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The 2005 Pakistan Earthquake, Tales of Inspiration

7th October, 2015

Among the devastation of the Pakistan earthquake of 8th October 2005, which claimed more than 80,000 lives, there was hope and inspiration, individuals and families who managed to survive the havoc and rebuild their lives with the help of Islamic Help's generous donors.

Hammad Mahroof: One of the most inspiring stories that emerged was that of Hammad Mahroof, who was just a year-old when his home in Balakot was buried under tonnes of debris in the quake. The bodies of his father, Maroof, and his 3 year-old sister Shazia were recovered by neighbours later that evening.

Hammad was assumed to have died, his fragile body meshed in mud. It was only the following day, while his mother Ashrafa, then aged 33, was searching the rubble for food that she heard his faint cries.

Hammad was pulled out but in the rescue his spine was fractured, leaving him permanently disabled and unable to walk.

With his mother left to fend for her family – Hammad, his two brothers Assad and Umer, and sister Tyba – they relied on outside help for survival.

Hammad became part of Islamic Help’s orphan sponsorship programme, with generous donors over the years ensuring that he and his siblings would receive sufficient food and education.

A decade later, Islamic Help’s supporters continue to support the youngster, who recently received a new wheelchair (right). Despite his disability, that support has helped the youngster through the last decade and given him hope for the future.

Huma Khan: Another youngster left facing an uncertain future was Huma Khan, aged 10 when the earthquake struck. Her mother had died three years earlier of a heart attack but the 2005 disaster claimed the life of her father, leaving Huma and her seven sisters facing a life of struggle.

Huma’s elder sister, Neelofar, was left to provide for the entire family through a private teaching job. Islamic Help’s orphan care programme started working in the village and after the necessary assessment, Huma became one of the children looked after through sponsorship.

That not only helped ease the family’s struggles for the basics of life but allowed Huma to receive an education which eventually led her to do a Bachelors in Business Administration degree and look forward to a quality of life she could not have envisaged in her younger days.

Meer Zaman: For Meer Zaman, then aged 60, a small, single room mud house in the village of Shohal Najaf Khan in Balakot was his home, shared with his wife four sons and a daughter.

A peasant farmer who relied on the land, he found his livelihood and his home destroyed on October 8th 2005, leaving him with nothing. Despite the extreme cold, they had no option but to sleep in the open and faced a life of poverty and ill-health.

Part of Islamic Help’s longer term recovery programme was the provision of new homes and after a needs assessment, Meer Zaman’s family was provided with permanent shelter, so at the least they had a roof over their heads bringing them added protection and security from the elements.

TOMORROW: Kamran Uddin, a volunteer's tale.