World Vision, in collaboration with UNICEF, distributed winter clothing to more than 900 school children in Pakistan’s devastated Seron Valley in late December before temperatures plummeted in the New Year.
The villages of Jabouri, Sachan Kalan, Nawazabad and Devli are located at attitudes 5,000 feet or higher in the North West Frontier Province. At this freezing height, children in these villages are particularly susceptible to pneumonia and respiratory infections from the cold.
Children aged four to 14 received warm jackets, woolen caps, scarves, stockings and warm, sturdy shoes that will better protect them against the cold as they study in temporary winterized tent schools.
“I am happy to receive these clothes and shoes as I have never had new clothes and I feel warm in these. My father had been getting second-hand clothes and shoes for us from the second-hand clothes market in Mansehra and Shinkiari. I shall wear them when I go to school,” nine-year-old second grade student Saadia, from the government primary school in Manda Gucha, told World Vision.
“I have three sisters. Sumera and Naiyla are both first grade students at my school. Maria is an infant and she stays with my mother. Sumera and Naiyla have also come along with me. They will also receive the winter clothing kit and will be happy,” she added.
WV communications officer, Moussadiq Ali, reported that soon after the distribution, the villages received up to three feet of snow which halted relief efforts. Heavy snow is anticipated in mid-January, with threat of landslides and avalanches in higher altitude areas, he noted.
Besides distributing warm clothes among school children and assisting their families with shelter materials and food supplies, World Vision continues to involve more and more children in its 13 Child Friendly Spaces (CFS).
According to Mitra Sarraf, Child Protection Specialist with World Vision Pakistan, World Vision plans to establish a total of 20 spaces by the end of January and is training male and female community mobilizers to lead activities in the new spaces in Mansehra.