Swat Relief Initiative strives to improve the lives of women and children in Pakistan through healthcare, education, economic growth and a sustainable environment.

This non-profit organization also empowers societies through community development, social mobilization and awareness programs to help them achieve a better quality of life.

From 2008 to 2010, the Swat Valley in Pakistan had three major successive catastrophes. It began with a brutal Taliban takeover, followed by a massive refugee crisis during the resulting military conflict, and finally a devastating flood that brought further chaos to the region.

The people of Swat are still suffering in the aftermath of these events, which caused massive destruction of infrastructure and human life.  While SRI started off as a relief organization, we have now transitioned into community development and have created programs designed to strengthen society and benefit the people of Swat. Our focus is on helping women and children — the most vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of society.


Swat Relief Initiative - Founder and President

SRI is a unique organization founded by Zebu Jilani, granddaughter of the last Ruler of Swat, and her husband Arshad Jilani. SRI was created as a platform for all sincere philanthropists to come together as volunteers to help the poor through long term, low cost, sustainable programs in Education, Healthcare, Economic Empowerment, Clean Water and Community Development, which encourage independence and self-reliance for those who have no hope.

SRI's core principles






Relief Efforts

SRI is now a development organization, focusing on helping communities progress without leaving behind the women and children. We began as a relief organization and here are some of what we achieved during that phase of our work:

Mobile Health Clinics
Established Mobile health clinics to aid the internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled from Swat during the conflict of 2009 between the Taliban and the Pakistan Army
Program that provided prosthetic legs to many Swatis
Program that provided prosthetic legs to many Swatis who suffered casualties during the conflict
Relief in megafloods 2010
Provided relief for victims of the 2010 megafloods
Relief for women in health sector
Provided resources to improve the maternity ward of the government hospital in the regional capital, Saidu Sharif
Relief, reconstruction and medical support for earthquake viktims
In 2015, a major earthquake caused destruction in several of our target villages. We are providing relief, reconstruction and medical support to these villages.

SRI was created as a platform for all sincere philanthropists to come together as volunteers to help the poor through long term, low cost, sustainable programs in Education, Healthcare, Economic Empowerment, Clean Water and Community Development.

History of Swat and SRI

Swat is a breathtakingly beautiful valley nestled in the foothills of the world’s highest mountains, the Karakoram range in the Western Himalayas of Pakistan. History has played out a fascinating story in this valley. Alexander the Great came through the region in 326 BCE, followed by a flourishing of the Gandhara culture, from where Buddhism spread into China and South East Asia via the Silk Road.

What Sets us Apart

Effective Funds Implementation

Effective Funds implementation

We pledge that 100% of all donations will go directly to helping improve the lives of the poor in Swat. We maximize the effectiveness of donated funds by maintaining an all-volunteer workforce at the organizational level, and by financing all overhead costs, such as transportation, advertising etc, from the personal funds of the founding members

Targeted Aid

Targeted Aid

Most NGOs give aid to those who most aggressively seek it, however, our volunteers go door-to-door identifying the people who have the greatest need, and we target our aid to those people, whether or not they are able to come to us

Community Mobilization

Community Mobilization

We organize and mobilize communities to help themselves, so that, instead of making the recipients aid dependent, we teach them necessary skills to take their future into their own hands by strengthening education, economic development and democratic process at the grassroots level

Ethical Standards

Ethical Standards

We take ethics very seriously, and have a ZERO-tolerance policy for corruption. We monitor and scrutinize all funds to insure the most efficient utilization of donated money

Personal Supervision

Personal Supervision

SRI’s Founders spend three months of the year in Swat to personally supervise all our programs, and travel extensively to all the villages we work in to monitor our activities.

Where We Work

SRI’s programs are focused on nine villages near Saidu Sharif, the capital of Swat.  Six of the villages are in Saidu Sharif Union Council (Township) and three are in Islampur Union Council (Township). In each village we have two Village Development Organizations (VDOs) – one for women and one for men. Representation in each VDO is determined through a grass roots democratic process of voting, with participation of every household.

Swat Relief Initiative is unique because we make every effort to ensure that our work is effective and follows the ideal concept of charity

Letter from the Founders

Dear Friends,

We have always felt a debt of gratitude to the social institutions under which we grew up: Pakistan in the 60’s.  Today, unfortunately, those institutions are but a pale semblance of what they used to be. We were privileged but came from families that, despite their station in society, gave and taught us to give of ourselves to those who were less privileged.

This background, and our subsequent achievements in life, put us in a position to help the most needy people in Pakistan.  We are most effective in Swat:  This is in the region we are from, this is where we best know the people and this is where the people know us well.

We started Swat Relief Initiative at a time when the people of Swat went through the first major trauma of three major disasters: the 2008 Taliban takeover, the ensuing 2009 war and the 2010 mega-floods.

The most vulnerable segments of Swati society are the women and children – they are our focus.  We bring the men along too, for they are key to helping develop a milieu in which women and children can grow into fully contributing members of society.

We have a holistic approach to social growth with programs in Social Mobilization, Health, Education, Economic Development and Sustainable Environment. While working in these areas of social development we partner, when necessary, with individuals and organizations that can supplement our expertise and impact.

Of course, we cannot do any of this without the help of your continuing generous contributions, which we continue to pledge will go directly to where they are needed the most: programs and projects on the ground that provide the greatest opportunity for less fortunate women and children to thrive.


Zebu and Arshad Jilani