For every Pakistani hit by floods, there are eight who are still standing and ready to help. That was the theme that guided the recent Silicon Valley Iftar and Fundraiser organized by Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN Silicon Valley) at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
About 300 attendees contributed over $500,000 at the event. It was specially gratifying to see that my fellow NED alumni were at the forefront and donated $60,000, with a pledge to give another $40,000 to match any additional contributions made within a week of the event. There was another offer of $70,000 match by an unknown contributor.
In addition to various fundraisers to aid twenty million flood victims, Pakistani-American employees have persuaded their high-tech employers to make significant matching contributions for flood relief. For example, Cisco is matching over a million dollars in employee contributions, and Intel's Pakistani employees expect their employer to contribute about $250,000. Google has announced $250,000 grant for flood victims, and set up a special page for additional fundraising.
While each of these reported amounts at individual events and companies in the valley appear too small to meet the massive challenge ahead, I believe that it will all add to up to a substantial amount of several million dollars for at least the initial phase of rescue and relief effort.
Beyond that, the community and their friends and neighbors will need to be energized to support the much bigger and longer term effort required for the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase for about twenty million victims.
Here is a list of some of the organizations actively raising funds for flood relief:
As Pakistan faces the worst natural disaster of its 63 year history, the failure to aid the victims could perpetuate the misery of the poor victims and play right in to the hands of the extremist forces of intolerance who are actively taking advantage of the human misery amidst social inequities of Pakistan's rural feudal society.
As heart-wrenching and destructive as this deluge has been, I believe it could also be a blessing in disguise for the millions of poor peasants who have been toiling on the feudal lands from time immemorial. If the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort is designed and implemented to help the victims escape the degrading life as slaves of their feudal lords, Pakistan could see a new beginning toward greater human development and a prosperous future that is free of violence and terrorism.
Here is a video clip showing scenes of great devastation and widespread human suffering caused by the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan:
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