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Chandi Ghar at Sujawal Bund

People travelling along the Sujawal Bund of Thatta during the Eid holidays were pleasantly surprised to see two glittering “Chandi Ghars” built overnight. This was part of an exercise to provide low cost prefab houses for the flood affectees a joint venture of two Karachi based NGO’s – Gul Bahao and Umeed. Gul Bahao has been claiming for years that the Chandi Ghar being prefabricated is ideal for disaster management and especially wherever ownership of land is not certain

The Chandi Ghar it may be recalled is a totally new concept using aluminum foil and panaflex materials along with bamboo sticks. Though the manufacture of the blocks requires the latest raw materials assembling them is extremely simple consisting of blocks and panels it was manufactured at the Gul Bahao complex in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and then transported to Shujawal

A seven member team of Gul Bahao erected the two houses 10×15 feet along with the male members of the flood affected housed in tents along the Sujawal Bund . They spent two days and nights right in the open till the putting up of the prefabs. This way much of the new technology was handed down to the villagers some of whom were acquainted with house building. The workers of Gul Bahao were however saddened to see that their hosts ate barely a single meal a day. On their part they tried not to be a burden on their hosts.

Addressing the villagers who had gathered to watch the spectacle, Nargis Latif, the managing trustee of Gul Bahao said that this new innovation is a source of hope for the teeming millions of Pakistan that not only can it provide housing for them but  can also provide avenues for employment and income generation. Nargis declared that the innovation is unique, that we have beaten the Americans, the Chinese, Japanese and the rest of the world in this respect.

Relief camp for flood affectees located in Razzakabad

The last days of the holy month of Ramazan were spent in unique way by the Gul Bahao team. Away from their homes, they spent two nights and days in the Relief camp for flood affectees located in Razzakabad  (presently  housing seven thousand refugees) situated in the suburbs of Karachi. The purpose was to demonstrate the different techniques and skills developed by Gul Bahao for disaster management.

What is more, two prefabricated structures of size 15×30 were put  up with the help of the camp inmates. One is meant to serve as conference room (as suggested by the administration) and the other to serve as waiting room for the patients of a mobile Hospital put up by the UAE government.

The representative of the UAE government in Pakistan Dr. Adil has offered to buy more prefabricated structures called Chandi Ghar from Gul Bahao. The putting up of the prefabricated structures was a good example of cooperation between the NGO and flood affectees. The first 15x 30 Chandi Ghar was built at a very prominent place in the camp. Many of the refugees chipped in with their labor, quickly learning the new techniques  involved in putting up the structures The work was done throughout the night under the glare of the street lights. Till the time of Sehri. This was so because many were fasting and also to meet the deadline of Eid.

While hundreds of people crowded around to see the glittering “Chandi Ghar” others listened with interest to talks accompanied by photographs by Head of Gul Bahao, Nargis Latif.  Using the language of the affectees of Sindh Nargis dwelt  on the use of mobile toilets (as designed by Gul Bahao) on the need for recycling rural waste, water purification method called Paaki Pani  and other innovations of the organization.