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!

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:

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

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!

 

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:

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.

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)