Pakistan, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in southern Asia immersed in ancient history and diverse geography. A land of famous poets and artists, this country abounds with musicians, unique food, a love of cricket and expanses of natural landscape. It shares borders with India, Iran, Afghanistan and China and has a long coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan has the fifth largest population and is the 34th largest country in the world. It has a semi-industrialized economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector. Ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, this country has one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing middle classes. With a tumultuous political history since independence in 1947, its political climate has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, water crises and corruption.
Pakistan is divided into four provinces: Balochistan, North-West Frontier, Punjab, and Sindh. Most Pakistanis live in Punjab. Western and northern Pakistan are dry and mountainous. Sindh and Punjab receive little rain, but the Indus River flows through them and irrigates the land.
- Pakistan exists on the site of the Indus Valley Civilization, which was one of the oldest and most prosperous of ancient civilizations
- Pakistan has the world’s largest canal-based irrigation system. Most of the country lacks electricity, so people use canals to irrigate their lands.
- K2, (or Mount Godwin-Austen) - the second highest mountain in the world after Mt. Everest - is in Pakistan.
- Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, located in the Arabian Sea, is the largest deep sea port in the World.
Language divides the people of Pakistan, but Islam unites them. More than 20 languages are spoken here with Punjabi and Sindhi being the most common. Urdu, Pakistan's official language, is taught in schools. Pakistani films are usually in Punjabi or Urdu. The most popular newspapers are in Urdu, Sindhi, or English.
More than 97 percent of Pakistanis are Muslims. Most are Sunni Muslims and some are Shia Muslims. The minority groups that exist here are Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrians and animist minority groups. Schools in Pakistan generally base their teachings on Islam.
Since the countries were divided, both India and Pakistan have claimed the region of Kashmir. This region is important to both because of its crucial water resources. In 1998, both nations tested nuclear weapons, but they refused to sign a nuclear test ban treaty. Efforts to create a better relationship between the two countries continue.
Pakistan is world’s largest producer of hand-sewn soccer balls (known in most of the world as footballs). Sialkot, a city located in Pakistan, produces 40-60 million soccer balls a year, which is roughly 50-70% of the world’s total production.
- Karakoram Highway is a 1300 km national highway in Pakistan. It connects Pakistan with China. The highway is a popular tourist attraction, and is one of the highest paved roads in the world, passing through the Karakoram mountain range. It is 4,693 meters (15,397 ft) high and due to its high elevation and the difficult conditions in which it was constructed, it is referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
- Changa Manga is a planted forest and wildlife park in Lahore district, Pakistan. It is the largest and the oldest man-made forest in the World. It was established in 1866 and covers the area of 12,423 acres (5,027 hectares).
- Pakistan is home many endangered species that are at risk of going extinct. Some of these animals can only be seen in certain parts of the country. For example, the Indus river dolphin can only be found in certain fragments of the Indus river due to the development of dams, loss of food resources, and water quality issues. To help bring attention to these animals, some areas in Pakistan now offer eco-tours to showcase and conserve their unique wildlife.
Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani lady, is a social activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for backing up women’s education in native Swat Valley in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan. In 2014, She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Malala is one of the two Pakistanis who have won the Nobel Prize, the other being Abdus Salam for Physics in 1979.
#1: Improve Access to Water
Safely managed sustainable water and sanitation resources are urgently needed in this rural village in Pakistan due to the lack of available clean water sources, poor sanitation practices and an absence of hygiene education. The primary water source for drinking, bathing and washing clothes is an unnamed river which is also used by local animals such as cattle, oxen, buffalo, donkeys, horses, cats, dogs and camels. It is polluted by biological contaminants from human and animal waste, garbage and agricultural inputs. There is no sewage system here, no piped water, electricity or toilets. Waterborne illnesses including Hepatitis A are a serious problem. There is a concerning lack of education regarding safely managing water sources and maintaining a hygienic environment.
How we’re helping:
- We are raising the funds to provide hand water pumps throughout 324 jb (a village near Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan) to meet the needs of the 2000 residents who live there.
#2: Provide Toilets to Improve Sanitation
In many places throughout the world, having a toilet is a given. We can find them in our homes, schools, jobs, malls… just about everywhere. But in the village of 324 jb, toilets are considered a luxury. Only a small percentage of people have access to one. The rest of the people are forced to find a secluded place outside to relieve themselves. Without proper sanitation, people are more at-risk of illnesses such as diarrhea, which can be deadly. Without a sanitary toilet, women and girls who are menstruating do not have a safe place to manage their menstrual cycles. Without proper disposal of human waste, it enters their small streams and contaminates their water supply.
#3: Vaccine Clinic
Some waterborne illnesses are preventable not only through behavior modification and proper facilities, but also through proper vaccinations. Due to endemic poverty in 324 jb, most villagers are not vaccinated and remain unnecessarily at risk of contracting these diseases. This includes Hepatitis A, which is a serious problem in the area and is contracted when an uninfected person ingests food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Through a separate funding platform, we will provide vaccines to villagers at no cost.
#4: Establish Cultural Exchange
We are partnering with Barkat Ministry, a Christian minority organization in Pakistan that runs a small orphanage. Although they face the challenges of religious persecution and impoverishment in a developing world, they are warm, kind and enjoy sharing their culture. Through our virtual cultural exchange program, you will have the opportunity to learn about their culture from these children, while teaching them about your own. Together you will complete shared activities and you will be able to have a direct impact on their lives. Your donations will help fund educational supplies for the orphans and will help provide access to proper water and sanitation amenities. Though prejudices surrounding this region abound, it is important to realize that amazing, kind-hearted people can be found everywhere. This cultural experience will allow you to get to know someone like you in another country so you can develop and grow in empathy and understanding, while also making a positive difference.
Enjoy the WorldChanger Experience™ with us!
#5: Loving Literacy: The Creation of a Shared Library
The development of early literacy skills and a love of reading is crucial to lifelong learning and success. Reading is one of the most essential activities a child can enjoy. Through joyful reading and thoughtful discussion with children, they learn not only to appreciate literature and the subjects within, but also develop a sense of empathy for others, learn about the world around them and the complexities of life and relationships, and expand their aptitude for language. It engenders self-confidence, helps children excel in school and encourages their soaring imaginations. To this end, we are gradually funding a shared library for the orphans cared for by the Barkrat Ministry.