Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, the country has been plagued with turmoil. Natural disasters, political and cultural conflict and unforgiving terrain; who would want to go there? Violent outbursts are the norm, and outsiders are often unwelcome. However, in the Balochistan region, people go without the vital infrastructure necessary to provide basic services, including water. So go there we did. In the Kech District of Balochistan, the majority of the population falls below the poverty line and the literacy rate is extremely low. Waterborne disease is common, threatening the health of the community and costing families more than they can afford in healthcare and treatment. So much is needed, but nothing more than hope.
In 2010, WaterHope was introduced to the Mistang Development Organization. This Pakistan-based, grassroots NGO was working hard in Balochistan to improve the quality of life for its citizens. In addition to the work they do to empower women and aid during natural disasters, MDO is committed to educating youth and has built a school servicing close to 800 of the local children. However, MDO was not content in using this facility, located in the town of Turbat, only to impart education; they wanted to provide a safe haven for children away from the violence and disease that surrounds them. When they came to us for help in the form of a SunSpring water purification system, we were excited to give it.
but it wasn’t easy. With their journey planned for less than a week away, our partners were told that travel to the region would be ill-advised as civil unrest and violence had gained momentum. But permissions granted by the Pakistani government were time sensitive, and waiting too long would render them obsolete. What was more, the SunSpring unit had already arrived in Pakistan with no one there to oversee a safe passage to its destination. The project was in jeopardy and there was still a school in the remote Kech District going without clean water.
But the new year brought new hope. In January of 2011, our partners traveled safely to Turbat and installed the SunSpring system that had arrived unscathed. Although allowed to stay for a much shorter time than they had originally planned, they were able to see to the successful installation of the system and educate teachers and local community leaders on its use and maintenance. Now clean water flows for the children there, giving them the opportunity to lead healthy lives and grow to be peace-keeping leaders of their community.