In Pakistan poverty is rife. In the last couple of years, the South Asian country has dealt with severe repercussions after the outbreak of Covid-19. More than 2 million people have fallen below the poverty line since the pandemic began. The lockdowns resulted in high food prices, and disruption to supply chains, making food more difficult to access.
Now, Pakistan is reeling after the devastating floods which plagued the region during the monsoon season of 2022. Tragically, these catastrophic floods have killed over 1,700 people, displaced tens of thousands and swept away homes, villages, buildings, farmland, crops and livestock. This natural disaster has pushed millions more people to the brink of poverty and homelessness, through no fault of their own.
In particular, the floods have been particularly tough for women. Worldwide, women and children are 14 times more likely to die when disaster hits, as women tend to be married young, pregnant or breastfeeding, and less likely than men to have survival skills like swimming, navigation and literacy.
This shows you the constant cycle of poverty that thousands of people in Pakistan are trapped in every day.
What problems are prevalent amongst poverty-stricken communities in Pakistan?
Unfortunately, there is a multitude of problems that come with living below the poverty line in Pakistan.
People who cannot afford the basic essentials to survive – such as food, clean water, housing and medications – are likely to experience even more barriers to positive health and well-being.
These barriers could include:
- Severe hunger and thirst.
- Inadequate medical care and lack of medical treatments.
- Chronic health conditions such as heart disease and dementia.
- Decreased life expectancy.
- Severe illness and deaths from preventable diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid.
- Malnutrition, stunted growth and severe wasting in children.
- High infant mortality rates.
- Not enough access to clean drinking water.
- Poor sanitation and toilet facilities.
- Assault and gender-based violence of girls and women who have no choice but to openly defecate.
- Limited opportunities for education (due to a shortage of schools, teachers, and teaching tools like books and blackboards).
- Forced labour- particularly among children, who have to work in hazardous, exploitative jobs to provide for their families.
- Lack of public works and infrastructure (such as roads, bridges, Internet access, and mobile phones).
- Forced marriage, child marriage and domestic violence.
- Lack of food reserves (in case of drought, famine, floods etc).
- Poor mental health, and lack of mental health awareness and training.
- Being forced to commit crimes such as stealing or prostitution, in order to put food on the table.
What campaigns does Zohra Foundation run, to alleviate poverty in Pakistan?
Sanitation is another issue in Pakistan. Around 79 million people in Pakistan do not have access to a proper toilet– in fact, the South Asian nation is the third-largest country where people practice open defecation. This can cause the spread of illnesses like bacterial infections, especially among menstruating girls and women.
Poor sanitation is a huge health hazard for the population. Not only does it lead to diseases and deaths, but it also contaminates food supplies, causes low school attendance, and increases the risk of assault of girls and women who relieve themselves outside.
Pakistan Floods Appeal
Zohra Foundation relies on donations from supporters to fund this emergency aid for the people who urgently need our help.
Following the devastating 2022 floods in Pakistan, we have been distributing cooked meals, clean water, kitchen utensils, tents and hygiene kits to address the immediate needs of the people affected.
Click here to donate to the Zohra Foundation Pakistan Flood Appeal today– so that the affected people in Pakistan can move forward and restore some normality in their lives.
Every penny helps- your donations will feed people who have no food, no shelter and no money to support themselves and their families.
At Zohra Foundation, we understand how difficult it is to be an elderly person in Pakistan. With no care homes or comfortable retirement packages, elderly people mainly live with their extended families and are looked after by their relatives.
For the millions of people in Pakistan who already live in extreme poverty, meeting all the costs for food and healthcare for elderly relatives is a real struggle.
Increasingly in Pakistan, elderly men and women are suffering from depression, financial exploitation and deprivation, which is leading to increasing suicide rates among the elderly in the region.
Zohra Foundation has witnessed that when the elderly are completely reliant on hand-outs from their relatives, it makes them feel like a burden. They are reluctant to communicate any health problems, out of fear of causing issues with their family.
For example, health issues like bladder control are taboo subjects. So, these issues are not talked about or dealt with properly by caregivers. In the long term, this causes more shame and embarrassment for the elderly within their own family.
Therefore, looking after elderly people is of paramount importance. That is why Zohra Foundation has an ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ scheme, to provide free medical treatment, food and shelter to the elderly.
For just £25 a month, you can provide the basic necessities to support an elderly person and relieve their caregivers of the financial burden.
Donating to an elderly person will offer them an opportunity to live their final days with the respect, dignity and honour that they deserve.
It is not just the elderly that we help in Pakistan. We also financially support orphans and children living in poverty.
There are thought to be around 4 million orphaned children in Pakistan. Losing one or two parents can throw a child’s future into jeopardy. Many orphans in Pakistan are affected by bereavement, poverty, natural disasters, malnutrition and disease.
In many cases, children are forced to beg in the streets or work in menial jobs to survive, which puts them at risk of abuse and robs them of education opportunities.
At Zohra Foundation, our Orphan Care Appeal ensures that orphans and impoverished children can access the essentials that they need to survive. Our aim is to provide care and financial assistance to as many of these children as we can.
For just £25 a month, you can provide free medical treatment, food and shelter to an orphan child and support to their caregivers. Give these vulnerable children an opportunity to have a better life with the dignity which they deserve.
It is our responsibility to care for orphans and we must not neglect those in need.
Click here to read our blog article on ‘how to sponsor an orphan in Pakistan?’
Age-related cataracts and blindness are devastating health issues affecting older people in Pakistan, particularly those living in poverty. When these vulnerable men and women already struggle to find the food and shelter to survive, and then they face the prospect of losing their eyesight, then any hope for the future is lost.
Many poor people in Pakistan have no choice but to live in physical pain and anguish, simply because they cannot afford life-changing medical treatments that could reverse blindness and treat eye health problems.
At Zohra Foundation, we run eye camps for vulnerable communities across Pakistan. Our trained team members carry out routine eye exams to treat existing conditions and prevent further damage. We also offer free eye surgery and free glasses, to correct near and far-sighted impairment.
Click here to donate to our Eye Camps campaign, and give the gift of sight today.
Your donations mean that there will be greater awareness of eye health issues among the wider community, which will help elderly people get the medical treatment they need.
Medical Aid in Pakistan
In Pakistan, sadly, adults and children become gravely ill and even die from preventable diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and bacterial infections.
The high cost of medical treatment in Pakistan often means that working families have to make the choice between food and medical care. The fear of causing financial pressure and shame on their families makes many of the elderly avoid discussing the issues they are facing.
Instead, they are forced to continue to suffer in silence for the rest of their lives.
Zohra Foundation has been providing free medical aid in Pakistan for years now. Our medical packs, volunteer nurses and doctors travel across Pakistan to provide lifesaving medical treatment to thousands of men and women.
Our teams offer free health screenings, free medication and free follow-up visits to help detect and manage common diseases that affect the elderly. This includes home visits, carrying out medical procedures, and supporting families of patients with ongoing counselling and medical advice.
Click here to donate to our Medical Aid in Pakistan appeal, to fund life-saving medical care for vulnerable communities across Pakistan.
Dementia is one of the leading causes of death in Pakistan, with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 patients with the syndrome. The term ‘dementia’ refers to a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, communication, reasoning and other thinking skills. These are severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks
Family members may not even know that their elderly relative has dementia, due to a lack of awareness of the condition. In South Asian countries, there is also a cultural taboo associated with mental illness and brain disorders, so dementia is not a widely talked about topic.
This means that looking after a relative with dementia is a huge burden for families, as they may not have the education, resources, money and medical treatment required for adequate care.
In Pakistan, only 10% of dementia sufferers will receive any kind of treatment. For those living alone, dementia can be a terrifying, lonely experience.
Here at Zohra Foundation, we provide dementia care for patients in need. Our dedicated dementia care team in Pakistan travel across the country to provide free psychological and medical support to patients.
We help individuals maintain their physical and cognitive well-being, and we educate caregivers about the progressive nature of the disease and consider how it can be managed at home. Without our dedicated nurses and doctors, thousands of elderly people in the country would be left neglected, isolated and struggling with this terrible condition.
Click here to donate to our Dementia Care campaign, to support vulnerable older patients with their physical and mental well-being and help eradicate the stigma of dementia in Pakistan.
Zohra Foundation is a London-based, UK-registered charity organization that aims to improve the lives of millions of orphans, widows and the elderly throughout Pakistan and respond to emergencies in other parts of the world.
Our teams are currently delivering emergency relief across Pakistan, following the devastating floods of summer 2022.
Donate to Zohra Foundation’s Pakistan Flood appeal here, or support our projects on medical aid, dementia camps, eye camps, Adopt a Grandparent scheme or orphan sponsorship scheme here.
To learn more about Zohra Foundation, visit the website here.
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