IRC’s Khairpur and Hyderabad camps: Eid report by Sadiqa Salahuddin

Eid distribution at IRC camp - Sadiqa Salahuddin (in cap)

Sadiqa Salahuddin, a dear family friend, has been working in the Khairpur area for over a decade, providing education to children there (mostly girls) through her Indus Resource Centre (IRC). Since the floods hit, they have turned their energies towards relief work.

Here’s an update from her, received this morning, about Eid, the festival that marks the end of the month of fasting, in the IRC camps:

September 14, 2010
Dear Friends,

Eid in a Tent City was a unique experience of my life. I do not remember seeing so many happy faces around on Eid as I saw this year. This might seem contrary to what we are hearing and watching on television about the deprivation and gloom among internally displaced persons (IDPs) on Eid. I have no doubt about media portraying realities but what I am saying is real too. A young journalist has captured Eid in our Tent City in Tribune. Please see this report Learning to say ‘I love you’

Eid in Sehwan Camp

Thanks to all of you who sent us donations and thanks to the untiring efforts of IRC staff that made this Eid a memorable day for 687 children (out of a total population of 1,221) of IRC Tent City in Khairpur and all our team. Preparation for Eid, along with setting up of the Tent City, was a great challenge. The staff collected information about age and sex of each and every child so that clothes and shoes to size could be purchased and prepared. With clothes and chappals, artificial jewelry, ponies, catchers, bangles, henna, small toys and sweets were also added in their Eid bags.

Distribution of Eid bags to 195 families of different sizes and backgrounds, a day before, was a nightmare but we devised ways of making it transparent and just. All this was found worth the effort when children with happy faces, clean clothes, chappals in their feet, henna on small palms, and jewelry all over greeted us the next morning. The adults although complaining about not getting new clothes, were busy in cleaning the place with brooms and picking the trash to be thrown in the bin. In solidarity, IRC team also did not wear new clothes. Eid was a relaxed and enjoyable day in our Tent city, with no anxiety and no signs of mistrust. In the morning, our team went to every tent to greet them and to give them mithai, Eid money, bangles for women, and small gifts for children.

Singing and dancing during Eid at an IRC camp

Soon we noticed that a group of internally displaced persons (IDPs), both men and women, spontaneously prepared a stage in public area and started singing happy songs in Sindhi while little girls danced on the beat. What if the homes were washed away or harvest is destroyed, they have learned to ignore their worries for a while and be contented with what they have. Eid for them was a good time in the new environment with new friends.

While all this was happening in Khairpur, another team was working with a group of 100 families consisting of 796 persons near Hyderabad Toll Plaza. In my last note, I mentioned this emerging cluster which has not yet shaped as a complete camp. It is a small effort to provide basic shelter, ration for 100 families for about a week to ten days and 200 gifts including girls’ and boys’ clothes, toys, biscuits, stationery and sweets to 100 affected families. Since they are using unfiltered water from the nearby canal, we have given them water purifying tablets with instructions about their use.

We did not forget our camp school children in Dadu and Sehwan where 301 children are registered. A team from Sehwan and Dadu spent their Eid with those children. We could not distribute clothes and shoes but we did celebrate Eid with songs, dances, juices and sweets.

We feel that we have now learned the art of camp management and the skills to gain people’s trust. The team has internalised the basic principles of participation, respect for the right to life with dignity, building capacities in the process, increasing social awareness and creating a demand for public services, and most of all mobilizing them for positive thinking and action. We want to use this learning for the benefit for many more but we have serious resource constraints. If we can get some more donations, we can at least develop Hyderabad cluster into a similar city as Khairpur and can organize many other camps.

Please forward this request to others as well. Donate us and visit us with our partner IDPs. Bank details:

Title of account:  Indus Resource Centre
Bank: Habib Bank Ltd.
US$ account no. : 00120250022610
PKR account no.: 00120001651403B
Branch Code: 0012
Address: Zamzama Branch, D.H.A Phase V, Karachi

With camp management, other interventions on a large scale such as installation of temporary latrines, distribution of food and non-food items, organising health camps at many locations, providing food to stranded families of a few villages, distribution of hygiene kits etc are going on in various locations of Khairpur, Dadu and Jamshoro districts. I will give an update with the next report.

We need your financial and moral support.
Sadiqa Salahuddin

One Response

  1. […] This cup of tea was served by: Journeys to democracy […]


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