Hope in a small Christian community within Bahawalpur, in the Punjab comes in the form of two new born babies, twin sisters who have yet to be named by
their mother. Humaira (22 yrs) is waiting for a date for the children to be dedicated in their local church by which time two appropriate names
will have been chosen after some prayerful reflection.
The births took place on 17th September 2017 at Bahawulpur Hospital, only 3 months after the father of the two children was killed in a tragic accident
when he went to clean a sewer at Sadiq Public School.
In total 3 men passed away including the father of these twins, in the filth and scum of a Pakistani sewer where they worked as professionally as possible
despite a lack of training, safety equipment or processes. The incident took place on 3rd July 2017 and has barely been mentioned in any media
because no-one cares about these insignificant lives – only their families. Read more about the preventable deaths (click here)
Christian sewage workers maintain their dignity through committing themselves to hard work and taking a sense of pride in their essential service,
in spite of their low pay and untouchable status. However inevitably each employee knows that any day at work could be their last. While the
men work their wives pray for their safe return home, hoping God will bless their family and one day bring an escape from the hardships they face.
Even though an early death by those working in this field is expected, the death of Danish Masih (20 yrs) came as a complete shock to Humaira who found
herself 5 and a half months pregnant and without anyone to support her. Humaira had only been married for a year but had doted on her husband,
a man who she thought she would build a new life with. The young couple had planned to ensure their children were well educated and would have
a chance at forging a real career and good future for themselves. They had seen a cousin’s child progress well through school with chances for
decent employment and they wanted the same for their offspring.
Danish beamed when he discovered his wife was pregnant and had shared Indian sweets with all his friends and close neighbours. Humaira told us that
knowledge of his expected child gave him a new reason to live, he had a huge spring in his step from and revelled in his anticipation.
Danish, slaved away at his work and built up a good reputation as an attentive employee who would go the extra mile to ensure a task was completed
to a high standard. He was not paid anymore than others, but had the respect of his employers and colleagues – all he wanted was to be able to
ensure food was on his table and a roof over the heads of his family members. Unfortunately for him this meant that when hard tasks had to be done
and especially when they had to be done quickly, employers knew they could count on him – even though they did not reciprocate the commitment shown
by undertaking an environmental safety check or providing any safety gear or training.
So as you can imagine, when Danish was killed in a utterly preventable accident Humaira just broke down and wept – moments later the anger inside welled
up as she thought of the shady employers who had caused the death of her husband through lack of investment. So much so that Humaira and the
others wives and friends of the dead sewage workers started a campaign to bring change to the situation faced by disenfranchised Christian sewage workers
it worth writing about. Three deaths of ‘filthy’ Christians just did not have the emotional impact to stir the rigid hearts of Pakistanis.
Please support the brave campaign led by these women by signing our petition (click here)
The only compensation offered to Humaira was a cleaning job by the former employers of Danish seemingly oblivious to the physical restrictions placed
on an expecting mother or the time constraints on a new mother. A sad indictment of how worthless a Christian life is in a nation intolerant to non-Muslims.
Fortunately for Humaira, BPCA stepped in and filled the gap and we paid for her hospital treatment. We have also been covering the lost salary
of her husband which we have committed to until her children enter full-time education. We are also hoping to pay for the education of these two children
and hope that one day they can improve their future and the quality of life of their mother, through a good education leading to better employment
“I was totally devastated when Danish died, he was so young and he never got to see either of his two daughters. He had waited for the delivery of his child with great expectation, if he was here today his heart would have overflowed with joy at seeing his two girls – but this joy was taken from him.”
“I am angry and upset that nothing has been done to change the lives of so many Christians who serve in the sewage industry, these people place their lives at risk and suffer bullying and harassment, yet they continue to serve with great diligence.
“When I think of my future without Danish it is with great trepidation. I am grateful to BPCA who have helped me stay on my feet without them I would be helpless. They are going to provide me with training and a chance to start up a business and I am eager to begin this new venture, I will do anything to make the lives of my children more secure.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
We are committed to supporting this family for as long as it is necessary and the undertaking will require a long term commitment. Humaira does not have a home of her own and is living with her in-laws. Although this is not yet an issue we shall be monitoring her situation. For now however we seek the assistance of those moved by the plight of this young family. If you would like to donate towards sustaining this young family over the next few years please (click here)