Our programme in Pakistan is one of our most extensive in any country in the world, reflecting widespread poverty and the heavy toll that natural disasters have taken.
Pakistan has been hit hard by numerous earthquakes, droughts and floods over the years. Reconstruction costs in the aftermath of these disasters have placed additional stresses on Pakistan’s fragile economy.
Islamic Relief in Pakistan
Islamic Relief started working in Pakistan in 1992. By initiating a child welfare and protection programme, we established ourselves as a development organisation and then expanded our work in Neelum Valley in 2001.
In 1998 we launched a project to prevent blindness, and this led to the opening of an eye hospital. This hospital and programme are still successfully operating and benefiting the community.
During the earthquake in 2005, Islamic Relief received an award for its relief efforts from the Government of Pakistan and received international acclaim for its extensive humanitarian response. In 2010 and 2011, Islamic Relief responded on a large scale to the devastating floods that hit Pakistan, with extensive emergency relief and reconstruction activities. The housing reconstruction blueprint we developed in consultation with the communities affected in 2010 became a model that was adopted by other aid agencies.
One of our post-flood reconstruction programmes, took a comprehensive and fully integrated approach to rebuilding villages, installing new water and sanitation facilities and support to help people rebuild small businesses as well as house building. The new houses built in collaboration with the community have firm foundations and brick walls so that they cannot be washed away by future floods, as well as earthquake-proof roofs.
Islamic Relief’s humanitarian work in Pakistan continues to offer the poor a route out of poverty, recently through delivering innovative projects around climate change and reducing the risk of disaster.
Over 180,000 people are better protected against climate change and natural disasters in Sindh and Balochistan – thanks to a wide-ranging £3 million Islamic Relief project co-funded by UK donors and the UK Government and implemented between 2013 and 2015.
This exciting three-year programme has made local communities more climate-proof and self-sufficient through a combination of new agricultural practices; training in disaster response and in practical skills to help people earn a better income; small enterprise grants; and new water resources – including the first solar and wind-powered water pumps in both provinces.
Islamic Relief Pakistan is also continuously improving its capacity to respond when disaster strikes through training staff and volunteers, strengthening emergency response systems, improving coordination with other humanitarian agencies and stockpiling essential food and non-food items.
This project to improve disaster response meant when a major earthquake hit Shangla and Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last year, Islamic Relief was the first aid agency to gain permission from the Government to respond, while also coordinating efforts with other NGOs to avoid duplication. Since the earthquake, food and non-food items have been stockpiled in strategic locations in readiness for future disasters.
These are just some of the many projects in Pakistan and 32 other countries that demonstrate Islamic Relief’s distinctive, innovative approach to lifting people out of poverty – captured in an inspiring new video.