Until 2017 Han Schellart visited Quetta each year in November to make plans together with Don Bosco for the next year. This year that was not possible, because he could not get a visa for Pakistan. To make a virtue of it, the board decided to invite father Sami, who is heading the boarding house of Al-Falah, to the Netherlands. We hope this can be realised. Besides planning the future, he could visit some small organisations and meet the donors.
Pakistan has been extensively in the international news this year. Think of the election of Imran Khan, the case of Asia Bibi, the attacks in Karachi and the separtist movement of the Baluchi. To update the foreigners who lived in Quetta during the last couple of decades, here follows a report of Marcel Stallen who lived parttime in Quetta for the last four years.
When Han asked me to write something about Quetta for this news letter, I decided immediately to do so. Han urged me not to write too negatively about it. After almost four years in Quetta I am sometimes cynical about the development in Pakistan. But on the whole I am still optimistic about the future. Change will come, although slowly. When I think how father Otto dedicated fourty years of his life for the good of the poor in Quetta, I am full of admiration for him and I should not complain about my own situation. I am allowed a week’s leave every six weeks, while he only went home once in five years or so.
Daily life in Quetta is completely different from what it used to be thirty years ago. Nowadays there are only about ten foreigners living in the city and they are not allowed to move around freely. Hanna Lake has dried up and many districts of Baluchistan have been declared disaster areas because of extreme drought. In Quetta water has to be drawn from deeper down and farther away. “Business as usual”, my Pakistani FAO colleagues comment. Change will not come very soon in Baluchistan. Another thing that did not change in all those years is the influence of the “tribes”, who divide their power in the provincial government between themselves. The rubbish in the streets is still there, as well as the lack of sanitary facilities and the position of women seems unchanged after fifty years.
Next year I am going to find another job and I have asked myself why I worked here with enthousiasm most of the time, against all odds. I am always been convinced that the FAO projects – especially the agricultural, horticultural and stock farming ones which I am heading – were useful for the farmers in distant districts. Also, my Pakistani colleagues, especially the office boys, the guards, the cleaners and the drivers, who have trouble to meet both ends, assisted me in a fabulous way. They remained optimistic and were always friendly and hospitable. They keep hoping for a “Naya” Pakistan, which has been promised by the new Prime Minister, Imran Khan. I always considered that optimism very special, because these people really have a reason to complain. It is a hard life.They see prices increasing by the day, half of the time there is no water or electricity available. Sometimes, when I am fed up wit it all, I tell myself that there is no reason at all to complain, if I only compair it to the situation the inhabitants are inSo, after all, I will miss Pakistan.
Greetings from Quetta, Marcel Stallen.
Below you can read four stories of youg people who were awarded with a scholarship by Friends of Al Falah this year.
The story of Youhana
Youhana is an eleven year old boy. He lost his father when he was eight years old. Togheter with his mother and sister he moved in with his grandparents, because the family was obliged to move out of the government owned house. His mother got a small widow’s pension and earned some extra money with tailoring. She also had some savings. When she got thyroid cancer, Youhana was accepted in the Al-Falah youth hostel. His mother died two years after his father’s death, just after bringing back Youhana to the hostel. He is a brave little boy, who works hard in school. In the weekends he stays with his grandma. All expenses for him are being paid by our foundation.
The story of Yashwa
Yashwa is thirteen years old. His family lives in the village Shekarzi, 90 km away from Quetta. They are the sole Christian family there. His father white washes the village houses and his mother works parttime as a health worker, vaccinating the village’s children. Thanks to the donors of Friends of Al-Falah he now stays in the Al-Falah hostel and reads in Group 5.
The story of Neiha
The family of Neiha (24) does not consider a good education for girls as an important issue. That is why she was not allowed to continue her studies after secondary school. Nevertheless, she persisted and in the end she got a scholarship for a Bachelor in Biotechnology from Friends of Al-Falah. At the end of the school year she had a 90% score! She hopes she can continue her studies with our support .
The story of Ashley
Ashley’s mother provides for the livelihood of the family as a teacher. But, due to a shortage of money, he had to stop his Bachelor of Business Administration course. When friends told him of the possibility of a scholarship of Al-Falah, he applied for one and got it. He finished his Bachelors with a specialisation in Human Resources this month (Dec. 2018) and wants to continue for his Masters with the help of Al-Falah. With this education he will certainly find a good job.
We thank all supporters of these and other motivated young people in Quetta and we will go on as long as we can collect enough money to do so.