After Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan introduced a country-wide lockdown on 22nd March, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. We predicted that thousands of Christians would die form either starvation, depression or the virus itself (click here). We immediately set about travelling to poverty-stricken Christian communities across Pakistan to provide food supplies and prayers. Here are accounts from 8 of the families we have helped so far:
British Asian Christian visited the community of Momin Pura a rural area near Wagha Border Lahore to distribute food supplies to cover the next two weeks. Our aid was in response to families who had been calling us for help after being laid of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Our youngest officer Hamman Kallis travelled late at night to help families left without food due to a shortage in local stores and a lack of money to pay for a supply of resources for the government imposed lockdown, which began on March 22nd.
Emmanuel Masih (26 yrs) was a a Rickshaw driver before the lockdown, but now he has no income. He is the only earning hand in his family and is supporting his mother and two young sisters. He has been worried about how to feed his family. Emmanuel spoke to BPCA and said:
“These are difficult times for everyone, I know but when the lock down began my heart sank.
“My family have been feeling great despair we did not know how we were going to feed our three children.
“Today, we can join the rest of Pakistan and fight against the Coronavirus without any fear.
“God has been merciful to us and we praise His holy name!”
Mushtaq Masih (35 yrs), is a mason by profession, who was paid on a daily basis. When Prime Minister Imran Khan declared a Coronavirus lockdown all construction work was stopped. Staying at home has meant he has no income and food in his home was drying-up fast as his children are off from school too. His wife Martha (27 yrs) and he were both very frustrated about the situation and concerned about the rapidly depleting food in his house. He spoke with BACA and said:
“I have 4 small children who are used to me bringing food home to be cooked fresh every day.
“But for 3 days they saw me stuck at home.
“Food was being rationed by my wife and the children could sense our upset.
“There is no exact date for when this situation will end and just felt devastated, till this food arrived.
“BACA have turned our crying into a time of joy – we thank God for his mercy.”
Iqbal Masih (36 yrs) works in an electric wire making factory, but worked stopped when the lockdown was imposed. There is no sick pay or grants being offered via the government for those who are laid off yet, as they plan what to do. Iqbal and his wife Sumaira (28 yrs) have five children they all rely on his earnings. He said:
“While my children are off school they crave for more food – I think this is because of boredom.
“My wife and I have been worried how we could possibly feed them during this lockdown.
“We don’t have anyone who we can borrow from – everyone is suffering.
“The food given provides us with renewed hope, thank you.”
Sadiq (55 yrs) has been working as a security guard. His monthly income works out less than his expenditure and during the current lockdown, his financial circumstances have reached a nadir. By the time our officer Hamman had met with his wife Martha (48 yrs) the couple had been rationing their meagre reserves for a few days and were weak and hungry. Martha wept when she saw her gift, she said:
“God never forsakes His people.
“I was in the pit of despair but He has restored me.”
Martha gave prayers and thanked all those who are contributing to this effort.
Nasreen Masih (44 yrs) works as a housemaid in the homes of different Muslim families. Due to the spread of Coronavirus she was laid of work before the lockdown as her employers were fearful of infection. Her husband Rafaqat (51 yrs) is unable to work because he suffers from severe diabetes so she has been the main breadwinner for many years. They have one young son who is now off school. Before being laid off work, Nasreen supplemented her income by bringing food leftovers from meals served to her employers. Now she has neither an income or the unwanted food and could not see any way forward. Nasreen spoke with BACA and said:
“No words can describe how I feel today.
“I have cried daily since the lockdown was imposed.
“I have eaten nothing as my husbands health is so poor and my child is young and growing.
“I could not understand why God was so angry with me it had left me broken.
“Even then in my deepest anguish, I prayed to Him seeking help.
“He has gone beyond my prayers today and I will weep again.
“This time, however, I shed tears of Joy – for His love endures forever.”
Saima (42 yrs) has two children, her husband Mahmood (46 yrs) is a labourer in the construction industry and is paid daily. The family were also rationing food as they did not even have a penny in reserve. They borrowing food from neighbours to survive until visited by BACA. Saima, said:
“I am so emotional right now, this was so unexpected.
“I asked my local church for help and received none, most of our friends and family have ignored our plight because they suffer too.
“The few friends that have helped are in dire straights themselves and we will share some back with them now.
“To me this food is my miracle – my family will now eat and not fear for the next few weeks.
“I thank God he listens to our prayers despite our insignificance – he is great and mighty.”
her to receive a food bag in a severe crisis. She thanked God and prayed for BACA to continue doing this kind of act.