Project Audacious Hope is a project serving an original group of 2,000 (in September 2009) minorities, in a makeshift camp at the fringe of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. They were abject poor and largely illiterate; worse, after being defrauded in a land scam, they became so impoverished they could not even afford to rent space in the slums to sleep.
Given that their situation was brought to our attention, we have faith that our focus on sustainable development would be fruitful here, daunting though the odds seemed. Hence, we adopted these people and served them wholeheartedly, pro bono. We aimed to stabilize their condition in the short run, and in the medium term, help them stand on their own feet.
Preparation in advance of the first mission in November 2009, focused on understanding the context and triaging the different accounts, to inform our plan of action. This “pre-work” included not just good estimates of the camp population and key challenges, but also a legal brief on the regulatory powers of the Capital Development Authority (“CDA”) – the pivotal agency here.
Our goal of supporting these displaced people to stand on their own feet (by 2015), means that the project core comprises of:
- Targeted job training for adults and school dropouts, to raise employability and income levels,
- Education for children so that they can have better job prospects, and hopefully have a lower propensity of being conned, thus addressing the root cause of their predicament
- Housing – a basic human need, and also important in improving hygiene and health, as well as providing a decent environment for study and rest.
In the short run, we of course needed to keep them alive with food aid, while we conduct detailed due diligence to ensure a strategy tailored to their needs, and ground realities in Pakistan, as well as build an expert network to inform our approach.
This project has, to date, been fully privately funded by clients and friends of PhilanthropyWorks, in observance of Singapore’s regulations on private fundraising.
PhilanthropyWorks kickstarted the funding and fully sponsored the first 3 missions to Pakistan. This meant that all donations from 2009-1H2010 went entirely to direct aid – in the form of food and blankets.
This S$10,000 amount was fully matched by a client and a humanitarian couple; other friends in Singapore and Pakistan also contributed generously, allowing quarterly missions till January 2011. The subsequent assassination of the Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, with whom we had met and collaborated, gave us pause. We finally returned in December 2012 mission, fully sponsored by a well-wisher.
Corporate donors also stepped up, including Cathay Pacific for a subsidized RT ticket to Pakistan, Singapore Airlines for a one-way ticket on their last Singapore-Lahore flight (the founder swam back), and Fotohub for their kind sponsorship of photo development for a humanitarian forum to share about the project.
Many others supported us in prayer. We are very grateful to all of you for your grace and kindness, and for making this a better world for our fellow brothers and sisters.
Going forward, we project a total investment of S$120,000 for the next two years, to conclude our project. This includes the launch and completion of the job training of all adults and teenage school dropouts, as well as to provide scholarships and nutritional sustenance (to optimize learning and project effectiveness) to children of large or distressed families.
Interested donors, please email Angel@PhilanthropyWorks.asia for a detailed project proposal, as well as prior trip reports.
Baseline income support, people kept alive with food aid (pix of food distribution)
The next phase, beginning in March/April 2013 depending on fundraising progress, will focus on targeted job-training for this community, to raise their income security and income levels. Discussions with UNDP and job training experts point to construction and plumbing offering . This may be supplemented with a few artisanal positions in marblework etc to fully cater to the displaced’s interests while testing market support.
The other key plank of our project going forward, is education, to eliminate the root cause of their misery – the naivette that resulted in the adults’ believing that PKR2000-3000 was sufficient to buy them land in the capital to build a house, and thus being scammed of pretty much all their money.
Potential donors interested in the project proposal should use our “Get in touch” medium to request the NDA (due to context sensitivity) and the proposal itself.
For further information, as well as updates, please “like” http://www.facebook.com/Philanthropyworks?skip_nax_wizard=true#!/Philanthropyworks?fref=ts.