Published: 11:00 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 29 May 2012
Pakistan floods update: Barnabas helps Christians to re-establish livelihoods
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan
Ongoing support from Barnabas Aid is helping Christian families affected by the floods in Pakistan to re-establish their livelihoods and send their children back to school.
Vast swathes of the country were submerged by floodwaters in the summer of 2010, which destroyed 1.7 million homes and over 5.4 million acres of farmland. Just as people were starting to rebuild their lives, the country was hit by flooding again the following year.
Barnabas provided the seed for this Christian family’s wheat field
Barnabas Aid has been helping Christian families affected by the crises from the beginning. After providing emergency aid in the initial stages, we established a regular food programme, which supplies monthly packages to 909 families. We are also continuing to rebuild and repair homes.
Many farmers lost their livelihood as a result of the destruction of farmland. A quarter of farmers missed the winter planting season last year because their land was still submerged or they did not receive help in time.
Among the families that Barnabas is supporting, around 200 are farmers, of whom 80 own some land, while the others are impoverished daily labourers or tenants.
In November last year, we provided 32 Christian families in Rangpur, southern Punjab, with seed and fertilizer for sowing winter wheat crops. They are now reaping the benefit of the March harvest: it has provided for their own food needs, and the profits are helping them to pay off the debts they have incurred as a result of two years without harvests.
Barnabas Aid is also building a school and church in the same area.
Fifty Christian farming families, in Sanghar District, Sindh, which was one of the worst-affected areas, have also received help from Barnabas Aid. We provided them with rice seed, which they sowed in April this year.
Back to school
The successive floods caused a drastic decrease in the number of children going to school in Pakistan; school buildings were damaged and destroyed, while some were turned into shelters for homeless families.
The great losses incurred by families as a result of the floods meant that many could no longer afford to send their children to school when classes resumed.
But thanks to the food packages from Barnabas Aid, which free up some of the families’ meagre income, many Christian parents have been able to send their children back to school.
One of them, Arif, lost everything in the floods. He told a visiting Barnabas staff member that he had been feeling very uncertain about his family’s future and was praying to God for help. Arif said that God answered his prayers by sending Barnabas Aid. The provision of food has enabled him to set aside money for books and school uniforms for his children.
Saba and her two siblings are now also going to school. The basic tent that the family lives in was damaged by the floods, and their daily existence is a struggle; to prepare a meal they have to walk some distance to fetch water and cut wood from the forest.
Our Christian partners in Pakistan who hand over the monthly food packages to Saba’s family said:
If you did not help us, this progress and prosperity would not have been possible.