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?

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:

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

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).

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

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 maria@omidepunjab.com.

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.