Ram Bai or Pholli as her friends call her, visits her temple every morning where she enthusiastically chants holy songs to please her deities and show her gratitude. Born in a lower-caste Hindu family, 19-year-old Pholli lives in a remote, underprivileged and ultra conservative village called Ranchor Kohli. Its stifling and conservative culture frowns upon the education and free movement of girls. This stifling environment made Pholli even more determined to make something of her life and the lives of her parents and three siblings.
Pholli remembers when in 2009, HDF first opened its organization’s office in Ranchor Kohli with the slogan, “help people help themselves” and with the aim to help all villagers irrespective of any specific community or caste. Realizing the dire need for education, HDF began a non-formal school, which proved a turning point for Pholli. She joined the school and completed her education till grade five; soon after she joined another HDF program – the Community Health Worker (CHW) Program where she was trained to raise awareness on personal hygiene, preventative health care and girl child rights.
However, continued financial hardships strengthened Pholli’s determination to further educate herself; she went on to complete her studies and became a qualified midwife. Now Pholli works in the local area spreading awareness about family planning and provides antenatal and postnatal services; in this way Pholli helps improve the quality of women’s lives while earning a good livelihood for herself.
Pholli was grateful that she had the support of HDF which provided her with opportunities to learn, earn a good livelihood and further enhance her skills. She always wanted to study, and was motivated by the Social Organizers who were women, just like us, but educated, confident and aware of everything.
Not being aware about contraceptives methods, we used to have big families. Now, I am aware, and being a CHW, I spread awareness about contraceptives, sanitation, health and hygiene in my locality.
Iqra (which means to read) was born in straw hut in a village where traditionally girls were not allowed to go to school. Growing up, Iqra constantly yearned to read and write and after much persistence, finally convinced her parents to let her attend the local primary school established by HDF. Later, applying the same tenacity and strength of character, Iqra left her village to attend college in the nearby city of Tando Muhammad Khan, and then successfully completed her M.Sc. in Mathematics from Sindh University, Jam Shoro.
After graduating from university, Iqra returned to her village equipped with a degree, and passion to teach young boys and girls. Iqra knew that she was needed there and wanted to make the path to learning an easier one for others. She joined the HDF Secondary School in the nearby village of Kapoor Moree, where she now teaches mathematics.
Iqra is grateful for HDF’s impact in every aspect of her life. With her livelihood as a teacher, she can now afford to send her two brothers to university to study engineering.
It is crystal clear HDF is living up to its promise of quality education. It is changing the mindset of our children and giving them hope and skills to follow their dreams. Previously, our children were not motivated and did not even go to school but now they are performing exceptionally well.
Muhammad Asim, an energetic 28-year-old young boy was struggling to get a job. He had studied up to Intermediate (high-school) but had no skills that could make him employable. He was desperate as he wanted to support his father who was a carpenter earning a menial wage. Asim met one of HDF’s social organizers who told him about the newly launched technical training program to help youth learn and update their skills according to the needs of the job market. After contacting the Village Development Organization (VDO) he joined the six month long Basic Computer course. Soon after completion of the course, Asim was employed earning a salary enough to meet his educational expenses.
Asim decided to complete his graduation (B.A) and also enrolled into an advanced computer course to further improve his skills while working at a lawyer’s office. Currently, he is working as a Customer Relation Officer for a mobile company and earning enough to support his family.
My achievement is due to my mother’s prayers and the support of HDF. Without the backing of HDF, I would have been educated but with zero skills and hence, unemployed. They taught me the right skills which made me relevant for the current job market. Thank you HDF!
Naila was 20 when she got married to Qaiser. They live in village Pind Mistarian where HDF has a primary healthcare facility offering reproductive health services since 2002. Naila conceived soon after her marriage, but due to malnourishment, she miscarried. Shortly after, Naila conceived but miscarried again. The two miscarriages within the first year of her marriage took a toll on Naila’s physical and mental health.
During routine door-to-door visits of HDF’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the village, Naila shared her plight. The CHW immediately registered Naila for HDF’s Preventive Healthcare Program and referred her to the Community Health Centre (CHC). After examination, the doctor prescribed Naila medicines and told her what to eat to bring her health back. The doctor also consoled her emotionally and psychologically and gave her hope that her dream of becoming a mother would indeed become a reality.
Naila dutifully followed the HDF doctor’s advice, ate well, and stayed hopeful. Soon she was pregnant again. The HDF health staff checked on Naila frequently throughout her pregnancy. Regular counselling sessions helped her and her family to deal with the fear of abortion. Naila carried the baby to full term and gave birth to a healthy boy. She along with her husband and family are extremely grateful to the HDF health team who stood by her in such a difficult time and with their support is now enjoying this bundle of joy.
All women and girls need and have the right to comprehensive, essential and lifesaving health services.
Basti Rahim De Wahi is a small village, 7-8km away from Rahim Yar Khan city, with the population of approximately 2,751. This Basti started facing the challenge of clean drinking water after establishment of a sewage treatment plant for Rahim Yar Khan city, nearby Basti Rahim De Wahi. People started feeling odor and change of color in ground water. When problem escalated and it became unbearable, Village Development Organization (VDO) – Kehkashan – approached HDF team for water interventions.
HDF team along with VDO and community decided to install water filtration plant for clean drinking water, after survey. A water filtration plant of 5000 gallon capacity was installed, relieving the residents. March 31st, 2018 proved a day when people of community gathered around filtration plant, kids danced jubilantly.
To encourage women participation, Farzana Shabbir was trained for operating filtration plant on voluntarily basis. Today, community is managing the filtration plant and enjoying clean drinking water.
Our children were exposed to harmful environment but now we are happy that not only our kids but kids from neighbor village are getting benefit from filtration plant.