Home Feature Dignity in the face of extreme poverty

Dignity in the face of extreme poverty

Dignity in the face of extreme poverty
Children learning as Hamal Bozdar is making the baskets.

Hailing from Dari Salar Village of Johi, the families had lost all their belongings and had taken shelter at Tent Village.

We are poor but want to live with dignity,” says elder of flood-hit families.

Report and Photos by Allah Bux Khushik

DADU, Sindh 

The entire members of some families of Bozdar community, hailing from Dari Salar village of Taluka Johi, live in a tent village, temporarily established at the cricket ground of Ustad Bukhari Degree College in Dadu city, like scores of other families displaced due to torrential monsoon rains, yet they have maintained their dignity despite having lost all the belongings and source of livelihood.

Dadu-Basket-Making- Sindh Courier
Hamal Bozdar making baskets

Instead of begging for any help from the government and other agencies, the young as well as aged male and female members of these families, use their skills to earn livelihood.

“We make baskets of different sizes, mats and other things from leaves of Peesh plant to earn our livelihood,” Hamal Bozdar, 65, told Sindh Courier, when this scribe visited the tent village on Thursday.

“Our skill has helped us not to be dependent of government aid. Yes, we are poor but want to live with dignity,” he said.

Dadu-Basket-Making-Sindh-Courier-9“The floodwater had ruined our homes, village and all other belongings. But the nature has saved us from begging. You know the wild plants of Peesh grow in abundance in Khirthar Mountain range and the Kachho area. The leaves of this plant are traditionally used for making baskets, mats and other things, so we have benefited from this gift of nature,” he said.

Hamal Bozdar said, “We meet our own daily expenses from what we earn by selling the handmade baskets and mats.”

This scribe observed that all the male and female members of this family were busy making the baskets and other products. Even their children were learning this skill by taking part in basket-making and other related works.

Dadu-Basket-Making-Sindh-Courier-10Hamal Bozdar, who is head of Bozdar community families, was talking but his fingers continued working on baskets. His sons and other children were also making baskets.

“Flood water had devastated our area, and since last over two months our five families are living in the tent village. We all use our skills to make different types of baskets and other products for earning good money,” he said.

Watch the Video: Flood-hit families making baskets 

To a question, Hamal Bozdar said that each family earns around Rs.3000 a day and are meeting their daily expenditures without government aid.

He said that the district administration had provided tents and some food items at the initial stage. “Although food supplies were insufficient, we did not beg for more, as we can run our households through our own skills.”

Ms. Nazeeran Bozdar making the baskets

When this scribe met with Ms. Nazeeran, wife of Badal Bozdar, who was also making baskets sitting at her cot outside the tent, she said that besides gifting baskets and mats to many other flood-hit families living in this tent village in their neighborhood, they had started marketing of their products.

A woman making the traditional product from Peesh plant leaves
Another woman at work

“We started door to door visits selling our handmade products in a number of houses in different residential colonies of Dadu city. We charge Rs.100 to Rs.500 for each product as per the size of the basket and mats,” she said.

Woman with finished products
A woman at work

She said that many shop-owners had also ordered for bulk supply of baskets and mats. “Now we are selling many baskets every day and earning good money.”

A boy collecting firewood

Nazeeran said that she was not educated but knows well the importance of skill and hardworking. “I am a mother of 10 children who were enrolled at the village school before floods, but now they all are working with us”.

Another woman Shahnaz Bozdar, who was cooking meals at evening time, said that due to shortage of firewood it is hard to cook in the camp. “Many times we had to buy firewood on our own.”

Dadu-Basket-Making-Sindh-Courier-7One Manzoor Bozdar was seen cutting the hair of a child. According to him, he knows the skill of hair cutting and used to cut hair of all the family members to save money.

Another family member Hassan Bozdar said that they have no support from any elected MNA, MPA and the local administration for the promotion of their skills and all that has been done on their own.

He said that rice and other crops were ruined by floodwater and now it is the season of wheat cultivation but their village still remains inundated. “Some four to five feet of water is still standing in the village.” He said that as now cold weather is coming, every flood-affected family wants to go back home but authorities are indifferent to the situation.



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