“I’m Shagufta, I lost my husband 5 years ago and my three daughters all study at Dean Public School. I was doing cleaning, dish washing and laundry work in different houses to earn my wages. During Coronavirus, I can’t go to any house for job and I was struggling to provide food for my children.
I get upset and cry out to God when my children go to sleep hungry. It is very painful.
Now Starfish has provided a food parcel. I thank God that at least for few weeks, my children will not sleep without food.
God bless Starfish and donors.”
COVID-19 Status in Pakistan
The official statistics reported from Pakistan on 29 April 2020 state 14,885 COVID-19 cases, and 327 deaths. These are likely to be significantly understated, for a variety of reasons including a lack of testing.
Although every death is to be mourned, the immediate problem in Pakistan and for much of the developing world is probably not the virus, but the individual economic impact of lockdown on those who are daily-wage earners. Many Christian families have been without any income/food for well over a month. Distribution of government support is too little, and we have only heard of a few Christians receiving anything at all from official sources.
Schools and many businesses are closed and the country stays in lockdown until at least the middle of May. Some restrictions have been lifted for Ramzan, and there is pressure on the Government to try to get the economy working. Many are still hungry and without food.
What has been achieved so far through the Appeal?
Donations to the appeal are a reflection of God’s mercy, and amazingly we have received around £47,000 so far. Thank you to all who have made this possible.
As a result, we have been able to extend our support to many more families in need than originally hoped.
In April Starfish Pakistan have distributed aid, mainly in food parcels, to over 10,000 people in 1,300 families connected with 49 schools that Starfish support in addition to several others. We currently plan to provide at least the same inMay and June.
The schools all remain closed, and there is no clear timetable for lessons to resume. The Government is to consider options for restarting of schooling early in July. The best indication we have is that schools will restart in the middle of August.
Online lessons are not really possible for most of our students, and teachers and students are both keen to get back to normal as soon as possible –as one project leader put it “a school without children is just a building”.
We are using the time with the schools being closed to carry out various necessary improvements to the schools –from cleaning and painting through to providing an additional toilet, upgrading the lighting and installing UPS to provide electricity during power cuts and constructing additional classrooms.
What is the status of the Appeal?
We were able to raise £55,000 in total. Thank you to all who have made this possible, and thanks be to God the provider.
We have managed to distribute aid, in food parcels and money to around 1,600 families (or 9,000 individuals), mostly connected with the 56 schools and projects that Starfish support throughout April, May and June. We have some funds remaining to put towards supporting families in need in July where there is ongoing hardship caused by COVID-19.
Please download our June 2020 Newsletter which contains various pictures and stories of the support being provided through the project leaders.
Lastly, in addition to providing aid, some of the teachers in one of our schools are making masks for distribution to all the students in Starfish supported schools and as many others as possible for when the schools will return.
Mike WakelyStarfish Asia 1200 627
29 June 2020
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