World Vision opens first Women and Infant Friendly Spaces in Muzaffargarh

“We never knew this rain would make us homeless – we are literally left with nothing”, says Tasleem Bibi.

On August 9, the family was forced to flee the worst flooding at night and take refuge with five children on a high plateau, as they watched their house collapse before their eyes.

“We lost in a few minutes what it took us years to build…, We were doing well before the floods came and had never lived like this, we had our lands, our house and a tractor; all that we could save was a little wheat and our tractor”, said Tasleem Bibi.

“We lost our ripe cotton crop and because our lands are still flooded with flood water we cannot cultivate anything for the next year either. With five children to support we had to sell our tractor to meet our daily expenses”.

Her husband Nawaz added, “She was deeply distressed and remained isolated and tense for many days; I tried to console her but in vain, she would not give time to the children either”.

When her neighbour first asked her to go to the centre [WAIF] she was reluctant. “I did not like doing anything but when she insisted I go to the centre with my daughter I went and I feel better and relaxed now; I love it”, said Tasleem Bibi.

Tasleem now looks forward to visiting the ‘bethak’ and she finishes her daily household chores early in the morning and then visits the centre. “I do sewing and learn embroidery in order to earn some money for my family. I enjoy playing Luddo (local game) with other women at the center. My daughters; Aqsa, 2 and Aiman, 6 are also very happy to come here and play with the toys provided by the [WAIFS].

Tasleem used to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding her daughter in the presence of other people and had to look for a private place to do so, but now she can feed her child in a comfortable environment.

“The flood has made us poor and deprived us of hope but WAIFS provided us with a consoling place …it must continue in the future”, she shared.

Many of the families in this village lost everything to the devastating floods, including their homes, their crops and their animals – and their lives as they knew them. The psychological impact will be long lasting. The centre is providing sewing machines, clothes and thread while volunteers teach sewing and embroidery to others.

“We plan to celebrate a Mehndi function (a ceremony of putting Hina on the hands of the bride before marriage) of a regular visitor of WAIFS. We want to share their happiness and lessen their sorrows,” said World Vision’s Psychologist, Aqsa Rubab.

World Vision has established18 Child Friendly Spaces and 6 Women and Infant Friendly Spaces to provide a safe and comfortable environment for children and women to interact with peers and receive support.

World Vision has reached more than 556,418 flood-affected people through medical care and distribution of tents, shelter kits, hygiene kits, food and other supplies in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (KPK), Punjab and Sindh provinces in Pakistan. World Vision has been working in Pakistan since 1992 primarily focusing on relief interventions, livelihood recovery and advocacy.