About the Swat District:
The District of Swat, with a population of 1.3 million and covering an area of 5,373 Square km, is famous for its natural beauty all over the world. With high mountains, green meadows, and clear lakes, it has been popularly referred to by tourists as the "Switzerland of the region." Despite its scenic beauty and rich natural resources, Swat is one of the less developed districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and access to basic facilities and economic opportunities is limited. According to an independent study sponsored by the Asian Development Bank on the feasibility of the Malakand Rural Development Project ("MRDP"), 72% of the people in the region lie below the poverty line. More information on the Swat District can be found here: www.valleyswat.net
Background of the Khpal Kor Foundation:
Resolved to serve their country and their people, on September 6th, 1986, a group of enthusiastic and energetic scouts in the Swat District founded the Swat Scouts Open Group in Mingora, Swat. Recognizing the absense of adequate provision of social and public services, the young spirited scouts group began to actively engage in a wide range of activities including: hospital service, tree plantation, pilgrimage programs, health and cleanliness initiatives, campaigns against illiteracy, celebration of religious and cultural holidays, blood donation campaigns, traffic control, calamities response, and anti-narcotics campaigns. While playing an active role in the improvement of their community, they continued their scouting activities, and participated with full spirit and zeal in all provincial and national scout events.
A survey conducted by the Swat Scouts Open Program discovered that there were 10 orphans in each of the 20 villages randomly surveyed, implying an approximate 5,200 helpless orphan children in the 520 villages across the Swat District. While a majority of the orphans identified had a deceased father and a living mother, some had been bereaved of both parents. Even where the mother was alive, she was found in most cases to be unable to provide for her children. In the absence of proper supervision and lack of productive opportunities, a large number of the orphaned children were found to be subjected to child labor and child abuse, engaged in drug addiction and other harmful activities.
To address this rapidly deteriorating situation, in a meeting of the Youth Forum of the Swat Scouts Open Group held in September 1996, the group members decided to establish an orphanage for the welfare and education of the orphan and helpless children of Mingora. The idea was materialized in the shape of Khpal Kor (My Home) in October 1996, which was formally registered with the Department of Social Welfare in 1998 under the Registration Act of 1961. Starting with only five children, the orphanage soon grew in capacity to hold twenty-four children providing room, board, and education to its young residents. Recognizing the work of the Khpal Kor foundation, in March 2001, the then government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa allotted a plot of four (4) canals adjacent to the twenty-five canal playground and gymnasium at Makan Bagh, Mingora. Within a short period of time a large building was erected on the said plot, which in addition to housing the orphanage, also established the Khpal Kor Model School. With the help of the foundation and its generous donors, the number of orphan children has since steadily increased. Other than the orphan children who reside in the complex and study at the school free of cost, quality education is also provided to select highly qualified children from poor families from the region at a reasonable fee.
Khpal Kor Foundation emergency response:
Apart from protection of child rights KKF volunteers always provide services to the victims of natural and man made disasters in the region by establishing meaningful linkages with other national and international partner organizations. Following are the details of KKF inputs in natural and man made disasters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
• October 8th 2005 earthquake and KKF response
October 8th 2005 earthquake has far reaching effects on the inhabitants of the devastated region. Majority of the victims were children. Many lost lives and many more were left destitute by the natural calamity. The adjoining districts of Shangla and Battagram were among the affected areas.
The volunteers of Khpal Kor Foundation reached the areas on the very next day and conducted assessment. With the financial support of Pukhtoon Welfare Society UAE, KKF provided cash grant of 6 M Rupees as an initial response to the tragic event in nation’s history.
Khpal Kor Foundation extended support by providing admission to 50 orphan students in its orphan home at Mingora Swat. Additional rooms were constructed for these newly admitted children with the financial support of Hilti Foundation who sent donation through Ashoka Foundation. Other stuffs were purchased through with the help of Mashon. These students are receiving their education in the school and are provided with boarding and other facilities in the orphan house. KKF succeeded in getting one-year financial support for the students of Shangla from Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) UK. ISRA UK has also approved a cash grant for the mothers of these 50 orphans, which support the livelihood of these marginalized widows.
A quick Survey was conducted in the affected areas and 322 orphans were identified who were not able to attend the school due to so many reasons and were most vulnerable to various forms of exploitation. In order to protect orphans of the devastated region in their hometowns, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Hilti Foundation (through Ashoka Foundation USA), Vision Lahore and District Zakat Committee Shangla extended valuable support to KKF for providing education to the orphans in their localities. Local resources were mobilized in collaboration with the above-mentioned partners to safeguard orphan children. As a result 322 orphan students were provided Zakat Scholarship to continue their education in public and private schools.
• Khpal Kor Foundation response during the 1st Military Operation in July 2007
Due to continues militancy in the area by some unknowns, the government started military operations against the militants to restore peace and government writ. The militants showed a strong resistance and as a result the beautiful scenic valley of Swat lost its good image and the inhabitants were facing numerous problems. Undiscriminating shelling, bombardment and firing by the law enforcement agencies take the lives of innocent children, men and women. On the other hand due to the use of heavy armaments the community infrastructure of the 34 Union Council in Tehsil Matta, Kabal, Khwaza Khela and Charbagh revived heavy losses. The militants destroyed 148 girls and boys’ schools, health facilities and other government runs civic facilities. Agriculture crops were either damaged by army through shelling or were occupied by the militants to hide them selves from the forces. The fruit were not transported on time to main markets due to continue imposition of curfew and blockage of roads.
The irrigation channels, which were already in poor conditions, were further destroyed. More than 90000 girls have left their education, the total population of the conflict affected areas have no access to health facilities. 100% boys’ schools are closed as in some schools the army and other forces have established their camps and some schools have been destroyed by the militants. The derbies of the destroyed houses are lying in pathways, which have blocked the drains causing various diseases to the locals. After military operation most of the affected people migrated to the comparatively safe area of Mingora and other adjoining areas. As a result a great burden is facing by the Tehsil Municipal Administration of Mingora. During the crises the grade of electricity and Gas control system were blown. Water supply was suspended and the people were started use of spring water. The spring water were unhygienic and more than 5000 people were suffered due to diarrhea. Most of the patients were include children and women migrated from the affected area.
As per report of TMA and Water Supply & Sanitation Department, 20 big tube wells and many of the gravity based water supply schemes have been completely destroyed and distribution networks in all the affected union councils of the above-mentioned tehsils of the district. Emergency medicines were not available in the 02 only operational hospitals of district Swat.
To correspond in effective manner an urgent institutional arrangement was needed to cope with the situation and minimize the miseries of the population especially women and children. Khpal Kor Foundation focused on available potential and its utilization for devising a framework to cope with the challenge.
An assessment of the available medical facilities during the emergency revealed lack of medicines, ambulances and needed equipments in city hospitals (Saidu Group of Teaching Hospitals) and the displaced people were found in miserable condition. A concept for needed support was shared with relevant actors through different channels and the only response received from MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF).
MSF quickly responded to the call and provided medicines to the Saidu Group of Teaching Hospitals before the start of operation. Two ambulances provided by MSF helped us to save hundreds of human lives by dealing emergency situation in curfew hours. The Khpal Kor Foundation allowed the use of its own building to the MSF voluntarily for their operations including ambulances service.
Our relief operations took start with the arrival and concentration of around 3000 people in schools buildings of Mingora city, mostly poor from Shangla. These people were facilitated in getting shelter in the buildings. Initially, the shelter-less family were provided bedding material and food by gathering support from the local communities through announcements in the mosques to come to the help of the needy.
An overwhelming response from local communities provided support to the affected families in terms of cash and kind. The local communities were facilitated in organizing committees and raising funds for providing support to the families residing in schools used as camps until arrival of NFIs and food support from MSF. The Khpal Kor Foundation provided its own volunteers, storage and space for office and accommodation for the staff of MSF free of cost.
A mechanism for relief operation was devised in consultation with District Coordination Officer Swat and information was shared with the district administration to avoid duplication and improve coordinated efforts. Local Nazims, activists and the representatives of displaced were involved in the relief operations to help our volunteers in identification, verification and distribution processes. MSF Belgium arranged mobile clinics on daily basis for the health care of the displaced families resided in different parts of the city.
At the end of operation MSF Belgium set up its permanent office at Saidu Sharif Swat and started different relief activities with the coordination of Khpal Kor Foundation. Continued its already stated ambulance service, set up medical camps and other different activities i.e ambulance service, emergency camps in Saidu Sharif hospital since 1st operation up to date.
• Khpal Kor Foundation response during the 2nd Operation in Swat from August, 2007.
Swat is under the claw of terrorists since July, 2007. Several thousands of people have been died during the crisis. Most of them are innocent masses. The situation became a little bit normal during the general election in Pakistan. But unfortunately during the last two months the situation turned once again into worst and become very much crucial. 34 union councils out of the total 65 union councils are badly affected. These union councils are being bombed by aerial strikes by Helicopters and jet fighters and heavy artillery is also being used. There are sky rocketing sounds of shelling and bombing round the clock. About 95% peoples have took refuge in other parts of the country while other in few number have took shelter in government schools, relative houses, friends and rented houses. There are a lot of difficulties and hindrance of food to these families.
Khpal Kor Foundation like previous military operation this time also took initiatives and sent information to the different international organizations. Consequently the following activities have been initiated. Khpal Kor Foundation is the only organization in Swat that has convinced the following two international organizations who have started activities for affected masses.
Khpal Kor Foundation response during the 3rd Military Operation in 2008.
In the 3rd Military operation Khpal Kor Foundation like its previous role the following relief activities carried out with the help of other organizations.
Food package distributed among 2000 families
Non food items (NFI) kits distributed among 2355 families.
Bedding kits distributed among 6620 families.
170 Cooked Degs served among the IDPs.
4th Military Operation My, 2009:
When in May, 2009 4th Military Operation took place. Pak Army setup posts on the top of KKF building. There is Army headquarter behind the KKF building. On the other hand there was presence of Taliban in front of KKF. KKF felt the risks to the lives of residing children. Therefore, these children compellingly travelled for 40 km by foot and reached to Peshawar. There UNICEF provided all kind of facilities to them for 70 days. As the situation become normal they repatriated to KKF Swat.