Millions of poor to low- and middle-income households across Pakistan are experiencing some level of hunger or undernourishment. With a growing population and increasing poverty due to a variety of factors, food insecurity poses a major challenge for Pakistan. A convergence of crises like high food and fuel prices, droughts, livestock diseases, and widespread loss of income, leave many households hungry.
Pakistan is ranked by the Global Hunger Index alongside nations with a “level of hunger that is serious”. Almost 13% of the country’s population is reported by the index to be undernourished. At least 7% of children under five years are described as wasted, and 37.6% as stunted, with 6.7% dying before reaching their fifth birthday. Although statistics are needed to understand the scope of the problems, it doesn’t speak of the reality of parents watching their children die of hunger or malnourishment without the ability to save them.
An average Pakistani household spends 50.8 percent of monthly income on food, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Double-digit food inflation amid dwindling incomes and job losses has left more households food insecure in the last three years.
Food insecurity doesn’t affect all members of a community equally. Women and children are always more at risk of suffering hunger than adult males. Additionally, the residents of poorer districts and rural regions face a far greater risk of food insecurity for longer periods. There is an inequality in affordability and accessibility of food in gender, region, age, and social status. As such, single-parent households, orphans, the elderly, and the disabled are the most vulnerable and require the most aid.
Life for Relief and Development believes that it is our collective duty to care for the needy, especially orphans, wherever in the world they may be. Two projects were carried out as part of this mission: the Orphan Eid Party Project, and the Qurbani Meat Distribution Project.
LIFE recently hosted a grand Eid Party in celebration of Eid-ul-Adha for 126 orphans in Pakistan. Muhammad Nazir Education Trust for girls in district Chakwal and Dar-ul-Ashaan Orphanage for boys, Ehasanpur in district Muzaffargarh were selected for the implementation of this project. The duration of this project lasted from June 27th to July 10th, 2022.
The girls were taken shopping for Eid clothes and shoes. In addition, Eid gifts like bangles, henna, and hair and makeup accessories were added to complete their outfits. An outdoor grand Eid party dinner was organized for them at a local park in Chakwal. Some of the many activities that were organized for the orphan girls at the party included magic shows, henna applications, games, and rides.
The boys were also taken shopping for Eid clothes and shoes. An Eid luncheon was arranged within the orphanage premises followed by the distribution of Eid gift boxes that contained Eid sweets like dates, sugar, vermicelli, biscuits, etc.
The Qurbani Meat Distribution Project consisted of the assessment of beneficiaries, procurement, management, and distribution of fresh meat to 12,950 individuals. The needy and deserving families from four districts – Attock, Abbottabad, Haripur, and Mansehra – were given 3.5 to 4 kg of meat, enough for a week’s meals for a family of 7. Taking place between July 9 th to July 12th, 2022, this project allowed some families to eat meat, who have not been able to for a whole year due to the cost.
Both the Orphan Eid Party Project and the Qurbani Meat Distribution Project have lifted the spirits of impoverished Pakistanis. They were able to enjoy Eid al-Adha with renewed hope and happiness.
Zunaira, Laiba, and Aqsa three friends from MNET orphanage were extremely happy to go on shopping with Life’s team. All three got the same dresses and shoes for themselves. “We are very happy; we got the same dress now we can’t wait to wear these and get ready for the Eid Party.”
Iman a 6-year-old girl at MNET Orphanage; was overjoyed to wear the new Eid dress gifted by Life and to play on the swings. “I am very happy today; I am wearing this beautiful blue dress and shoes. I have played on all the rides and eaten Gullabjaman. There were a lot of tasty things at dinner, and I ate to the fullest. Thank you, LIFE.”