In the early days of August, the British Asian Christian Association (BACA) stepped forward to provide essential food aid to several Christian families residing at Khwaja Stop in Sindh.
These families, grappling with the aftermath of work loss caused by heavy rains in July 2023, reached out to BACA for support.
Our connection with the community, was established through a volunteer in Sindh who had witnessed BACA’s previous assistance to flood victims in the region the year before.
Last year, Pakistan faced unprecedented rainfall that led to devastating floods across the country. The continuous downpour resulted in widespread destruction, claiming thousands of human lives, hundreds of thousands of livestock, and vast acres of farmland. The severity of the situation prompted a national emergency declaration to address the unprecedented rains.
While this year’s rains were less severe than the previous year, they still significantly impacted vulnerable communities, particularly the farm workers in Sindh. Most of these workers, often Christian families and low-caste Hindus, reside in small groups on land provided by Muslim landlords. They earn meager wages for their hard work in the fields, cultivating and harvesting seasonal crops.
Hero Masih, a local resident employed in cotton picking, shared his experience: “We were hopeful for a better season this year, thinking we could repay the loans we took last year to survive the terrible rains. However, our hopes were shattered when continuous rain destroyed acres of cotton fields. Faced with hungry families, we turned to BACA for help.”
The Christian families at Khwaja Stop not only struggled with the loss of income but also faced challenges in accessing clean water. These families lack a water pump, making it difficult to provide their families with this essential resource. The financial constraints of these poor families make it nearly impossible to purchase and install a water pump on their own.
Prabhu Das, an evangelist at Khwaja Stop, emphasized the water scarcity issue: “Water is a major problem faced by Christian families at Khwaja Stop. A water pump located in a nearby garden owned by a Muslim is the source of water for use in our homes.” However, the journey to this distant source poses risks, especially for women and children who must traverse a lonely road across fields to collect water.
Salomi, a local resident, expressed the community’s fears: “We are afraid when we go to collect water. The presence of dogs and other animals terrifies us.” She highlighted the challenges faced by women and children in this endeavor, especially when men are away working in the fields until late evening. Pregnant women, in particular, find it difficult to carry water buckets over such long distances.
The women have conveyed their need for a toilet facility connected to the pump. In the region, women are vulnerable to the threats of kidnapping and assault while resorting to open fields for toileting. The facility should be situated not too far from the hamlet where these women reside, allowing them to travel in pairs for enhanced safety. Implementing a project of this nature would contribute significantly to restoring dignity to the lives of some of Pakistan’s most underprivileged citizens.
In response to the pressing needs of these families, the seven Christian families at Khwaja Stop have earnestly requested BACA to install a water pump in their locality. This appeal reflects the ongoing struggle of vulnerable communities in the aftermath of natural disasters, and BACA’s intervention serves as a beacon of hope for those in need. We’re eager to turn this vision into reality, but we need to raise £750 to establish a clean water pump and toilet facility for these families. However, achieving this goal relies on the generosity of our supporters. If you’ve been touched by the struggles of these families, we invite you to contribute to our cause. Your donation can make a significant impact—please consider donating (here).
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“We find ourselves in the 21st century, yet a significant number of Christians in Pakistan endure abject poverty, residing in areas devoid of convenient access to clean water.
“This challenging situation is further compounded by the financial constraints that prevent these families from sending their children to school.
“For many, the absence of nearby educational institutions perpetuates a cycle of illiteracy, compelling generation after generation to engage in menial labor.
“These families endure not only physical health challenges but also struggle with mental well-being.
Their solace often lies in their unwavering faith in God.”
Long windy paths create vulnerability for women and children.