Ayun and Valleys Development Program (AVDP) to develop Kalasha Neighborhood
CHITRAL (Dardistan Times) — Kalasha activists have been concerned about their cultural revival and protection for a long time, along with demands for developmental projects from government, local and international community.
The Kalasha community seemed shattered during last year’s torrential rains that hampered their life. The valleys are facing dire challenges including poverty, illiteracy, health and hygiene issues and ecological hazards. But there are organizations that the community confides in for initiatives that may transform their lives while protecting their identity and cultural heritage.
When we heard of such an organization whose sole mandate is to develop these valleys, our senior Journalist, G.H Farooqui made arrangements to see folks associated with the organization to dig out more about their endeavours. It was interesting to know that AVDP has been so successful to team up with the community for social and developmental change. They are spending millions to develop Ayun and Kalash Valleys. They are working in a number of areas including health, education, cultural preservation and infrastructure development. The organization has got into 45 different projects, spending more than 400 million rupees in the area. “We have teamed up with about 108 civil society organizations to implement various projects for the development of the area. We build protective walls, construct community and public washrooms, train community members, pave the bumpy streets, work for clean water and sanitation in Rumbore, Birrir and Bumborat”, told Abdul Majeed Qureish head of the organization. The organization is working with communities of diverse backgrounds through its participatory approach of development. AVDP has trained about 60 community members in livestock management. They have facilitated several irrigation channels, street pavements, and sanitation projects. They told us that some 457 community members have been trained in health and hygiene. The head of the organization also disclosed that some 17 deserving students have been given scholarships by Hashoo Foundation on their recommendations. The organization was established in April 2006 under company act with a vision to network with civil society partners for socio-economic change in the Kalasha Valleys. The organization appealed to the national and international funding agencies to take interest in developing the unique and wonderful Kalasha Community. (DT) G.H.Farooqui, has contributed to this story from Chitral, Pakistan