COVID-19 hit Pakistan in February 2020, almost at the same time as the globe was jolted into its reality. An already fragile state, Pakistan knew that the required lockdown would result in catastrophe for the poor, who were dependent on daily wages and daily economic interaction. There was no doubt that the Government of Pakistan would not be able to meet the colossal need that continues to grow by the hour as the economy slows even further. The situation is not unique to Pakistan, but the precarious foundations upon which the COVID-19 hurricane has hit the country is rapidly breaking the legs of the economy that the country was standing on.
In these dire times, the Federal Republic of Germany through its German Cooperation endeavor provided immediate funds to Hum Ahang Pakistan to support the food needs of over 20,000 families in 21 vulnerable districts of Pakistan. Along with monthly rations, they also provided sanitizers and masks for protection against the deadly COVID 19 virus.
No amount of gratitude is enough to thank the Government of Germany for their support and no praise is enough to appreciate their immediate and timely support to those who needed the most in Pakistan.
“Aik safaid posh kai liey madad mangna kitna mushkil hai, yeh wohe jaan sakta hai jo iss sai guzarta hai. Meray paas alfaaz nahee hein jis sai mein biyan kar sakon kai Hum Ahang kai naujawanon nai kitnay izzat or parday sai hamara muaashray mein bharam rakha hai. Inn kai liey hamaree saree umar kee duaein bhee kafee nahee hain,” shared a citizen of Sargodha, who lost his income due to the COVID -19 situation and had not been able to properly feed his family for weeks. He belongs to a minority religious sect who were told they were not eligible for support due to their religious affiliations by many organizations providing support to the needy in the area.
While working with the communities at the ground level, it was noted that there was limited awareness about COVID-19, its repercussions and the required mitigation measures, including social distancing for the months to come, even as the country opened up for economic activity. It is for this reason Hum Ahang quickly geared up to conduct online and on ground orientation sessions and awareness campaigns. A special focus was given to the vulnerable and marginalized – minorities, women, transgender, elderly and the disabled.
Hum Ahang is a humble attempt to support the vulnerable communities in Pakistan and work towards social cohesion. It is heartwarming to see how communities have come together to help those who have needed it the most. Hum Ahang works through 63 volunteer youth ambassadors in 21 districts. These ambassadors have brought their communities together and helped families in the 21 districts by collecting funds, food, clothing and other sanitary essentials from those in their communities who could afford it to those who needed it the most. They used the Aid Alert app developed to assess the needs of people and facilitate a community response for those who needed it the most in their areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has a far-reaching impact on all aspects of our lives. The support in this hour of need provided through Hum Ahang by the Federal Republic of Germany is critical to the survival of the people of Pakistan and it is not something we will ever forget and will always remain indebted to their kindness and consideration.