(c) Shahzado Khaskheli/HelpAge International
Why we work in Pakistan?
Millions of older people in Pakistan live in poverty. Most Pakistanis rely on agriculture and informal work throughout their lives. This leaves very few with pensions or a reliable income when they reach older age, leaving them dependent on their families who often struggle to provide for them. Older people who have disabilities, live alone, care for children or are widowed are particularly vulnerable to financial insecurity.
Health issues are prominent in Pakistan too, and non-communicable diseases pose a particularly problem because they are not prioritised in health services. Staff are often inadequately equipped to provide care – they do not understand older people’s health issues, and there are no geriatric specialists who can input.
Pakistan is prone to natural disasters, with the country facing floods, earthquakes and drought in recent years. During these emergencies, older people are particularly at risk and need assistance that is targeted to their specific needs.
Supporting livelihoods and advocating for social protection
We advocate for better inclusion of older people in social protection policies and programmes in Pakistan, and encourage the country’s financial sector to better support older women and men’s livelihoods.
We give older people access to small amounts of money at low interest rates to help them develop small businesses, as well as provide older women and men with training and guidance on how to base their enterprise out of their home. This helps to increase their income and ensure they and their families have food on their plates.
Campaigning on older people’s rights
In collaboration with civil society, media, academia and older people’s organisations, we campaign on the protection and promotion of older people’s rights in Pakistan. This has led to three of the country’s four provinces to enact new laws on older people, and we expect the final province of Punjab to join the others soon.
To build local advocacy, we work with over 200 older people’s associations across Pakistan to help them campaign on issues that matter to them and to develop links with policy makers.
HelpAge International is one of the founding members of the Ageing and Disability Task Force, a network of 11 like-minded national and international organisations advocating for inclusion of older people and persons with disabilities in humanitarian responses and disaster risk reduction activities.
Respond to humanitarian emergencies and boosting community resilience
We respond to emergencies with age-friendly support. We provide food and toiletries, ensure older people have adequate shelter, and provide cash to older people to use on their most urgent needs.
We also help communities prepare for disasters by getting effective plans in place. Drills and simulations put these plans into practice, ensuring older people know how to respond when there is an emergency.
From farmer to pattron-maker
(c) Waqas Qureshi/HelpAge International
- Pakistan Medico International
- Big Lottery Fund
- Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
- German Foreign Ministry (AA)
- UK Department for International Development
- Age International
- HelpAge Deutschland