Healthcare Update

Dear Friends,

Since I have come to Swat, I have noticed that most NGOs run programs for a maximum of 3 – 6 months and pay huge salaries that take away workers from organizations like ours that are here on a long term basis. The programs are rarely based on the needs of the people and consist of handouts that create more problems in the long term. For instance, the World Food Program has a project here that gives rations as an incentive to children to go to schools. This has put a great burden on the badly run and understaffed public education system, and with so many students coming to classes to collect rations, each teacher now has to teach between 100 and 200 students.

I have been traveling to different villages almost every day and have found that there is a health crisis among the Swati people. Most people are ill, and the two main hospitals in Swat are overburdened, understaffed and badly run (please click on the pictures below for more detail). There is a great need for preventive healthcare programs (like the one that Swat Relief Initiative has started here in collaboration with HDF) in order to take the burden off the hospitals. Our preventive healthcare program has a three-pronged approach to prevent disease: improve maternal health, reduce infant mortality, and reduce malnutrition. We educate people in nutrition by holding health seminars that introduce the right diet and supplements to prevent malnution. We teach hygiene and environmental cleanliness to combat the spread of disease. We also provide antenatal and postnatal care to women, and monitor children under 5. This monitoring includes vaccinations for mothers and children. Additionally, we teach people how to prevent AIDS, HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other major diseases.

I am very actively involved in getting this program off the ground and am personally holding health seminars in villages to create awareness of our program. At the same time, I am also trying to improve the conditions in the local hospitals so that people here can have access to quality healthcare.


Zebu Jilani
President, Swat Relief Initiative



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