Tuesday, 27 October 2015

HANDS International Team in 'The Jungle' Refugee Camp Calais

HANDS International team, supported by MCEC, were in 'The Jungle' refugee camp, Calais yesterday doing some last minute planning and preparation before we get going.
We are to inoculate against the influenza / flu virus to protect against an epidemic which, under the circumstances of the camp, would almost definitely prove to be fatal for many.
It costs approximately £10 to vaccinate one person (vaccine + consumables) so we need your help. There is an estimated 6000 refugees living on site with numbers expected to rise.
Help us save lives this Winter by donating whatever you can using this link below.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

HANDS International Team Visits Calais Refugee Camp to Carry Out Needs Assessment

MCEC and, HANDS International Team along with 15 volunteers travelled to Calais to carry out needs assessment of the international refugees there.

The overall objective of the assessment is to improve knowledge of the humanitarian situation in the informal refugee camp located in Calais, in order to guide relief activities during the coming months of winter

The data should also help to draw international attention to the plight of this vulnerable sub-population, which is seriously affected by the crises in Syria, Libya, Sudan, Eretria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Specific objectives included:
-          Assessing current and future needs of people living in ‘the jungle’
-          Providing technical and operational recommendations to respond to those needs;
Providing recommendations for some basic needs and appropriately respond to the humanitarian crisis.

Following are the findings of our team:


We identified two types of shelter - both inadequate: – 1) basic polythene tents (not –waterproof) covered in temporary make shift waterproofing, 2) Wooden temporary self-built structures

1      Tents
  • Largely one man two man polythene tents
  • Some larger
  • Covered in black refuse sack plastic
  • Most pegged in the sand
  • Few mounted above the ground on wooden palettes

  • Not waterproof
  • Not weather proof
  • Not fit for habitation
  • Closely packed
  • Hazardous

 Coming into to the winter we predict:
-          Increased disease
-          Increased mortality of old and other susceptible groups
-          Increased desperation to leave

There is an urgent and pressing need for adequate shelter in preparation for winter.

 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
We identified a total of three water points:
-          All cold water
-          Inadequate
-          Open – Pipe connected were above the ground and had been disconnected
-          Not weather-proof
-          Not fit for consumption (our tests show a high presence of bacteria such as e-coli and salmonella in of the water supplies)

8 temporary toilets (all close together)
A total of 9 shower points
Saw the use of stagnant water pools for washing and urination


No evidence of temporary education facilities for children or adults
No evidence of informal education /passing on of skills or knowledge
No access to pen or paper / no basic materials to communicate in written form
Working professionals are being deskilled due to lack of practice
Unable to access religious materials like Qur’ans and Bible’s on request 


The health needs of the population was wholly unmet; Malnutrition was evident as was obvious physical injuries such as open wounds and disability (amputees). Evidence of high infections disease rate (chest infections), in a largely unvaccinated population.

Acutely unwell refugees were without treatment and at risk of transmitting their conditions onto others due to overcrowding. Clear evidence of Psychological distress and grief on their faces. We encountered medical conditions from respiratory, gastrointestinal, dermatological and musculoskeletal systems.

We saw many foot callouses and inadequate footwear.

There is a medical facility present on the ground provided by M├ędecins du Monde, which only runs during the daylight hours from Monday to Friday. There is no provision of emergency medical aid and access to ambulance service.

-          No means to achieve a adequate livelihood
-          No dignity/empowerment

HANDS International and MCEC concluded that there was an urgent need to provide Health and Hygiene services for the Refugees. And, jointly decided to look at the task of providing emergency medical facilities at the weekend, improvement in WASH services and the possibility of providing possible access to ambulance service, if necessary.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

HANDS Builds Model Village

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), in collaboration with HANDS and Shell Pakistan, held a ceremony commemorating five years of integrated development initiatives in Goth Noor Mohammad, a settlement 25 kilometres from Karachi where the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation dumps 25 % of the city’s trash.

The chief guest on the occasion was Jeannette Seppen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Five years ago, Goth Noor Mohammad was a settlement that lacked basic amenities such as running water, sanitation, school or a basic health facility. Its residents used to earn primarily through selling scrap collected from the garbage dump in the vicinity, which is the destination of about a quarter of Karachi’s waste. In 2010, PPAF and its implementing partner HANDS along with Shell Pakistan began working in Goth Noor Mohammad to help residents transform their lives for the better. As many as 133 housing and 34 sanitation units were constructed with the village divided into 51 clusters of two to three housing units while each cluster having a common kitchen, toilet and a water storage tank. Electricity and clean drinking water remained a major problem of residents so PPAF has recently installed solar lights in each housing compound while Shell Pakistan has installed a reverse osmosis plant in the settlement for clean drinking water.

Over the past five years, PPAF has spent Rs 27 million on housing, infrastructure, solar lighting, health and education facilities while Shell Pakistan has contributed additional Rs 14.3 million for housing and provision of clean drinking water. Residents in the area have also been facilitated in learning entrepreneurship skills through the Shell Tameer Program enabling them to capitalize on related business opportunities like recycling. With proper housing, drainage, access to clean drinking water, solar lighting, medical care and education, now Goth Noor Mohammad is very different from what it used to be. Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO PPAF, said, “Pakistan is going through very challenging times but hope continues to exist. It is only when people from different walks of life come together for the common good that magic happens” 

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sindh/30-Sep-2015/model-village-built-at-cost-of-rs-27m

The transformation of a village

Goth Noor Muhammad is just 25 kilometres from Karachi but apart from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) drivers no one else is  aware of how the people of this village survive. The entire village is dependent upon Karachi’s garbage.

The village lacked all basic facilities such as health, education and potable water five years back. Despite living here for over 30 years, the residents have only recently been given access to the most basic of facilities, such as shelter, a school, health facilities, a water plant and clean streets.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), in collaboration with Shell Pakistan and the Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS), on Tuesday celebrated five years of integrated development initiatives in this settlement where the KMC dumps around 25 per cent of the city’s trash. This garbage is village’s only source of survival.

Accepting the government’s lack of interest in developing such settlements, federal state minister Abdul Hakeem Baloch said that the public-private partnership has changed people’s standard of living. “The people living in posh areas aren’t aware of the sense of deprivation that prevails in these villages,” he explained.

“Nothing has been given to these people for last 65 years,” Baloch said. “Let the world see how people live here. What they eat and how they earn.”

PPAF CEO Qazi Azmat Isa still hopes for the best. “Pakistan is going through some very challenging times but hope continues to exist. It is only when people from different walks of life come together for the common good that magic happens.”  While visiting the new facilities provided to the villagers, HANDS chief executive Dr Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed said this is first time in their life that these people will enjoy basic facilities.

In 2010, the PPAF and its implementing partner, HANDS, along with Shell, Pakistan began working in Goth Noor Muhammad to help residents change their lives for the better. As many as 133 housing and 34 sanitation units were constructed. The village divided into 51 clusters of two to three housing units, with each cluster having a common kitchen, toilet and a water storage tank.

Electricity and clean drinking water remained a major problem for the residents so the PPAF has recently installed solar-powered lights in each housing compound, while Shell installed a reverse-osmosis plant in the settlement to provide drinking water.

Over the past five years, PPAF has spent Rs27 million on housing, infrastructure, solar-powered lighting, health and education facilities, while Shell Pakistan has contributed an additional Rs14.3 million for housing and the provision of drinking water.

“It is a good work you have done. It is my first visit to Karachi and I am here with you,” said Jeannette Seppen, ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, to the women of the village. “The first task was to motivate the community. Converting this settlement into a model village wasn’t an easy task. The infrastructure will change the living standard of these marginalised people living in Karachi’s rural area,” said the general manager of HANDS, Nadeem Wagan.

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/965306/the-transformation-of-a-village/