This is a short film I made for UNICEF to draw attention to the human impact caused by the massive floods that swept through Pakistan in 2010.
Ejaz Najum, 12, was living in Karampur, in the northern part of Sindh Province, when floods ravaged his entire village and surrounding communities in late July 2010. Across Pakistan, the massive floods inundated farms, schools and health facilities, and disrupted basic social services, from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea.
Having lost their home and all their belongings, Ejaz and his family were left with no choice but to move to the Selani relief camp, run by a non-governmental organization in Sukkur City. Life at the camp was extremely difficult, but at least they had access to shelter, basic health care and nutrition, safe drinking water and sanitation.
Ejaz continued his education at a UNICEF-supported temporary learning centre at Selani. While living at the refugee camp in Sukkur, Ejaz's mother gave birth to his youngest sister.
I first visited and filmed Ejaz and his family in 2010, in the immediate aftermath of their displacement. I returned to Karampur in July, 2011, to see them again.
Despite the daunting challenges he faces, Ejaz maintains hope for the future. Today, he and his two brothers – Israar, 14, and Insaaf, 9 – are back attending school. “I will study and then I will build schools,” says Ejaz. “Education changes everything. I want Pakistan to be the best country.”
While his family is among the poorest of the poor, Ejaz’s story is similar to the experiences of more than 3.9 million children who were severely affected by the floods that struck Pakistan from July through September 2010. The total number of people directly affected by the floods was estimated at over 18 million.
One year later, the situation remained critical for millions who still struggle to rebuild their livelihoods and communities.