Kausar – Rebuilding lives

Unplanned spread of developments in urban areas weakens the infrastructure. The problem is exacerbated when natural events such as rainfall exert more pressure on the already fragile systems. HANDS has helped people like Kausar in Yousuf Goth in Surjani Town to deal with disasters caused by urban flooding.

I am Kausar, a mother of 3 living in Yousuf Goth Surjani Town. Yousuf Goth gets flooded every year when heavy rains inundate our roads, drains, and homes. It is a terrible situation as the rain-water gets mixed with clean water, the drains overflow, and there is nothing but debris, dirt, and chaos everywhere.

We faced disastrous flooding four years ago. As we scurried to safety with our children to a nearby high wall, all of our belongings were swept away. The HANDS team came in to help us. We were stranded amidst the water, but the team aided us by providing us with food and water. Eventually, as the flood abated, HANDS also helped repair the drains and sewerage systems and gave us money to rebuild collapsed walls.

We face multiple issues such as no gas supply, open drains, and diseases due to a non-existent garbage disposal system. But the situation is not as dire today thanks to HANDS. Previously, there were many cases of diarrhea, food poisoning, and dengue, but as the sewerage drains have been repaired, the incidents of these diseases have decreased.

In the 15 years that I have been living here, I have seen a lot of improvements made by HANDS. The team has worked on safe water provision and has also repaired the bridge, which eases our transportation problems. Whereas many officials have come, observed, and gone, HANDS has consistently supported us.

A lot of our family members tell us to move away, but my family cannot afford to move anywhere else because we can barely make ends meet. My husband works as a tailor in a hosiery factory, and I work as domestic help nearby. But with three small kids and my widowed mother to support we are barely surviving. We have bought this house in installments and a large chunk of our income goes towards paying the installments for my house – there is still three years’ worth of payments left. My children don’t go to school because we cannot afford their fees. Government schools are too far away for my young children to commute.

I am grateful to HANDS for their support, they not only rebuilt the infrastructure, but they also helped us rebuild our lives. My immediate aim is to get my children into school soon, and with HANDS helping us, I am sure I will be able to have a better environment and future for my children.