five or six cartons of medicines). The medical team left Karachi around 2 in the morning and arrived in Mirpurkhas around 5.30 a.m.  The driver went back to Karachi to celebrate the Eid with his family. Fr. Bhuro and master Albert drove to Mirpurkhas and brought  them to Khipro. This was an event in itself, never mind!

 

Medical Team:  The medical team consisted of: a physician (medical doctor), a dentist, a physio therapist, a dispenser, two female, one male medical staff nurses and a mid-wife! And plus us, the parish staff running around, arranging the smooth running of the camp. This looked like a hospital staff.  The team was well organized.

 

The patient would first receive an attendance receipt from one of our parish team members, with that s/he proceeded to the nurse/s. The blood pressure and the body temperature were checked. The doctor and/or dentist (from the dentist they also received tooth paste and a brush) then checked the patient/s. Thereafter they were referred to the therapist and/or to the dispensary, where the patient/s received their medicines. From there the patient would proceed to another place with the attendance receipt to receive the mosquito net.

 

This time the medical camps were held at three different places. Maluk Pohar, which is about 25 kilometers and Bangli about 70 kilometers from Khipro town. Because people were informed ahead of time, the news had already spread in the area; therefore people from surrounding  villages also benefitted from this camp.  The third camp was organised in the parish hall in Khipro. All in all about three hundred people were checked and received the medicine and mosquito nets.

 

Like always, it were children and women who mostly came for the medical check-up.  The common diseases were skin related and stomach aches. The children were weak and lean, where as the young married women either were pregnant and/or with new born babies.  Obviously malnutrition, unclean water and unhygienic environments were the major causes.

 

On the whole all ages, the pregnant women, new borns, young and old men and women got the medical attention. This was offered to all indiscriminately of race and creed. It was clear that people felt respected, and dignity of poverty was upheld, the way people presented themselves and by the behaviour of the staff.

 

We are hoping to hold one more camp in early December.  The dates are still to be decided with the  doctor. We are also thinking of hiring a full time lady staff nurse who can assist the young pregnant women and children.

 

Beside this we are also arranging a family life and health related seminar on November 9 and 10. We hope men and women from different villages will assist us to establish and make an assessment as to how we together can help the young families to live a healthy and happy life in the given circumstances (poverty and other issues around them)! And also to work out and pin point other issues besides mere poverty.

 

Yusuf Bagh.

 

Three day Medical Camp

 On March 22 to 24 St. Francis of Assisi Parish held a Medical Camp at 4 different places (Rar, Bangli, Rato Kot and Francis Nagar) in Khipro. Doctor Shafiq from Karachi came with his son Asif who is a physiotherapist, and Sister Mukhtara ( a medical nurse) came with two nurses from St. Teresa’s Hospital, Mirpurkhas.

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 Though basically the camp was for our parishners, it was open to all ages, creeds and races. People who heard from surrounding villages also came and brought their sick, On each of the places people cooperated with the team with the result that many people were able to benefit from it. At each place the medical team set up three stations; at the first station the nurses checked the patients’ blood pressure and temperature and after other required tests, they were sent to the doctor. After examining the patient the doctor sent them to the third and last station where they received the medicines.

DSC08059People couldn’t be any happier where they were treated as persons, checked lovingly and received their medicine free but with respect.

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 The medical team was impressed with the people, their cooperation, the simplicity, their approach to life. The poor health of young mothers carrying tiny malnourished children, the fatigued, feeble and elderly men and women who may not be that old in years but their wrinkles and bent backs made them look aged. The condition in which people live and still have the will to go on were enough for the doctor to assess the greater need of holding such camps.

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 We look forward to inviting them again when time and funds would permit us. We are very grateful to all who helped in this project. The visiting doctors, the nurses, friars Moghal, Louis and others. Lastly the local team in Khipro and the two students, (Shahid Fraz OMI and Sarfraz Maqbool) who are here for their pastoral semester. People are immensely thankful to all of us who made this possible. Thanks to all, who were on the scene and those who were behind the scene. Thanks.

 Yusuf Bagh.

 

 

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Hunger and Thirst know no boundaries – the story of Hemraz

Hemraz s/o Goomdo, a thirteen year old boy becomes an inspiration for his family. He has six brothers and a sister. Last year during the monsoon rains the whole region of Sindh was flooded. Many people lost their lives, crops were destroyed and hundreds of animals died. Goomdo’s hut (house) was also washed away in this flood. He found himself under the heavy shadow of clouds! He had nowhere to go.

 

On one fine day, he landed with his family at Mangho’s house in Francis Nagar, Khipro. Mangho found it too hard to show his back to Goomdo’s family at this difficult time. Mangho together with his wife  with an extended family live in a two room house (eight children of his own, six children of his married son plus the couple, and four children of his cousin).

Mangho shared with Goomdo’s family whatever he could to survive during this difficult time. Within a day or two Goomdo returned to his landlord to ask for some loan from him, but instead, the landlord started demanding money from Goomdo which he had borrowed to cultivate the land. The landlord knew well that the crop which Goomdo had borrowed money for had been flooded and destroyed. To his surprise, Goomdo returned empty handed promising his landlord to pay his debts as soon as he could!!! Goomdo found it hard to tell his family the response of the landlord…

Hemraz, the thirteen year old boy had a good news to share with his family. He told his mother, that as he was walking in the heat of the day, he saw a large crowd of people lining up for “WATAN CARDS” (a card distributed by the government for the flood affected people) in front of the Habib Bank, in Khipro town.! Hemraz felt that he could do business! He could make some money by selling drinking water to the people gathered there. But before he started this he needed to answer some questions? Where would he get water containers from and even the bigger question was, Will people buy drinking water from a Hindu boy, who belongs to a so  called untouchable caste?

That same evening father Bhuro happened to visit the family. The boy took courage and shared his thoughts with him. The boy asked him if he could help him buy water coolers for this purpose. Father Bhuro encouraged the boy and bought him two water coolers.

The next day at nine in the morning, Hemraz filled the two water coolers and sat next to the Habib Bank, in town. He still was not sure what to say if people would ask him of his caste! This fear was hovering over him until five people came around him one more thirsty than the other. They together, with one voice asked him for water. He looked up and could not believe his eyes, and went for the two glasses. He filled one and the other, and then the third and the fourth, and so it went on… To his amazement no body asked him for caste or creed. He was too busy  filling the water into the glasses and people were too thirsty to ask the boy of his caste or creed. May be they were not even interested! All they wanted was a glass of water. Hemraz had no rest that day. The people kept coming and asking for drinking water. The business went on till five in the evening. By this time he was quite exhausted, but he had a big smile on his face. He knew he had had a good day. When Hemraz entered the house in the evening his mother saw the big smile on his face, and noticed the empty coolers. She ran and hugged Hemraz. The mother started crying with joy. Hemraz started emptying his pocket filled with coins. Hurriedly they started counting the money. They counted and counted again. To their surprise, the total amount came to eight hundred and thirty five rupees. Wow! The family was delighted. But this is not the end of the story. Hemraz thought of his friends who were struggling the same way as his family. The next day he took four of his friends with him for the same business. At the end of the day they all were happy with their work. Hamraz’s pocket may have weighed a little less but the smile on his face was broader and bigger than the previous evening.

BUS RIDE

On Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in a bus at the bus stand of Mirpurkhas city, in interior Sindh.  There were very few passengers on the bus, so the driver and conductor waited for more passengers before they would eventually set off for the town of Khipro, a 75 minute journey away. Since it was a hot day, a vendor came onto the bus, carrying a jug and two glasses, hoping to sell a cold drink to some of the passengers. From his appearance, I surmised that he was a Sindhi Muslim who was working hard to eke out a living.

In the seat just in front of me sat a man and his daughter of about six years. To me, they looked like Parkari Kohli, or members of another non-scheduled-caste Tribal People that live in Sindh. When the girl asked her father to buy her a cold drink, he requested one from the vendor. In response, the vendor put the two glasses, which he held in his hands, down on an empty seat, and reached into his pocket to take out an aluminium tumbler. Then pouring the cold drink into it, he handed it to the child. When she had finished, her father ordered a drink for himself, and was given the same tumbler. Then, when he had satisfied his thirst, he paid the vendor.

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Energy for education and communication

Students of the University of Applied Sciences – Utrecht, Netherlands are supporting the Khipro Area by designing additional ‘off-grid’ energy solutions. Eduction and communication are essential for improvement of quality of life for the Parkari Kohli people. Energy plays a vital role but is scarse.. No energy, no internet or computer : thus no connection to the world. PA041640

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