Formed amid religious and territorial conflict in 1947, Pakistan's disagreements with India over the contested territory of Kashmir have never been fully resolved. The government is engaged in an ongoing struggle with Islamist extremists located near its northern border with Afghanistan, and possible Pakistani links to the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 have inflamed tensions with India and the West.
Its conflict with India has cost Pakistan dearly, and the value of the rupee has declined significantly due to the lack of confidence in the economy and in political leadership. Pakistan remains a poor, underdeveloped nation with 3 million refugees, where 1 in 9 children will die before their fifth birthday. Human trafficking, gender discrimination and forced prostitution are commonplace.
The people of Pakistan are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in Pakistan through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
In conjunction with partner organisations, ActionAid has worked with communities in Pakistan since 1993, and now reaches 60,000 people. Improving access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities, and the training of health workers and the provision of health services are top priorities. It also invests in educating people about gender equality, and has been a champion for food and labour rights.
ActionAid supports micro-finance companies that make small loans and credit available to business start-ups. It also works with the many refugees flooding in from neighbouring Afghanistan, supplying them with access to clean water, food, sanitation and health care. At times of natural disaster ActionAid has been on hand to provide emergency relief.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to affect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Pakistan today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.