They lost their home, their land and every last one of their belongings.

Mustufa, Zainab and their two young children would never forget the tragic day powerful floods devastated their village in Pakistan.

In the wake of the disaster, Mustufa grew especially worried about how he would feed his family. Before the flood, he cultivated cotton and chillies and earned enough money to meet their needs. But the deluge destroyed the crops he worked so hard to nurture. An added concern was affording care for Zainab, who was living with a mental illness.

Mustufa took his family to live on a farm in another village where he got a job cracking stones. But his earnings were minimal.

Once the floodwaters receded, the family returned home. But the village Mustufa came back to was far from the home he remembered. As far as he could see were swaths of damaged houses and no land left for cultivation. While his own field had begun to dry up, Mustufa wondered how he would begin to restore its fertility.

For Mustufa, hope came in the form of vegetable seeds.

A PWS&D-supported project executed by local partners in Pakistan made this gift possible. By providing seeds for sowing to communities affected by the floods, the project is helping families restore their land, recover livelihoods and rebuild the life they enjoyed before the flood.

Mustufa planted in the soil behind his home. “I was hopeful that the golden days of my life would return,” he shares.

In just over a month, green leaves of spinach and coriander poked from the soil. Brimming with happiness, he and his family cooked the first produce and enjoyed a meal together. In the spirit of gratitude, they also distributed food among neighbours.

When Mustufa started selling his vegetables, his profits were enough to buy new clothes for his family, fruit and meat, and treatment for Zainab. He has planned to set up a tomato garden and is optimistic that he will earn enough to provide for his family for years to come.

*This project receives support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank. PWS&D is a member of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. This project was undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada.

Adapted from a story on the Community World Service Asia website.

Banner photo: Mustufa and Zainab with their children at their house, Community World Service Asia