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.

News 01/2014

Sister Arshad with resident Bengali

Sister Arshad with resident Bengali

We’ve sent out our latest report about what we accomplished last year! Read the full newsletter here. If you like to receive our (very short) regular updates, enter your email address in the little box on the right side of this post!

We’ve planned a lot of things for 2014: the bathrooms at our home need major repairs, all the caregivers will receive additional training, the residents will be offered focused therapies to help them develop their skills … Many thanks for your steady support in achieving these goals! Shoot us an email if you have any questions. Looking forward to a wonderful year 2014,

Simon, Maria, Jan, Lukas, Alex, Ekatharina, Thomas, Torsten, and Angela

Financial Overview 2012-2013

Omid-e Punjab has released it’s financial report for 2012-2013. Here’s a quick explanation of the figures:

Click to enlarge our financial report for 2012-2013.

Click to enlarge our financial report for 2012-2013.

In 2012, we collected €2.248 ($3.049) in donations and €192 ($260) in membership fees. €1.000 ($1.356) were paid out to the project in Pakistan, €283 ($384) were used to cover the expenses for our website, bank account, and printing leaflets. €1.156 ($1.568) remained as a balance on our bank account. The largest share of the administrative expenses was covered by membership fees. Only 4.1% of all donations were used for administrative purposes.

In 2013, we collected €4.865 ($6.597) in donations and €192 ($260) in membership fees. €5.728 ($7.768) were paid out to our project, only €219 ($297) were used to cover running expenses. €266 remain on our bank account. In 2013, only 1.04% of the incoming donations were used for administrative purposes. About 99% went directly to our project in Pakistan, to the benefit of people who really need it!

Solar fans cool the heat of Lahore

     Summer nights in Pakistan are tough for those who try to find sleep. The electricity goes off every other hour in the center of Lahore. As soon as the ceiling fan stops moving, everyone is waking up bathed in sweaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAt. In the overcrowded outskirts of the city, the power cuts last even longer, sometimes through half of the night. There are no trees or bushes to provide any breathing space. Bare concrete walls reflect the heat like a mirror. The Dar ul-Karishma, our home for mentally disabled people, lies in one of those outskirts.

                                                                        For the 90 male and female residents, summer nights used to be difficult – and dangerous. In the sleeping quarters the temperatureOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA rises to around 40 degrees Celsius. In 2012, ten residents died from heat strokes during the hot season. This year, however, things have improved significantly. Thanks to the support of our donors and the efforts of a British engineer, our charity was able to fund two solar systems. One was installed on the roof of the women’s and one at the men’s living quarter. The systems provide 12 hours of additional energy for the home. Solar-powered fans and energy-saving lights have been installed in every room to reduce the energy consumption. Every months, an electrician checks the whole system and provides maintenance.

Solar energy now keeps the ceiling fans running throughout the whole night. The residents can sleep in calm surroundings, without being woken up even once until the next morning.

Photo Exhibit at Princeton University

PosterWe are very pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition “A House of Wonders” at Princeton University, featuring twenty fine-art photographs by Pakistani journalist and artist Myra Iqbal. Among others, the exhibit includes pictures of residents and staff members from the home for disabled adults we support, the Dar ul-Krishma at Lahore. The exhibition title was actually inspired by the name of the home which literally means “The House of Wonders”. The artist has agreed to sell the prints after the exhibition and to donate all proceeds to our charity work for the home!

If you are in living in the New York area, you are very much welcome to join us for the opening reception on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 7.30 pm at the Carl A. Fields Center, 58 Prospect Avenue in Princeton, NJ 08540. The exhibit will be on display through April 18th, 2013.

For more information please email Maria at

Announcing A House of Wonders

Myra Iqbal visits the HomeWe are excited to announce a photo exhibit featuring pictures from the home for disabled adults that will open in March 2013 at Princeton University!

Young and upcoming Pakistani photographer Myra Iqbal visited the home in Lahore this months and spent some time with the residents and staff. Her poetic and powerful pictures tell a story that can’t be expressed with words. (The image above is a little preview, click on it to see a larger version).

We’ll keep you posted!

Hope for the Punjab

In mid-August 2012 I once again visited the project we support in Lahore, the Dar ul-Krishma. The name means “House of Wonders”, and it is incredible indeed how this home for disabled adults is operating under the most demanding circumstances. Navigating the small streets of Yuhanabad, the suburb where the Dar ul-Krishma is located, was the easy part for my rickshaw driver. When we approached the place and the level of sewage and waste water on the street was getting deeper by the meter, he refused to go any further, fearing that his vehicle might be damaged. Taking a big leap out of the rickshaw, I made my way through the smelly sludge that surrounds the home during the monsoon season. Once I passed the gate of the compound and sat down in the kitchen with Sister Anna Maria who manages the place, her exhaustion poured out of her. Over the last two and a half days they had been constantly without electricity. To honor me as a guest they switched on their generator so that at least the ceiling fan was running – a luxury the sisters working at the place don’t dare to indulge in too frequently due to the high costs of gasoline. Since May, when the summer heat in Lahore usually kicks in with up to 45° Celsius (113° Fahrenheit), around ten inhabitants had died from heat-related incidents, mainly heart-attacks and exhaustion. The open sewage contributes to the spread of illnesses. The sisters were also worried about continuing inflation which drives up prices even for the most basic commodities. Prices of fresh fruits, for example, had risen by one third over the course of one year. Yet, a solution to the energy problem remains of course the most pressing concern. I told the sisters about our recent inquiries with several engineering firms which specialize in providing tailored, creative power solutions in Pakistan, usually combining solar power with generators and the existing power grid. We hope that one of them will make an on-site visit in the Dar ul-Krishma in October so that we can move forward in determining the precise energy need of the home. I also handed over €650 (approximately $850) in donations given by students of Balliol College, Oxford. The sisters are planning to spend it on new beds and warm clothing for the winter. Sister Anna-Maria and her colleagues showed me around in their garden where they grow as many fresh vegetables and fruits as they can – a peaceful and green oasis in this quarter of Lahore that is covered by plastic bags and other trash. As we went on to greet the residents, I recognized many familiar faces from my last visit, and they also recognized me, started to smile and to dance. What a strong expression of resilience in such challenging surroundings!

Thank you everyone for your support –

Simon (with Maria, Ekatharina, Thomas, Angela, Torsten, Alex and Lucky)

Welcome to Omid-e Punjab!

Pic 1We support a home for disabled adults, located in an underdeveloped suburb of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous province, the Punjab. The home lacks washing machines, water filters and other basic equipment, a reliable energy supply and properly-trained medical staff and therapists. Our goal is to bring change. Our name “Omid-e Punjab” means “Hope for the Punjab”.

Help us bring hope and practical help to people who really need it. Read more about us, our projects and how you can help.