Shifting gears

On 06 September 2017, our annual meeting took place in Munich. We are looking back on a successful year in which we …

  • renovated the laundry room in the women’s living quarters (costs: 2,270 USD)

    New laundry room

  • bought new tables and chairs for the men’s dining room (costs: 2,570 USD)
  • visited the House of Wonders several times
  • brought new Lego toys, wooden puzzles and other games from Germany

And yet, things were quieter than they used to be. Our projects were smaller and less work-intensive. As time goes by, we find ourselves increasingly caught up in our full-time jobs and studies, trying to balance those with our private lives and social engagement. And yet, we want to remain involved with the House of Wonders in future years.

Maria’s visit in April

We took some time to reflect on our approach. Does it still connect to our founding vision? Is it the kind of work we want to do? In the end, we decided to shift gears. Omid-e Punjab has already accomplished much in terms of improving the material conditions at the home in Lahore: new bathrooms, clean water, alternative energy, new dining room tables and chairs, fresh garden soil, pedagogical toys and games, new mattresses and beds.

Lego and wooden puzzles from Germany

The residents are clean, well-fed, and generally healthy. In future years, however, we want to place a stronger emphasis on providing them with opportunities to grow intellectually and develop their skills. We want to establish a better system of care at the home. This starts by encouraging the creation of new structures, instituting regular training for sisters and caregivers, and offering various therapies to the residents. In all of this, we want to continue raising awareness for a life with disabilities in Pakistan. Through our work, we are striving to demonstrate that the residents at our home, and indeed anyone with a physical or mental disability, have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. Societies can only benefit from becoming more inclusive. We’ll take it one step at a time: qatra, qatra, darya banta hai — drop by drop, a river is made, as a saying in Urdu goes.

Thank you for your support as we continue walking this way!

Simon, Benni, Angela, Torsten, Maria, Lucky, Ekatharina (present in spirit: Thomas, Viola, Christoph, Alex und Nicki) a.k.a. your Omid-e Punjab Team

Why always so serious?

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Laundry on the roof

Laundry is rinsed by hand

Like in so many houses in Pakistan, the laundry rooms at the House of Wonders are located on the top floor. The flat roof makes a perfect drying area — spacious and exposed to direct sunlight. In these facilities, the clothes of 40 women are washed on a daily basis. Most of the process is still done by hand! The washing machines used here usually only mix the water and soap with the dirty laundry. With the help of the residents, the caregivers at the House of Wonders then rinse and wring out the wet laundry before putting it up on the line.

Planning the new room

Until recently, the facilites used for washing the women’s clothes were very basic (see pics above). They consisted of a room with a plastic tub and a washing machine — that’s all. We were able to renovate the room completely and bring it to the latest standards. The new room has two sinks, new tiling, a marbled floor and a proper drainage system (see below). Thank you for making this possible with your donations!

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New facilities completed

Omid-e Punjab has completed its largest and most expensive project to date: the construction of new bathrooms for the female residents. It took 8 months from the planning until the completion of the work. The old structures on the site were torn down and new, modern facilities erected instead, including toilets, showers and a proper sewage connection. A new dispensary was also built. The total amount spent was $23,700 (about €21,200). Everything was covered by private donations, mostly from Germany. No government or NGO funding was involved. There were no overhead expenses – every single cent we raised went into the project. Here are pictures of the final result:

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Patience pays off

After having searched for almost two years for a reliable and competent partner to do the construction at our home, we finally found the Pakistani company ZOR. Since 1965, they have completed many building projects for schools, hospitals, churches, and embassies in Pakistan. Their engineers did several site visits at our home. Because we had had problems with waste water management in the past, they conducted an extensive water survey to see where the flooding came from. The survey in itself was already a huge help and brought many problems out in the open. Proceeding from this assessment, ZOR created a detailed construction plan and technical drawings in which they also addressed the water issues. After consulting with the sisters, we could finally start the building phase. In April, construction began for the new toilets in the women’s wing. Baubeginn 3 Baubeginn 2 Baubeginn 4

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Omid-e Punjab looks back on 2015

Jahresversammlung im kleinen Kreis

Annual Meeting in Munich

Pakistan

On March 15, 2015 two churches in the Christian neighborhood of Youhannabad in Lahore, where our shelter home is located, were targeted by a double suicide bombing. 15 people died and more than 70 were injured. Thankfully, none of the staff at our home was affected. After the attack, local residents formed an angry mob that destroyed a bus terminal, took police men as hostages, and lynched two men whom they wrongfully suspected of being accomplices of the suicide bombers. These gruesome events sparked arrests and a very emotional debate in the Pakistani media. Nearly one year later, life in Youhannabad is back to normal.

House of Wonders

The renovation of the bathrooms and the drainage has been delayed. A construction company that wanted to carry out the project had to cancel their involvement. A second organization visited the home in June 2015 and drew up an assessment. According to their findings, the sewage pipes are located four feet below street level. This explains why waste water cannot drain properly and submerges the bathrooms. We hope to be able to finally begin with the construction work in February.

Omid-e Punjab

We gained three new members last year: Christoph, Benjamin, and Nicole. Omid-e Punjab has now grown to a charity of eleven volunteers. We still don’t employ full-time staff and do not outsource any work. Everything from fundraising to public relations is done by our volunteers. As a result, our overhead makes up less than 1% of all donations. The bulk of our funds go directly to the project.

Schüler der Wirtschaftsschule München

Students of the Munich Commercial School

In July, Maria and Simon gave a talk about Pakistan at the Munich Commercial School. The students  collected deposit bottles and donated the revenue to Omid-e Punjab. This great initiative raised more than 200 Euros!

In August, Sister Hend, Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide in Pakistan, visited us in Munich. Hend coordinates the various projects of her religious order in the country, including two schools and the House of Wonders.

Schwester Hend im Biergarten

Sister Hend in a Munich Beergarden

Finally, in November we organized an exhibit on Young Pakistani Photography“ at the Salon Irkutsk in Munich. We hope to showcase Myra Iqbal’s fantastic work at additional venues around Germany this year.

Thanks to all our donors and supporters! We look forward to an exciting year 2016.

Simon, Maria, Torsten, Angela, Benni, Christoph, Alex, Lucky, Ekatharina, Thomas, and Nicole

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Financial Overview 2014

Tada, we proudly present our latest financial overview! Here are the figures for 2014:

Omid Finances 2014

Omid Finances 2014

Total proceeds: 9,518.50 Euro (11,864 Dollar)
Donations: 9,326.50 Euro (11,624.60 Dollar)
Membership fees: 192 Euro (239.31 Dollar)

Total expenses: 259,28 Euro (323.17 Dollar)
Administrative fees: Bank (33 Euro), Webhosting (62,28 Euro), Postcard printing (164 Euro)
Covered by membership fees: 192 Euro (239.31 Dollar)
Remaining expenses: 67,28 Euro (83,86 Dollar)

Donations used to cover running expenses: 0,7%

Donations paid out to project: 7 650 Euro (9,535.04 Dollar)
Used for
Renovation bathrooms men’s tract: 5 187,87 Euro (6,466.21 Dollar)
Garden soil: 1 191, 90 Euro (1,485.60 Dollar)
Installation of water filters: 369,51 Euro (460.56 Dollar)
Gas cylinders: 213,24 Euro (265.78 Dollar)
Maintenance water filters: 66,84 Euro (83.31 Dollar)
Total: 7029.36 (8,761.46 Dollar)
Remaining: 620,64 Euro (773.57 Dollar, will go towards the renovation of bathrooms in the women’s tract)

Thanks to all supporters for your trust!

Yours,

Lucky, Benni, Alex, Torsten, Angela, Maria, Simon, Ekatharina and Thomas for Omid-e Punjab

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Financial Overview 2013

We’ve changed the time frame for our financial reports. From now, we will publish one for each calendar year instead of covering 12 months from August to July the following year. It seemed a more neat time frame.

Here’s our finances in 2013 (click picture to enlarge)

Our finances 2013

Our finances 2013

In 2013, we’ve collected 13,577.47 Euros in donations. Our administrative costs (bank fees, web hosting) amounted to 224,88 Euros, 192 of which were covered by membership fees. This means we’ve spent only 0,02% of all donations on administrative fees!

We paid out 5,956 Euros to our shelter home in Lahore. These funds were used for two photovoltaik systems, two high-end water filters, and a three-months intensive medical training for all the caregivers. 7,829 Euros were carried over as a balance to the next year. In 2014, we’ve used this on the maintenance of the water filters, to buy gas cylinders for cooking, to fill the garden with new soil, and to renovate the bathrooms in the men’s living quarters.

We are very proud to have spent an extremely slight percentage of all donations on administration – just 0,02%! In comparison, Caritas spends up to 10% of its incoming donations on administration, Shelter Now takes 10-20%, and Handicap International 20-35% (Source: DZI).

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Christmas fundraiser: new bathrooms for the women!

Women's toilets

Women’s toilets

This spring, Omid-e Punjab funded the renovation of the bathrooms in the men’s tract. As a result, infection rates dropped dramatically. Now it’s the women’s turn! We plan to renovate two bathrooms in the women’s living quarters with three toilets, showers, and sinks each. Floors and walls will be tiled and fixtures installed. The new bathrooms have to be elevated to prevent wastewater from flooding the floor. We calculated that the renovation will cost about €12.000 (or $15.000) in total. With our Christmas fundraising campaign, we are collecting funds exclusively for this goal.

Support our fundraising goal and donate now!

 

Women's showers

Women’s showers

Account number: 290 130
Bank code: 520 604 10

BIC: GENODEF1EK1
IBAN: DE5452 0604 1000 0029 0130

 

Your help directly benefits people on the ground. In 2013, our charity spent only 1,04% of all donations on administration and outreach. 99% of all donations went directly to the project!

 

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News 08/2014

Men's Tract

Men’s Tract

In April this year, a thick cloud of dust and noise was hanging over our shelter home in Lahore. The sound of hammers and drills could be heard. Construction work had begun at the bathrooms in the men’s wing. Since the home was founded 17 years ago, not much had been done in this regard. The bathrooms were a dirty mess. Often, waste water flooded back inside due to a blocked sewage system. It covered the floor with a stinking liquid that brooded diseases. Showers did not exist, which forced the residents to clean themselves under a tap coming out of the wall. One side of the bathrooms was open and exposed people to harsh weather during the cold season. The toilets were in a dilapidated state: people had to sit on rotten seats on an unclean floor, covered with thousands of flies. Every day, 45 of the disabled residents were using those run-down facilities.

After discussing the matter with the director of the home, we realized that the bathrooms had to be completely torn down. New hygienic facilities were constructed in their place. Sinks, shower cabins, and toilet seats with a flush were installed. Bathroom fittings were added, and the whole place was tiled and freshly painted. The sewage system was renovated and lifted several inches so that waster wate could not flood back inside. Every cent we raised abroad was put into this project. On the part of Omid-e Punjab, there are no administrative costs, because all our members work voluntarily. All in all, we spent exactly 714,000 Pakistani Rupees on the renovation which equals 7,129.41 US Dollars.
The pictures below show the new facilities as compared to the old ones seen above:

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News 06/2014

We’ve had a turbulent past few months! It has proven difficult to provide regular maintenance to the water filter and solar panels we’ve had installed at our home in Lahore. Currently, we are considering different options. We would like to use local expertise instead of an international firm. It’s not just cheaper, but local experts also have the advantage of being on the ground. They can communicate with our sisters in their own language. That way, the sisters can learn something about how clean water and solar energy are produced. It helps them grow along with the project.

On the merry-go-round

On the merry-go-round

Besides logistics, we are also working on other fronts. Back in March, the mother of our charity member Jan visited Lahore and shared her expertise with the sisters at our home. She’s been a caregiver at a home for elderly people in Germany. Jan’s mom is also incredibly well-connected in Lahore and helped the sisters to find a contractor for the renovation of the run-down bathrooms.

And last but not least, our network with other institutions is constantly growing! We are not just cooperating closely with the Roshni Association, but this summer, Maria will also visit a number of other organizations that support people with disabilities in Pakistan. The St. Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi is doing similar work. Check out their website to learn about their amazing project!

Look out for more updates in July and August when Maria is back in Lahore. She will again blog about her visit under In the House of Wonders.

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