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Pakistan: Displaced Boy Would Prefer To Be In Class

WFP food assistance is helping make sure that displaced children like Shahzad can lead dignified lives until the time comes when they can go back to their lives and homes.

SWABI -- Shahzad Ali, 11, wants to be a doctor when he grows up. It’s a common dream in this part of the world. Shahzad is so far-sighted, even in the sixth grade of school, that he has already decided to specialize in orthopedic medicine.

But he is now a long way from his school and his studies. Like tens of thousands of people from Buner and its neighboring Swat valley, his family has been forced to flee by the worsening security situation and military operations.

“We have had to leave Buner, where we were happy, and we are living a miserable life,” said Shahzad, as he sat disconsolately on two bags of wheat at one of the humanitarian hubs established by WFP in the Swabi district south of Buner. Swabi is one of the districts where many of the displaced people (IDPs) from Swat, Buner and Dir are arriving.

swabi man carrying his family's monthly ration of WFP food over his shoulder

Food reaching IDPs

As he waited for his father to take away the food rations they had been given, Shahzad admitted that things could be worse and that food assistance was reaching most IDPs.

But he was clearly worried, feeling his future was at stake and he should be in his classroom.

In order to meet the needs of IDPs in the immediate crisis, WFP is dispatching record amounts of wheat, wheatflour, rice, sugar and pulses for distribution through the humanitarian hubs and in the IDP camps.

Humanitarian hubs

At the Kunda Mor hub, also in Swabi, Ikram Hashmi stopped to talk for a moment as he carried his family’s food rations on his shoulder. He was satisfied with the support provided to his family but complained that people have to wait in long queues to get their food. 

Some 22 humanitarian hubs are dotted across the North West Frontier Province with five in the Swabi district. More points are to be opened soon in various districts of the province.

Meanwhile, a food bank has been set up in Azakhel, near Peshawar, to collect the many in-kind contributions of food that are coming from Pakistani citizens, companies and government authorities.