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.
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.
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.
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