Today, after twelve months of flooding, hundreds of affected families continue to live in the IDP’s (Internally Displaced Person) Relief camps i.e. Chawal Godam, Razziqabad, Musharf Colony and Urban City in Karachi.
These families are homeless and destitute due to the terrible flood of 2010 that broke the embankments of the Indus in Sindh. The floodwater rushed through their villages, sweeping away their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods. They came to the relief camps with only the clothes on their back.
Under their Disaster Management Program, Caritas Pakistan Karachi is actively involved in helping these families survive, by providing them with food hampers, hygienic kits, kitchen utensils, thatched shelters and mosquito nets.On August 29, 2011, Caritas Pakistan Karachi’s Livelihood Program observed the International Kitchen Gardening Day with women from IDP’s relief camps at Urban City Relief Camp, Husks bay Keamari Town, Karachi. Sixty-two IDP women and Caritas Pakistan Karachi staff participated in this program.
The Livelihood Program coordinator, Mr. Mansha Noor, states that the main objective of the International Kitchen Gardening Day was to train IDP’s women in building their own small vegetable gardens for their self-consumption.
The facilitator said, “Through the Gardening Program we were able to empower the IDP’S women by teaching them to avoid the use of chemicals and grow organic food. The aim of the Kitchen Gardening International Day was to promote the production of healthy vegetables for self-consumption and eat chemical-free vegetable so as to improve the health and nutrition of those who cannot afford pricey basic commodities.”
In a message, Mr. Dominic Gill, Executive Secretary of Caritas Pakistan Karachi said that Caritas Karachi is working hard with flood victims to help them live with dignity and respect and help them go home. He said that it is a matter of survival for the affected families to eat healthy and nutritious food. Gardening at home will enable them to eat chemical free vegetables, which will improve their families’ health and nutrition as well as reduce their daily and monthly expenses.Mr. Mansha Noor, Ms. Nafeesa Wilson, Ms. Shamim Youns and Ms. Saima Ishtiaq distributed the kitchen gardening kits, consisting of 11 different vegetables seeds (i.e. Chilies, Radishes, Fenugreek (Mathi), Lady Finger, Tomato, Tinda, Spinach, Bottle ground, Bitter ground, Brinjals and Coriander) to the IDP women. After the distribution, demonstration sessions took place, showing the women how to prepare soil and sow seeds for vegetable gardening. Given the expensive market prices for vegetables, these women, who have only been able to afford one meal a day for their families, were extremely enthusiastic about engaging in this program. Due to the program, the women can now use their acquired knowledge of gardening and take advantage of open spaces to grow vegetables at home.
On behalf of the IDP’s women, Ms. Haseena thanked Caritas Karachi and its Livelihood Program for their cooperation and support and celebrated the International Kitchen Gardening Day.
Last but not least Mr. Mansha Noor thanked Mr. Khuda Ganuj for his cooperation and support to successfully organize the International Kitchen Gardening Day Program with IDP’S women at the Relief Camp.