The village of Ahmed Dars in the Thatta District of Pakistan was completely destroyed by the 2010 floods. After months in a camp, the villagers returned and for more than a year they lived in tents and makeshift shelters until Christian Aid partner Church World Service - Pakistan/Afghanistan (CWS-P/A) built them new homes.
In April 2012, CWS-P/A completed and handed over the first forty houses – homes that were built to better withstand floods and other disasters.
In total, our partner is providing new homes to seventy-eight households in Ahmed Dars. This is part of a much larger housing project covering seventeen villages that were worst-affected by the floods.
As well as being constructed to be disaster-resistant, the houses also include sanitation facilities.
The villagers themselves decided which families were most in need and would benefit having new homes. They were also employed to build the houses, giving them a small income and increasing their ownership of the project.
A family moves into a house that was built by Christian Aid Partner CWS-P/A
Ali Dino Malah, a recipient of a house, expressed his happiness: `Like a candle, CWS-P/A brought light in the dark moments of our life. We will try to keep our new house neat and clean.’
The housing project appears to have been the starting point for positive change within Ahmed Dars. Neill Garvie, programme manager for Christian Aid, attended the ceremony at which the first 40 houses were handed over to the village.
He said ‘I am deeply impressed by the resilience and spirit of this community. Before, the people in this village were living in mud huts which meant that when the floods hit they were extremely vulnerable.
`Now, for the first time, they are experiencing stability, security, privacy and dignity. These aren’t just houses – they have impacted people’s whole lives.’
On receiving her house during the ceremony, Janna, a sixty-five year old mother of twelve children and the president of the female village organisation, put into words what many members of the community felt: `We are thankful to CWS-P/A for giving us shelter and now we can live a good standard of life. We will make these houses homes.’