Pakistan: Emergency fund helps rural women rebuild their lives

28 February, 2012
Perveen Majeed embroidering handicrafts. Credit: IFC
Perveen Majeed embroidering handicrafts. Credit: IFC
Perveen Majeed and her family lost all their belongings during Pakistan’s devastating floods in 2010. Their home was severely damaged and Perveen’s small handicrafts business was ruined. 
As the family’s sole breadwinner, Perveen depended on the business to help feed her five children and her husband, who suffered a major accident five years ago. After the floods, she had to rely on the community’s goodwill to keep her family afloat. 
Like Perveen, more than 18 million people were affected by the floods, which destroyed 1.7 million houses in 78 of the 141 districts in Pakistan in 2010. The following year, torrential monsoon rains and severe flooding affected more than 5 million people in Sindh and Balochistan Provinces. Perveen’s village in Muzaffargarh District, Punjab, was one of the worst-affected areas in 2010. 
Perveen’s situation improved in May 2011 when a local NGO, Initiative for Change (IFC), launched its Livelihood Restoration Project to help Perveen and hundreds of women in a similar situation. With a grant of more than US$98,000 from OCHA’s Emergency Relief Fund (ERF), IFC gave the women new tools and materials to help them restart their businesses. 
The project also empowered Perveen and restored her independence. “Now I can earn my livelihood with dignity,” she said. 
Today, through her business she has been able to feed her children, send them to school and rebuild her house.   
Reporting by Laksmita Noviera/ OCHA Pakistan   

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