How students can help
To the Teacher:
flooding has driven millions of Pakistanis from their homes and
land. Many of us feel compassion for them. But, wrote Susan Sontag,
"Compassion is an unstable emotion. It need to be translated
into action or it withers." (Regarding the Pain of Others)
brief student reading below suggests the dimensions of the situation
for Pakistanis. Following it are suggestions for student discussion
and inquiry, and ways to translate compassion into action before
Overview of a catastrophe
Jampour, Pakistan: "In some places the water covers everything,
dotted only by the tops of mango trees. Even here, with homesteads
and roads on slightly raised lands, mud-brick houses have dissolved
and all that remains are pitiful piles of debris where they once
.Pakistan grapples with a staggering disaster that
has left millions homeless and many more cut off without food
or clean water
Pakistan: "Torrential monsoon rains struck the northern highlands
of Pakistan, beginning on July 28. "Water tore through the
upper part of the country with terrifying velocity and it is now
spreading out through the flood plains of central Punjab and northern
Sindh Provinces on its way to the Arabian Sea."
Pakistan: "Hundreds of thousands more Pakistanis fled their
homes as high floodwaters reached the southernmost region of the
.Health workers setting up clinics in the major centers
of displacement reported a sharp increase in cases of acute diarrhea
high incidence of malaria is also being reported in the southern
." (Carlotta Gall, reporting from Pakistan
for the New York Times, 8/20/10, 8/21/10 and 8/28/10)
worst flooding in Pakistan's history has created a catastrophe
for many millions of people--more than those affected by the 2005
Indian Ocean tsunami and South Asia earthquake and the 2010 Haiti
earthquake combined. (www.care.org)
More than half of these people are without shelter.
huge flooded area, running north to south, has meant villages
washed away along with crops, farmland, livestock, and homes,
bridges, roads, schools, electricity stations, health clinics.
Human suffering is acute from homelessness, hunger, thirst, skin
and respiratory infections; waterborne diseases. Pakistanis are
desperate for help.
the immediate crisis ebbs, all that will remain will be hunger,
stagnant water, disease and the threat of chaos, which extremist
groups will gladly exploit." (New York Times editorial,
are getting help from the United States, other countries, and
humanitarian organizations. But millions of individuals in Pakistan
require help not only immediately, but for the indefinite future.
So many have lost homes and everything in them as well as fields
where they grew crops for family food and income. The only thing
to keep them going will be the help of fellow human beings.
best way to help is to give money to one or more of the humanitarian
organizations working in Pakistan. These organizations use the
money to buy and deliver clean water, food, medicines, and shelter
as well as pay for doctors, aides and other experienced workers
who can help Pakistanis survive and rebuild their lives.
are very hard days for millions of jobless Americans and their
families. But times are even harder for millions of Pakistanis
who have nothing but the clothes on their backs and a long, very
difficult struggle ahead of them to build new lives.
discussion and inquiry
questions do students have about the reading? Consider those questions,
as well as some of those listed below:
What is he location, size, population, and history of Pakistan?
2. What are monsoons? Why do they create such destruction?
What is the nature of the "extremist groups" in Pakistan?
4. What is the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan?
5. How do Pakistanis view the US?
6. How does the the Afghanistan war affect Pakistan?
"Thinking Is Questioning"
in the high school section of www.teachablemoment.org for suggestions
and exercises on helping student learn how to analyze their questions.
to help Pakistanis
Solicit contributions from family members, friends, and neighbors
to send to a relief organization.
2. Organize a group fundraising campaign through yard sales,
car washes, raffles, or special events, like school-wide assemblies
3. Consider school wide or inter-school activities like
those suggested in the "Ideas and Issues" item in "Teaching
describes itself as "the largest alliance of U.S.-based international
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on the world's poor
and most vulnerable people." The site includes a list and
brief description of more than 40 organizations that are working
to help Pakistani flood victims.
Institute of Philanthropy
describes itself as "a charity watchdog service whose purpose
is to help donors make informed giving decisions." The organization
provides information about a variety of charities and rates them
using a set of criteria it describes. The site also includes a
guide to help donors get the most for their dollars, tips for
online giving, and a variety of articles on charitable giving.
lesson was written for TeachableMoment.Org, a project of Morningside
Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. We welcome
your comments. Please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.