Thursday, 17 November 2016

ACS Egham Project Nepal and HANDS International Initiative

In 2016, Project Nepal partnered with Health and Nutrition in Developing Societies (HANDS)  International of Nepal to support the nutritional needs of the Jana Bhawana community. 

Three full-time Nepalese staff were hired to assess malnutrition and teach the local families how to compensate for them. 

Now, a school garden is in the works and health surveys continue. We have received a donation that will help us continue this partnership through March 2018.
In November 2016, Project Nepal received a donation that made it possible for us to purchase one solar lamp per student and two charging stations that will remain at the school in order to encourage attendance. 
Also in November 2016, additional fundraising allowed us to purchase 78 winterization kits for students and teachers. Kits contain winter clothing and blankets. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

What I felt as Calais burned

by Rowena Harding

I only spent a few days in Calais each time, but what struck me as I walked the camp, alone or with a resident or with a fellow volunteer, was the civility of it.

Yes there were reports of bad people, there always are in a group of 10,000 people but as I was only there a short time, I saw none of this. No one leered at me, jeered at me, hassled me or begged. No one demanded, shouted or made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t get that on my walk to work this morning or even on my jog this evening.

What I got instead was offers of tea, coffee, warm milk, food, a chat, a tour, someone to make sure I was safe, not lost, a story, a photo of a child, a drawing.

I didn’t see tribal factions, or bludgers. What I saw was combined industry of Afghans, the hospitality of the Sudanese, the humility of Eritreans, combined with what must be what they describe as blitz spirit of the British, the indefatigable energy of volunteers, the resourcefulness of people who live in a less consumerist, less disposable culture than ours who made gardens, grew tomatoes, planted marigolds in empty tin cans, made raised beds, planted herbs, created stoves, constructed shops, created economies selling one cigarette, a bit of sugar. And despite at times being in muck so foul I gaged, it was the flowers in tin cans, the beautiful paintings on chipboard, the attention in making you a decent cup of tea that stood in my mind. So much so that I couldn’t help but think wouldn’t it be amazing if the world could live more like this. (More toilets and taps) but the same communal sharing, caring, giving, not taking more than we need, sense of community.

May be I am naive. May be I saw something in that camp or the people in it that was unique to me. But I feel like what we (society) have razed this week was more than just a collection of tents, caravans and chipboard, but a symbol of the rich potential of humanity, a symbol of people’s determination that even when everything around them has been reduced to so little, they will always strive for something better.

I can only hope that the people who are now dispersed across France find the spirit to continue spreading their humanity and determination into where ever they now are. I know they have spread it in my heart and it will forever change the way I look at my lot in life.

After spending time in Calais, I will always seek to plant flowers in what other people think is rubbish.  

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The 'Avon ladies' of Pakistan

From 8am to 4pm, 25-year-old Samina Khaskheli travels door-to-door in rural Pakistan handing out free samples of condoms, birth control pills, and intrauterine devices.
“I was told ‘This is sinful’,” Samina says about the initial opposition to her selling birth control. She took the job warily. Her off-the-map village, Allah Bachayo Khaskheli, is home to roughly 1,500 people in the country’s south-eastern Sindh province. The flatlands are covered by livestock, and economic desperation leaves women toiling alongside men as farmhands, livestock breeders and cotton pickers.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Are You Syrious?

The UNHCR spokesman Melissa Fleming expresses concerns about the living conditions of the sites in which people formerly staying in Idomeni has been evacuated.
Despite the evacuation has taken place without using force, some of the new sites provided by the Greek Government and financially provided by EU are below standards.
"Some of the refugees and migrants who had been living in Idomeni have been moved into derelict warehouses and factories, inside of which tents have been placed too tightly together. " says the UNHCR report. "The air circulation is poor, and supplies of food, water, toilets, showers, and electricity are insufficient. Refugees transferred by bus from Idomeni received little information about conditions at the new sites and the duration of their stay there."
Moreover, as families are also arriving spontaneously by feet, sites are already overcrowded.

UNHCR is seriously concerned about sub-standard conditions at several sites in northern Greece…

Friday, 27 May 2016

Brief History of HANDS International

A brief history of HANDS International by Prof A G Billoo, Chairman HANDS International.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

An Account of a Jungle Volunteer

by Zainab Shaikh

Some words from one of our volunteers who went to the 'Jungle' in Calais & Dunkirk.
"More people would skip past a reminder of humanity than a photo of Kim Kardashian changing her hairstyle. 
I know people don't like seeing people in pain, therefore I won't put one of those guilt tripping photos of a child escaping a bomb blast in Syria, or a man screaming whilst being crushed by a building. But I will tell you that it has been 5 YEARS that this has been going on.
Getting money to go straight to the suffering people has been deemed almost impossible, although we are still trying our best. However I went to the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk in France, and was so shocked by the living conditions even the people who think they have escaped face. This was one of the better camps where they at least had a plastic tent to cover them although they still slept in a swamp. Kids were running around this barefoot - I was wearing at least 7 layers and was still FREEZING.
I know everyone says 'I can't afford anything', but do you not still have bed-covers at night? Do you not have a coat for when it's slightly cold? But these people don't even have a mat to cover the mud they sleep on. These people don't have any defence against any kind of disease. Hands International is a Non-Profit organisation trying so hard to make a difference, it's a registered, tax exempt charity working alongside MCEC Palmers Green Mosque who funded the project - this is also a registered charity.

Thanks to them both, 4,028 residents of these camps have been vaccinated so far. Go to their websites,…/label/Projects%20in%20Calais and and you can enquire or see exactly what they are doing. To donate to these refugee camps please donate at or donate directly to MCEC and the money will be distributed. Thank you, (a prayer for them counts too) 
 Im so sorry for the lengthy paragraph 😅 but please share the links!"

Friday, 18 March 2016


This afternoon the Prefecture officially announced to the Associations working in the Calais camp that the proposed demolition of the northern section of the camp will not go ahead.
The demolition of the Southern section of the camp was completed on Wednesday this week. The only structures remaining are Jungle Books Library and School, the Ethiopian Church, Baloo's Youth Centre, the Hummingbird Clinic and the Information Centre where the hunger strikers are currently based.
Over the last couple of weeks many refugees have left the camp but the majority have moved into the northern section. Some services, such as the Women and Children's Centre and Ashram Kitchen have also relocated to the North.
The Prefect has requested collaboration with the Associations on ensuring sufficient facilities for residents in the North since many of those in the southern part are no longer accessible.
We intend to conduct a new census next week to ascertain the total remaining number of residents in the camp and to map key areas, with a particular focus on the locations and needs of the most vulnerable.
We will also be building 2 new distribution points so that we can continue to distribute regularly and in a dignified manner.
We are particularly relieved that the hundreds of unaccompanied minors are not being evicted and sent to unknown destinations without proper assessments and safeguarding. We continue to campaign for the children who have legal rights under Dublin III to be reunited with their families in the UK.
We hope that the French Authorities abide by this decision.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments

An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths, according to new estimates from WHO. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Projects In Pakistan

For past 37 years Hands has been working in Pakistan to support suffering people in times of natural and man-made disasters as well as uplift the economic and educational standard of common man through our 'Integrated Model of Community Development'

Following are our ongoing projects in Pakistan:

1.   Primary Health Care (MARVI):
HANDS selects a village based girl and trains (2 months) her as a Community Health Worker (MARVI worker). 510 MARVI workers have been trained and are providing health services in their respective villages. The total cost of her services per year is £950 to serve a population of 1,000.

2.   Train a Midwife:
 HANDS Community Midwifery Schools are equipped to conduct hospital based 18 months diploma course for matriculate (10 years of studies) girls. They are later deployed in their respective villages for maternal and child healthcare services. HANDS has trained 356 community midwives. The total cost for diploma per CMW is £2000.

3.   Save the Life of Mother:
The high risk pregnant women referred to a private secondary/tertiary care health facility for management of complicated deliveries. HANDS voucher redeeming scheme saves the life of the mother by reimbursing the cost of management to hospital on behalf of poor mothers. HANDS has benefited 2643 pregnant women from this scheme. The cost of each redeeming voucher is £88.

4.   Build a Model Hospital:
The organization has plans to build 54 HANDS owned 20 beds private hospital by 2020. Each hospital will benefit a population of 75000. The total cost of construction of a hospital, with one year recurrent cost is £9000.

5.   Take care of Early Childhood Development (ECD):
The ECD model of HANDS, prepares children for primary education. ECD class comprises of a furnished room for 30 children 3-5 years of age. HANDS train the community based girl in specialist skills of childhood development. HANDS is managing 119 ECD schools and is benefiting more than 12000 children. The cost of developing 30 children is £1950 per year.
6.   Adopt a Primary School:
HANDS has facilitated many families to adopt public sector school. These schools are adopted by signing an agreement with education department of the government. HANDS renovates the schools, furnishes it, trains teachers, provides supplies and enrolls minimum 100 children. HANDS has intervened in 1304 schools. The cost of adopting a school for one year is £2600.

7.   Established a Model School:
The organization will establish 54 HANDS own 7 rooms school by 2020. Each school will cater for more than 150 primary school children. The total cost of construction of school, with one year recurrent cost is £38250.
8.   Shelter for the homeless:
HANDS provides one room shelter to  homeless families. The shelter comprises of a room, a veranda and a toilet. The construction material and design vary from district to district. HANDS has built 74,347 one room shelters. The cost of a shelter is £200 to £950.
9.   Safe Drinking Water:
HANDS also runs safe drinking water schemes, through provision of hand pump and boring. HANDS have established 2386 hand pumps. The cost of each water scheme varies from £88 to £530.

10.  Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI):
These schemes comprise of village level infrastructure like street pavement, culverts, water reservoir and drainage. 3549 schemes have been developed. The average cost of CPI is £176 per infrastructure.
11.  Poverty Eradication through Self Employment
The needy people are assessed and provided skill training for enterprise. Later financial support is provided to establish small business.
The average cost for each person's training for self employment is £250.

12.  Support us in building Institute of Community Development
The organization is already in process of constructing the HANDS Institute of Community Development. The Institute will benefit nearly 10,000 individuals per year of urban and rural population for skills development. HANDS has already purchased 6 Acres of land and construction has started on Super Highway Karachi adjacent to Baqai University. The total construction and furnishing cost is £1164800.

Saturday, 20 February 2016


4,028 residents of Calais and Dunkirk camps have now been vaccinated by excellent volunteer Clinicians of HANDS International.
There has not been an influenza epidemic and we kerbed the measles outbreak before it really got started.
THANK YOU for everything. We are hugely grateful, proud and indebted.
Our vaccination centre has been a first aid clinic, a classroom, a music hall, a games room, a dance floor, a therapy centre, a mobile phone workshop. A place to laugh (a lot), a place to cry and a place to seek refuge.
This amazing success is bitter-sweet as in the next few days our amazing space may be demolished by the French Government.
However, we are in talks with the French authorities to agree for a long term health-care provision facility in a suitably built camp for the refugees.
The money you raised, the donations and all the hours that many volunteers spent working tirelessly has all been in good faith and has improved the well-being of a lot of desperate and vulnerable people.
It isn't about us though. It is about the thousands of refugees who may be about to loose their 'homes', their communities. Their stability and their places to pray. They don't have much else.
Now to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and help in whatever way we can.
Please send all your love to the residents of The Jungle.
To donate please visit:

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Jungle Vaccinations - Hands International

by: Clear Haze

With the weather and conditions generally dis-improving in The Jungle, the work of Hands International's Vaccination Centre is more and more important. Influenza could spread like wildfire through the camp. We spoke to some of their volunteers.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Heavy rains bring disease and disaster to France's forgotten refugee camp

Hundreds of refugees are living in dangerous, unsanitary conditions after days of heavy rain left their camp in northern France ankle-deep in filthy water, while guards have blocked migrants’ attempts to replace tents and rebuild temporary shelters.
Aid agencies working at the camp in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, say they are concerned for the health of the refugees due to an apparent ban on building materials, firewood and even blankets being brought into the compound during the cold, damp period.
The site, known as France’s “forgotten” camp and which is about 50 miles from Dover, is estimated to hold 3,000 refugees mainly from Syria, Iran and Iraq.

A girl tries on mud-caked boots in the camp.