As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the globe the working-class labouring colonies of Pakistan are hit the hardest as the imposed lockdown bites hard.
BACA answered the call of many families of Green Town in Lahore to drop much needed food aid to the desperate starving community, which is made up of mostly of hard working low paid labourers. Before the lockdown the families were surviving on a hand to mouth daily wage.
However, when their employment was temporarily terminated due to lockdown restrictions, these families soon realised how bleak their immediate future was.
Food parcels were prepared by BACA, each of which will feed families of around 5-6 people with enough food for a month.
BACA representative Haman Masih arrived at the colony on 15th April after seeking permission from local authorities, to distribute the food and leave immediately. His team of volunteers maintained social distancing throughout the delivery.Food parcels were left outside the houses of people who had began rationing food, some of which had not eaten for a few days.
The Pakistan government has prevented outsiders from entering towns in which they do not reside, unless for emergency purposes. No unnecessary movement is permitted within the area and BACA staff were stopped and questioned several times, but our prior approval ensured our target families were all reached.
Overall, 15 families were helped by BACA all of whom were praying for God’s intervention as their financial situation worsened. Families had been rationing food, sometimes only one meal a day, while others had suffered the adversity of a few days without food before we arrived. Food and fiscal help promised by the government never materialised for any of these Christian families.
You can hear testimonies from some of those who received aid in the embed below, or in this (link):
Our officer Haman Masih was buoyed by the fact that these families still exhibited the joy of the Lord, despite their condition.
Without any savings or hope of earning enough to feed themselves they still trusted that God would provide. Though cooped up in small houses with 6-7 other family members they still arose and joined communal family prayers and exhibited a wonderful
Widow Jameela Bibi (70 yrs), worked as a house maid prior to the lockdown. Jamela has one son who works as a helper in a barber shop.
Jameela explained her circumstances to BACA, she said:
“The lockdown had me very frightened, I did not know how I could pay my rent or utility bills which my daily work enabled me to cover.
“I knew finding food was going to be hard but trusted God for provision – know I can drop this worry and focus on resolving other financial matters on a full belly.”
“I held fast for 3 days for help from God and he has answered my prayers by sending you.
“I am so thankful to God and BACA for reaching us as we have grown tired of the false promises from the government”
Bushra Bibi (43 yrs), worked as a nanny within a private school. Bushra has 6 children and is the sole earner in her family. She gave an account of her situation, Bushra said:
“Already we are living in severe poverty as all of us survived on my small salary of 8000 PKR (£38).
“None of my children are attending school as I can’t afford their school expenses, they all stay at home.
“My eldest daughter Samreen is 15 years old and thus too young to be employed to support the family.
“I was forced to borrow money from a nanny colleague to provide one meal a day for the last three days. “
She wept as she described that she would be overjoyed to see her children not having to sleep on an empty stomach. BACA will stay in touch with her to ensure her young children remained nourished throughout the lockdown.
Sameena Bibi (45 years), works as a cleaner at a service station in Lahore and receives a monthly income of 10000 PKR (£48). She has three children who all attend local schools, but find themselves at home due to the lockdown.
Sameena explained to Haman Masih that her employee promised to pay her salary for the month of April, but now he is not answering her calls.
Worried about her future, she said:
“I am scared that I will lose my job and that after this pandemic is over, I will face further financial problems.“
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced another two-week extension to the ongoing lockdown following rising numbers of Coronavirus cases in the country.
However, he said, the government had decided to reopen several “low-risk” industries, including construction, agriculture, e-commerce, paper and packaging and others to resume the business activities, and to stem a deepening economic meltdown caused by the Coronavirus crisis.
“I totally understand the hardships being faced by the poor due to the lockdown. That’s why we have decided to move forward with a policy, which can not only ensure social distancing but also reduce the economic burden on the low-income class.”
A lockdown on all public gatherings and the closure of educational institutions and non-essential businesses remains in place until at least April 30.
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