KARACHI: Heritage Foundation achieves yet another milestone. Its commitment to work on Green Shelters project made in front of the media in Makli Goth, Thatta in January 2018, under Heritage Foundation’s initiative of “Safe Shelter, Clean water for all’ has been fulfilled to a very great extent as has been brought to light in their recently published report focusing on the outcomes of the project.
The low cost integrated approach has achieved remarkable results with investment of only Rs 30,000 per household. It may be recalled that the Foundation had announced its commitment to construct 1000 shelters, 250 raised water hand-pumps, 500 eco-toilets, 1000 Pakistan chulahs, 1000 Raised platforms, 500 solar water racks and 20 Women’sCentres through this programme.
Based on the initial commitments made and steps taken, Heritage Foundation proudly reports the following results:
LOG (LariOctaGreen) Shelters
650 from the 1000 committed well-decorated, octagonal shaped, pre-fabricated bamboo paneled shelters have already been provided to the families. These homes are not only earthquake and flood resistant but their traditional vernacular-inspired conical roofs provide safety from rain and keep the shelters cool throughout the scorching summers.
325 toilet cubicles out of the 500 committed have been set up similar in construction to LOG fitted with a liquid pan WC, a cover with seat, allowing the periodic removal of waste for making organic compost, which when sold is a source of regular income, and a tiled shower space.
Raised earthen platform water pumps
Installation of 215 pumps from the promised 250 have been done, designed in two levels separating clothes washing platform from the one used to procure water for drinking.
Zero carbon fuel efficient PAKISTAN CHULAHS
600 earthen Pakistan Chulahs from the 1000 promised have been completed serving also as a family dining and socializing place. This earthen Pakistan Chulah boasts double stove combustion chambers, chimney, air regulation pipe, utensils storage, and washing area, with multiple benefits over the open floor-mounted single stove that is used throughout the country in villages.
Community WOMEN’S CENTRESand BAMBOO WORKSHOP for men
Eight Women’s Centres have been built in collaboration with the community providing assembly spaces for women, at the same time arranging workshops for income generation activities. Large-scale training for bamboo products has raised the employment level for male population in the village. This has helped many of the mendicants to begin earning by marketing simple furniture items to the proud owners of newly-built shelters from their own community.
In addition to the above, plantations have also been done. Most of the land was considered barren due to salinity in the soil. However, after excavating the lot and replacing the soil, 2600 trees, 514 bushes and Miyawaki-style community forests in 6 villages have been planted on roadside by the communities, equally involving women and children in plantation activities.
Heritage Foundation believes that just providing better living conditions to the impoverished is not the solution to the problem. Unless opportunities are provided to people to earn a decent income with dignity conditions cannot improve. With this principle in mind, Heritage Foundation has created Barefoot Entrepreneurs who are now not only earning a substantial amount to meet the needs of their families, but are also training others to do the same, through implementing skills taught by HF under its supervision along with their free supply of raw materials.
Among the success stories isKareema, the first beggar woman from the community to start earning a living, now a kashi crafter and a highly skilled glazed ceramic artisan. The production of ceramic ornaments, led by Kareema, has proved to be a great source of livelihood by marketing the jewellery and other items to the devotees coming to Makli. The production of patterned, plain and decorative tiles by training mendicant women has opened up a host of opportunities for income generation. A recent addition to women’s enterprises is the fabrication of sandals from recycled tyres and denim from old jeans, which are being sold to the women and children of the area.
Literacy – ParhoPakistan (ReadPakistan) Centre
Since education cannot be ignored when trying to uplift a community holistically and it is estimated that there are approximately 200 out-of-school children in the area, HF’s ParhoPakistan (ReadPakistan) program has also been implemented here. Through this programme children are learning sight-recognition of 150 Urdu and English words and 100 numerals in 15 segments. 50 registered children have received uniforms which has added enormously to their self-confidence. The programme prepares the children to enrol into formal schools in the area, and some beneficiaries of the programme have already enrolled.
Heritage Foundation has proved that if there is a will, there is a way. It does not take much to get beggars off the streets and to change their lives completely – and the Makli mendicant community is a living example of how quickly and at what little cost, lives can be transformed. This is a model that can be implemented anywhere in the world, if one so desires. Says in press release