Introduction:

SHED Foundation is a not-for-profit and non-governmental organization for the eradication of illiteracy and poor health facility in the most marginalized and poor communities. It was founded in 2008 with the aim of providing basic health facilities and educating children of the poorest of poor living in the ruler areas of Sindh. SHED also promotes the health and education of girls, as health and education empowers women to break the cycle of poverty and gives them a voice in their future. SHED Foundation was registered in 2011 under the society registration Act 1860 (Kar/144) as a welfare organization.

A warm welcome for Sawayra interns Syed Umaid Ahmed and Wajahat Ali Khan upon arrival at the orphanage

The foundation complex currently houses and orphanage, a school for the underprivileged, a mental institution, a home for senior citizens, and a small clinic. All of which is available to those who need it for free and run entirely on donations. However due to being present in underprivileged area it does face difficulty due to load shedding. With at least six to eight hours of load shedding daily and no electricity for days during crisis like monsoon rains and power network faults.

Key Findings:

In August 2017, two interns from Sawayra, Syed Umaid Ahmed and Muhammad Wajahat Ali Khan visited SHED Foundation. Even though it was a busy school day they were warmly received by the Staff and the occupants of the complex. The first place the team visited was the local school which had multiple class rooms with benches for the students, writing boards, a variety of posters and some books. Some light bulb holders had been left empty as cost cutting measure as they were making most use of natural sunlight. The team were informed of the terrible electricity conditions of the area.

The bright spot was the positive attitude of the students. They just wanted to learn, even if it meant sitting on the bare floor. For some of them, this is a better alternative to working in sweat shops, for most of them there was no place else to go and SHED gave them food, shelter and most importantly education. As the Sawayra team walked from room to room, some the the younger children smiled and ran back and forth, chatting away excitedly. They even formed an assembly to greet the team.

Class room inside the orphanage

After that the team were shown the mental institution and the old age home as well. Some of the occupants of the mental institution who had been rehabilitated and were willing to, helped around as volunteers/occupants. They did simple tasks such as cleaning as well as a little more complex ones like keeping the stock. Some of the rehabilitated were also taken back home by relatives but most often than not it is not the case. A sizable number of the senior citizens also worked as volunteers. They were given tasks according to their liking and ability. For example some helped out with the accounts while some were more than happy to be the gatekeeper. For most of these senior citizens they had no relative or at least non that cared to look after them in old age. Some were happy passing their days at SHED while others enjoyed the tasks they were provided. “It gives a purpose to my life. I am helping.” one replied when asked why he exerts so much effort.

Sawayra intern, Syed Umaid Ahmed meeting a resident at the Old Home

The foundation also provides funeral bus service to those in need.

 

Key Takeaways:

SHED foundation is a safe haven and a sanctuary to a lot of those who have no other. The team asked them how we could help and they said any help with the electricity situation would be very substantial in making their operation better. They put emphasis on helping the children first as “budding flowers need just the best conditions.”

Sawayra is exploring options to help with solar power at this facility. For more information,, or to support this initiative, please contact the Houston, Texas based Project Manager, Usman Zaheer at usman.zaheer@sawayra.org

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