The Thar Desert in east Pakistan is home to 1.5 million people across 2,300 villages and urban settlements. These people live in what the UN considers to be one of the harshest places to live on earth.
Most residents rely on farming or livestock to make a living, but they’re regularly hit by a drought or sheep pox, and the extreme climate kills thousands of cattle every year.
Poverty, population growth, a lack of clean drinking water, unemployment, and high illiteracy rates trouble this region. Add to this the lack of food, early marriages, and apparent governmental neglect, locals are left with very little hope.
In June and July 2016, we appealed to the public to support our mission of providing regular school meals to children in the Thar Desert. This project officially began in January 2017. Since then, we’ve managed to provide 10 schools with regular, nutritional school meals.
On 17th April, the CEO of Charity Right – Sajad Mahmood – along with volunteers, namely Lukman Yahya, Shahid Raqib, and Mohammad Waqas arrived in Pakistan. They wanted to find out how the 10 Charity Right supported schools were doing.
The trip to the affected areas of the Thar Desert was extremely difficult. The heat was unbearable, and the journey itself was extremely long. On arrival, our team found that the environment was made up of nothing but dried up shrubs for miles. It was a wonder that this land was home to humans when even plants couldn’t survive.
While in Pakistan, our team was of course keen to talk to children who receive Charity Right meals. They heard lots of personal stories, and it became clear that thousands of children were missing school either because schools were unable to offer clean water or because they were unable to offer food.
Our school feeding programme made a big difference to lots of people. One child told us that his parents now allowed him to go to school because they knew he’d have a guaranteed meal. Where even parents can’t feed their children, the school feeding programme becomes integral to keeping these children healthy and alive.
We want to maintain these food provisions and expand our programme to other schools in the area. Donating as little as £10 can feed a child in the Thar Desert for a whole month.
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