ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: As part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative, Ehsaas has opened 11 Panagahs (Shelter Homes) in the current quarter across different parts of the Country.
Out of them, 5 Panagahs have been opened in Karachi, 4 in Quetta, Killa Abdullah, Gwadar and Lasbela districts of Balochistan, and 1 each in Skardu and Mardan districts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively.
Drawing on proper need assessment, these Shelter Homes have been established in low-income neighborhoods and the residential areas of migrant workers to reach the maximum number of labourers.
The concept of Panagah emerges from the prime minister’s vision of compassion to facilitate the destitute and helpless people while upholding their self-respect. Panagahs protect the people from extreme weather conditions and chilling temperatures.
Last year in August, Prime Minister Imran Khan had entrusted the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division with the responsibility of improving quality standards within Panagahs. Since then, work was accelerated speedily, and a framework was developed to upgrade the standards of all five Panagahs in Islamabad as a starting point.
The Poverty Division developed the policy framework and Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) was given responsibility for execution.
“These Panagahs provide one star+ bed and breakfast facility with meals, essentials, hygiene and security standards. And, each Panagah serves free meals to around 500 people and offers a 100-bed facility for overnight stay. There is 24/7 camera surveillance, with power back-up, with clean sheets, fully functioning shared bathrooms with hot running water, self-service meals in dining halls 7 days a week and since meals were served in shifts. There is a laundry and housekeeping service and mosque in every Panagah”, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said.
“There are protocols for the need assessment to ensure Panagahs open in the right place. The funding model is such that each Panagah has its own account and government funding for essentials is ensured. Accounts are set up to accept donations for every Panagah. In the new funding model, we mandated MOUs with NGOs and individuals that want to contribute in-kind so that the contributions are predictable at both ends. We embedded many integrity features in the donation model for Panagahs—stipulating that no cash will be accepted on-site at the Panagah by staff or any other authority. And third-party audit is mandatory as per the Ehsaas Governance & Integrity Policy,” she further added.
As of December 31, 2020, all five Panagahs in the federal capital had been upgraded. In Islamabad, Ehsaas has also introduced a complimentary shuttle service to serve daily wage earners’ travel to the Panagahs, located on the outskirts of the city.
Reiterating Ehsaas’ resolve to provide shelter to the non-resident labourers and piece-rate workers, Dr. Sania said “Panagah is one of the priority programmes of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Panagahs not only provide shelter to daily wage earners but also a two-time meal to them. To ensure that people are served with the utmost dignity and self-respect, Ehsaas is providing training to the staff of Panagahs.”
Further, she added, “Panagahs’ Initiative for low-income labourers is a giant step towards building a welfare state, who, otherwise, had to sleep on sidewalks in the harsh weather conditions.