Pakistan is a multiethnic Islamic Republic in South Asia. In 1947, what was then British India was divided into two independent nations — present day, Pakistan and India. Less than 30 years later, Pakistan experienced civil war that resulted in the Eastern portion of the nation establishing the independent nation of Bangladesh.
Over the years, Pakistan has fought hard to progress socially and to maintain political stability. The modern Pakistani population can be divided broadly into five major and several minor ethnic groups. Added to this is a large refugee population fleeing ongoing conflict in nearby Afghanistan.
Hindus, minority Muslims, and Christians are among Pakistan’s religious minorities. This group has drastically declined in number over the years, from approximately 20% at the establishment of the nation to the current 3% of the population. Progressively, it has become more and more difficult for the ethnic minorities, enduring years of violence and reduced political representation.
Health conditions in Pakistan, though improved, are still challenging at best. Pakistan is the 5th most populated country in the world with very densely populated cities. The number of medical personnel and medical facilities remain below what is needed for the population, especially in rural areas. Malaria, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases are among the republic’s leading health challenges, which also add to the high risk group for the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The initial measures announced by the government to prevent the spread of the pandemic have not been welcomed by the greater community. Additionally, Pakistan shares a border with Iran, a country stricken most severely by COVID-19.
WCF sponsors monthly Hygiene and Food Care Kits for the most vulnerable families (mainly those of the religious minority and most heavily impoverished) affected by COVID-19 Pandemic. For this project we are working with RAM Foundation and AJ Ministries to provide for 400 families or approximately 2,400 persons. Our ministry partners focuses on these poor families that mostly come from these impoverished minorities.
It is estimated that one million men, women and children are in bonded labor in Pakistan today, working at brick kilns and other labor intensive work. These extremely poor families are routinely taken advantage of and can become effectively enslaved for life.
With the lockdowns, these poor families are now losing even these menial jobs and hunger is a next day reality for them. Realistically, there will be no social service net that will be able to help them.