For a long time, it was helping the refugee communities that was the focus of our humanitarian work. Pakistan has hosted some of the largest refugee community over four decades now. The first group of Afghan refugees arrived in 1979, following the Soviet invasion. As the crisis in Afghanistan evolved and deepened more and more people sought the safety in the neighboring Pakistan. At its peak, Pakistan has hosted around 5 million Afghan refugees in different parts of the country and today it still accommodates nearly 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees. Pakistan has also traditionally been a destination for Afghan migrants to access services and better livelihood opportunities.
Our refugee programs are multidimensional and reflects the way we see the displaced people – not solely through the lens of the disaster that changed their lives, not through what they have lost, but for what they could do in the future. The change in our organization’s name also happened for this reason – we know that labels, such as ‘refugee’ are stigmatizing and we understand that nobody wants to have their life defined by a single dark moment.
Our refugee programs are meant to offer support at different levels – we supply primary healthcare and run nutrition campaigns, we work to prevent gender based
violence and support the victims, we provide quality education and youth empowerment programs. We believe that just meeting a refugee’s basic needs is not enough. Meaning and purpose, pride and hope, a sense of connection and belonging; these are the needs we must meet. It’sdeeply personal. And it’s deeply human.