June 20, 2011
Artisans Working, Children Studying: Almost a year after the devastating flood in Pakistan hope has returned to rug making families in the Dera Gazi Khan region. Bunyaad damages were estimated at around $94,250 USD for rebuilding artisan homes and reinstalling looms and equipment. Bunyaad has been diligently working towards this goal to help families get back to work and with that a normal life. The Ten Thousand Villages network, through the artisan special needs fund, has been a strong supporter in our efforts. We hope to have this project completed in two years.
Sales at Rug Events and year-round rug stores continue and are much needed in reaching our goal to help all families. Every rug sold means that a new rug can be ordered, artisans have work, families have a home and children are going back to school. We are looking forward to strong sales
December 30, 2010
Dear Fair Trade Friends,
From Mud To New Homes:
After living in temporary make-shift housing for many months, Abdul Majeed and his family finally moved into their new home built by Bunyaad. Abdul Majeed's family home was totally destroyed in the flood. Now, with Bunyaad's assistance, he and his family are moving into a structure built on his family's land.
Keeping Jobs In The Village: Bunyaad is helping to build seven new homes in this region for families whose homes were totally destroyed by the flood. These new homes are being built four feet higher with brick, concrete and steel to hopefully lessen the effects of high water in the future. As much as possible, Bunyaad is using locally available materials to support the local economy and to extend the benefits to others by creating jobs in the village. By acquiring local materials such as bricks from the village brickyard, metal beams and support bars for the roof, locally crafted doors and windows Bunyaad was able to eliminate trucking costs from afar and therfore ensure that most dollars went into construction of these homes. Four of the seven families are able to move into their homes this week and the others very shortly.
Beyond Retail: Upon completion of these homes each family will have their looms located inside their homes again to allow both men and women to work together and earn a fair wage through consistent job opportunity. Bunyaad continues its mission of helping many flood affected families in the months to come through various ways to bring normality to their lives. By supporting the Oriental Rug Program through the purchase of a rug, you assist people you have never met, but whose artistry and creativity grace your home.
November 9, 2010
Dear Fair Trade Friends,
Rebuilding efforts are finally under way in the Dera Ghazi Khan region. The first goal has been to get artisans back to the loom. With so many buildings severely damaged, a temporary rug making facility has been set up to house the looms. Artisans will be using this facility for the next several month until their own homes have been rebuild. Take a look at some of our artisans at their loom working on rugs rescued during the flood. There are some amazing designs coming to us within the next year.
October 12, 2010
Dear Fair Trade Friends,
We are thankful for your many calls, emails and concerns shared on the sales floors about the Bunyaad artisans. Your outpouring of care has been shared with our artisan families and they are deeply touched. Flood waters were not quickly receding, making relief and rebuilding efforts quite challenging. The waters are now finally receding in most areas and people are returning to their damaged homes.
In early October, three Bunyaad staff from our Lahore office were finally able to visit the artisans in the villages surrounding Dera Ghazi Khan. Traveling with DG Khan supervisor Nasir Gul, Bunyaad staff report that many of the bridges and roads are severely damaged hampering daily life. Water around the villages could still be seen for miles. Bunyaad staff had to walk through cotton fields (a common crop in these villages) to get to these villages; normally a car could easily be driven to each village before the floods. Cotton is the crop that makes this area so desirable for farmers for centuries and ranks Pakistan the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world.
After sitting at higher grounds for weeks, many artisan families have returned to their flood-damaged homes and some even have started construction with clay so they can formulate walls around their homes, an important step to show their ownership. This is a common issue with property ownership in rural areas of Pakistan due to families having lived in a place for a long time. The cost of paperwork (aka property titles, deed searches, etc) is prohibitive and therefore a person's presence on a piece of land tends to define property ownership, making it even more imperative for many artisan families to return to their homes and even temporarily rebuild house walls.
Bunyaad has set up three temporary work facilities in three villages in the DG Khan region. Artisans can work at these facilities while their looms and homes are being rebuilt.
While new walls are being constructed, many families are living together and pooling their efforts. In the village of Ladan/Dari Mero, Abdul Aziz with his brothers Majeed, Rasheed, Rafiq and cousin Waheed are all living together with their families as they rebuild their homes. This is a total of over 50 people. Aziz, Majeed, Rasheed and Rafiq are all Bunyaad rug knotters who specialize in intricate, scrolling floral Persian designs. The floods destroyed most things in their homes. By living together, they can combine resources while they rebuild. They work at the temporary rug knotting facility in their village. During their time off, they rebuild sections of their homes. Currently, their families have made makeshift arrangements by putting two rope beds called charpays, on their sides and stretching plastic and blankets over them to provide shade during hot sunny days. The family continues to struggle with clean drinking water as fuel to cook is scarce and hence boiling the water does not become an easy reality. This is especially of great concern as the brothers have many young children, especially Rasheed whose wife Zuleeqa gave birth to daughter Fouzia in late August in the height of the flooding.
With our limited resources, Bunyaad is filling in artisan needs that first-response agencies were not able to address. In addition to getting artisan looms operational, Bunyaad is also helping families restock their long-term storages of wheat and rice that were lost in the flood and helping to get needed fuel to power their cook stoves. This will greatly assist with maintaining a clean water supply.
Bunyaad supervisors in D.G Khan have started to figure out needed parts for the damaged looms and started ordering them locally to spread the benefit to other families who would produce these looms and tools. The goal is to source as much locally so little money is spent on transportation costs and other families could see the benefit in the same villages. A new set of loom tools costs roughly $50 USD; depending on size, a new loom can range in cost from roughly $350-$800 USD at current rates. Loom repairs vary in cost depending on the extent of the damage.
Nasir hopes that all artisans in his region will be back working on their individual looms in one to two months. Currently, Nasir and other Bunyaad Pakistan staff are acquiring raw materials, loom parts and other materials needed to get all artisan looms operational in this region. Money given to the Ten Thousand Villages Artisan Development Fund will help to cover some of these costs.
Rebuilding after the flood is a daunting task for the country. Through fair trade, Bunyaad artisans feel the support of a network that not only helps secure needed food and water but also in long-term building. In the end the goal is to rebuild artisan lives as soon as possible so people can live in their homes and provide education and basic day to day needs for their families.
We hope to have more to report on our artisans in Peshawar area shortly. In this area, the government restricted families from moving back into affected regions. Families are just beginning to move back and our Lahore staff is in transit to Peshawar to assess rebuilding efforts there.
On behalf of our artisans throughout Pakistan, I thank you for caring about people around the world that many of you have never met but whose artistry and creativity graces many of your homes. People that share the same goals in life that most of you have—for peace, for security and for the joys of family.
Rug Program Director
Read earlier updates on the 2010 Flood in Pakistan.