My name is Karimdad and I am resident of Mahmood Thaheem village in Taluka Bhitt Shah. This is a small village of 200 to 250 households with no proper health and education facility. My father Qurban Ali was a hari. He worked for a feudal lord and had spent most of his life working on field. He often came home tired with stoop shoulder and sleepy. He did not work for himself, there were 8 more in the family who depended on him. I recall my childhood,we never had enough food to satisfy our hunger and most of the times we used to sleep empty stomach.
My elder sister Khatoo used to take care of us usually because my mother was either busy in cooking or working in field. My sister used to beat us if we demand something that she could not provide. Work load, poverty and illness made my sister irritable and loose tempered. When I was 5 years old my mother asked my father to get me admitted in primary school. We went to the nearest primary school in our village and I got admitted. In the school we used to sit on the cold and wrecked floor in a roofless room. Teacher was a typical rural government school teacher, who used to punish students on trifle errors. There was no playing area in the school and it was without boundary wall; many times we escaped from accident. I could not forget a night, when severe stomach pain drove me out of bed and my family was totally helpless. It was a terrible night, my father was in fields to water the crops. My sisters rushed to call him. There was no health facility, no transport available to take me somewhere for treatment and no one in the village knew as to how to tackle the situation. Finally they managed to take me to one of the health center which was some 20 km away from my home and it took 5 hours to reach there. The doctor was not available and we had to wait till morning, weeping and crying. Finally doctor arrived and after examination suggested medicines that relieved my pain. After a few months, teacher punished me andI ran away from the school and never went back. Today I am a Hari. I support my father in the fields.
But now my children are growing up in completely changed scenario after the HANDS ECD intervention in our village under RCC project ….. The school and class outlook has changed altogether with renovations, trained teacher and new methodology of teaching. Parents and children are both keen for education in this model. I am also part of School Management Committee and my children go to school. They are regular in school and have become very active and sharp due to learning at the school. They bring messages for the family and we learn from them as well. HANDS at the same time started their health services program for maternal and child health care, income generation and literacy program for mothers of children. Now we have primary health care services in our village and links with nearby referral health facility for secondary care. HANDS also provide income generation opportunities for women and provide skill development trainings for them. Looking back now, I wish there were HANDS and RCC project in my village when I was a child. Had it happened then, I might have been an educated man and life would have been different for me. But I am still happy because my children are getting what I could not twenty years back.