Dear donors, supporters and friends,
I am writing to share the latest progress on the development of our project village of Khairo Dero, district Larkana, Pakistan.
You will be happy to know that we completed construction of our community center and park and both were opened on November 6. Construction was completed in just two months and the center includes an administrative office, a library, a community hall and a playground for children.
We used local materials, local construction style and all the technicians and workers we employed were from the village so aid the local economy.
Some of the older residents of the village were very moved to see a photograph we put up in the foyer of the late Ali Hasan Mangi, in whose memory we began this work, and they recalled stories of his kindness and generosity.
Hundreds of children from the village and surrounding areas lined up to enjoy the park and their excitement was simply contagious. Most of them had never played on swings, slides, seesaws or monkey bars before and just couldn’t get enough.
A few volunteers from among the children took up the task of organizing the crowds so everyone would get their turn. Plantation has begun and within the next few days several trees, flowers and plants will have taken root in the park.
In the library, we subscribed to a local Sindhi language newspaper as well as a national English-language daily and the villagers were very happy to be able to access current affairs since newspapers are being delivered to the village for the very first time. Children, especially those studying in our primary school, lined up to use the library.
We started with an initial collection of 850 children’s books donated by members of the board of trustees.
And we now request you all to help us build the collection by donating any new or used books and magazines for children, university students and adults in Sindhi, Urdu or English.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange to get your books collected and elivered to the library at the community center.
In the community hall, we began arts and crafts classes for children with a special focus on those kids who are not enrolled either in our school or in any of the government-run schools in the village.
Dozens of children lined up to get enrolled in these classes; the thirst for an education, for somewhere to get off the streets, is simply incredible. Our trainer has begun running classes for these children on a daily basis, teaching them initially about hygiene and cleanliness, basic manners and courtesy. And the response is amazing; the kids are so happy to get cleaned up and come to the center every morning. We also hold a daily session for the kids where we play educational documentaries or cartoons that help them learn about counting, colors, and other things.
These children have been exposed to this type of media for the first time and it is a delight to see them laughing out loud, singing along, clapping and having a great time.
We have begun the process of sorting the kids out and making lists of those who are not enrolled in school. We will then make an effort to get the smaller kids enrolled and in December we plan to begin a four month literacy program for the teenagers who have never been to school. We also plan to start candle making and artificial jewelry making classes for women next month as part of our vocational training program.
We began technology literacy classes for the educated youth in the village. With the courtesy of Intel, seven young men and women from the village attended a course for trainers on how to impart basic technology literacy. We set up a computer lab in the community hall six computers and courses began on Nov. 10. Several dozen young people have registered and we are running four one-hour sessions a day,six days a week for a one-month duration. All students have agreed to make a donation to the trust in lieu of fees and we’ve left a traditional money box in the community hall for that purpose.
Our microloan program for women that began in June to help promote economic empowerment is continuing well. We have given out six interest-free loans of 15,000 rupees ($200) each to six women in the village. They are embroidering traditional handicrafts, rearing goats and running small confectionary stores. So far, we have a 100 percent monthly repayment rate with zero defaults.
We hope to press ahead with our low cost housing project. You will recall we constructed a home in May for two sisters and their families who had lived without shelter for years.
This was the first of 20 families in the village who are living out in the open and are in need of homes. As part of our central principle of community participation, we have motivated these families to contribute to their homes by providing the labor and paying for masonry services while we provide construction materials. The total cost of the materials to build two rooms, a toilet, a shower room and a kitchen is about 185,000 rupees ($2,150). We request your very kind support to help us raise funds to build homes for the other families.
Please do send us your thoughts, suggestions and feedback to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you. With deepest gratitude from all of us and blessings from the people of Khairo Dero.
Naween A. Mangi