In this first installment of a two-part story, broadcast journalist Faridoun Hemani describes his experience as part of a team that visited areas stricken by the 2010 Pakistan floods to document the impact of the AKDN Early Relief and Recovery Programme. The team travelled to Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, where they listened to local people recount life-changing stories.
For nearly 16 years, Shamim Hassan Shivji placed close to 100 Karachi orphans with couples from around the world. She and a neighbour routinely cared for the orphaned or abandoned infants while seeking out loving homes for them. She never charged for the service – her reward was seeing kids she placed grow up to become well-educated members of society.
When Salim Mohamed started his Time and Knowledge Nazrana assignment with AKDN project and construction management company PCM, the civil engineer brought decades of experience to the East African construction projects he was tasked with overseeing. He in turn gained valuable experience working in an African setting, and an understanding of what it’s like to work for an AKDN institution.
Over the last 25 years, AKDN has planted over 100 million trees in Asia and Africa. Many communities already recognise that sustainable agro-forestry provides dividends in the form of food, fuel and fodder, and the emergence of a global carbon market presents new opportunity.
Massive flooding last year in the regions surrounding the Indus River caused devastation, destroying more than 1.4 million acres of cropland and over one million homes. But the resilience of those affected and the compassion and generosity of those providing assistance offers hope and lessons for the times ahead.
Despite the magnitude of the disastrous flooding in Pakistan and the impact on its people, many in the international community remain unaware, and the attention garnered early on has waned. Through individual and organised institutional efforts, many Ismailis, together with others in Pakistan and around the world, have sought to raise awareness and funds to support flood relief efforts.
Millions of people throughout Pakistan have been devastated by heavy downpours and massive flooding that has been described as one of the worst disasters in the country’s history. But in the face of calamity, communities, institutions, government and civil society are coming together to help one another and rebuild lives.
Sixteen-month-old Jimla Kasenga and 61-year-old Mukadi Kabengele both have a reason to smile. Each of them underwent facial reconstructive surgery at Operation Smile’s recent medical mission to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The week-long mission was broadly supported by members of the local Ismaili community.
The Jamat in Dubai includes a disproportionate number of bachelors and young families, who, with all the pressures of work and modern life, find it difficult to prepare traditional home cooked meals. Meanwhile, many older women in the Jamat possess exceptional cooking skills and an enterprising spirit. The opportunity to come together was obvious, and led to the creation of a Golden Alliance.
In April, 13 students from Madagascar travelled to Kenya for a week-long visit. It was an opportunity for them to experience a culture outside their own, meet Ismaili students from another country, and to immerse themselves in an environment where they could improve their spoken and written English.
Earlier this year, Focus Humanitarian Assistance in North America conducted disaster management and leadership training in Houston and Toronto, for their Regional Disaster Management Teams. As a key component of the Disaster Management Programme, the training prepared community stakeholders to effectively respond to natural and man-made disasters.
Through civic engagement, humankind has refined agricultural practices, reformed education, rebuilt communities after natural disasters, and strengthened civil society. In countries around the world, Ismaili Muslims have made their own mark on history through community involvement, voluntary service, youth education and political engagement.