Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hum Hain Na!

Quoting the Social Butterfly in Friday Times why ask the UN wallahs to help us when it comes to the refugees from Swat. ‘Kyoon ji?’ Hum sub kiss liye hain?

So please reach to your wallets "thoda hawa aaney do" air it a bit now. Those who are in the region put on your sneakers and volunteer your services.

And if you are looking for a trustworthy project working for the IDPs, and dont know who to approach...I can vouch for these sweet hearts.


Dear friends,

We (IBX partners, colleagues, friends and families) are setting up a community kitchen for the IDPs of Malakand District. This community kitchen will be located at Government High School No. 3, Golden Cinema Road, in Mardan. There are approximately 250 to 300 IDP families camped around this school. This means around 2000 individuals, mostly women, children and the elderly. They only have very basic shelter facilities around this place and there is no planned arrangement of feeding these brothers and sisters for now. In coordination with the local authorities, we have volunteered to help set up a community kitchen for this camp.

Our planned scope of activity

Our intention is to provide 2 free meals per day for at least 30 days (initially) for the whole community. A basic meal per person costs around Rs. 30/- and for a group of 2000, this will cost be Rs. 60,000 per meal for the community. For serving 60 community meals in 30 days we need to have Rs. 3.5 to 4 million approximately. We are starting with Rs. 1 million from amongst ourselves and invite you all to join us in raising the rest.

We are keeping the scope of our work very defined/focused and are doing so intentionally. This will help us conduct our activities in a very organized manner and there is very limited chance of undeserving individuals misusing something like this (A meal is a meal and what else can you do with it except eating it J)

All this effort is on a very personal level (no NGO, politicians, company or any such thing). We are going to be setting up the camp in this school by tomorrow and we will start serving the meals the day after (14th May, Thursday). We can also use volunteers to physically help out with the work in the kitchen and distribution. In fact we can use all the helping hands available. Serving food to 2000 individuals twice a day is a lot of work.

Our planned accommodation for all volunteers is in tents with very basic facilities and the work is not for those who cannot handle rough environs. Some of you were with us in Earthquake relief work and would remember the conditions then. I can tell you that this is on a much larger scale but thankfully with much lesser number of physically injured. The conditions for relief work are equally tough this time around.

You can contact any one of us for donating or volunteering:

1. Farhan Butt 0333-5710000

2. Khurram Dar 0333-5720000

3. Usman Butt 0345-5007247

4. Amir Wattoo 0321-5540000

5. Habib Ahmad 0334-5132668

May Allah give us all the strength to help our brothers and sisters of Malakand in their hour of need.

Best wishes,


Dear Friends,

We visited the various IDP camps in and around Mardan today. There are still a lot people coming out of Swat. It’s a mass migration of very ill equipped and helpless people.

After discussions with the IDPs/local volunteers and taking into account the realities on ground, we have finalized the following additions/changes to our original plan:

1. The location of our Community Kitchen Camp has been changed to Govt. Primary School No. 01, Kasorona, Swabi Road, Mardan. Security wise this location has a better layout (important for safe storage of rations and volunteers) and has a regular supply of clean water from its own tubewell (essential for hygienic cooking). There are 4 other schools in this vicinity, where the IDPs have taken shelter and will be serviced from our kitchen.

2. We have added a few electric water chillers with water filters to our plan. This was an insistent demand from the reps of the IDPs and local volunteers. Most of the IDPs are from Swat and are not used to the hot weather. Children are having an especially tough time in adjusting.

3. We are adding a daily quota of milk for the infants and smaller children (requirement from IDPs). Probably some Energile or Sorbet type soft drinks for the grown ups (our own idea).

4. We may have to adjust the total number of IDPs covered in the scope of our work (downwards) to include these specific additions in what we are offering.

We have put together the first batch of required supplies and our team (9 volunteers) will leave from Islamabad tomorrow afternoon to set up this camp. We plan to serve 800 meals for dinner tomorrow night (Inshallah) and ramp it upwards in the following days.



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