11/29/2023. It’s been five years since I have posted here. In that time, Asia Bibi has been able to leave Pakistan and resides in an undisclosed location here in the West.

Also, in these past years there has been much political tumult in the Pakistan region and so, for security and safety, I have not posted here as I did before. But through this time, we have continued to assist families and schools in Azad Kashmir (but for now we have ceased efforts in Pakistan). I will remain silent with our activities.  If you wish to contribute, contact me via email through this website. -sc


11/1/2018. Asia Bibi, accused of “Blasphemy” in Pakistan, has been acquitted but she is in more danger than ever.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has for years been on death row in Pakistan for alleged “blasphemy” against Muhammad, has been acquitted by the Pakistani Supreme Court and ordered to be freed – but she remains in Pakistan and is not out of danger.

It all started for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic wife and mother, on June 14, 2009 – or more precisely, it all ended for her on that day. She recounted in August 2013:

“I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.”

Picking fruit with a group of Muslim women, Bibi was ordered to fetch water for them – and drank a bit of it herself in the stifling heat. A Muslim woman rebuked her for doing so, saying to the other women: “Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”

Bibi stood up to her, responding: “I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed.” That drove the Muslim women into a fury, and they started yelling at Bibi: “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!” That’s right, you’re just a filthy Christian! You’ve contaminated our water and now you dare speak for the Prophet! Stupid bitch, your Jesus didn’t even have a proper father, he was a bastard, don’t you know that? You should convert to Islam to redeem yourself for your filthy religion.”

The embattled woman stood her ground, responding: “I’m not going to convert. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”

Several days later, she was arrested for blasphemy as an enraged mob beat her and screamed, “Death! Death to the Christian!”

She has been in prison ever since, awaiting execution for her “crime.”

But in a decision that brought an abrupt and unexpectedly happy ending to her case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Bibi had made a statement in which she “expressed her full respect to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Holy Quran and she offered to take an oath on the Bible to the Investigation Officer (IO) to prove her innocence which was refused by the IO. Therefore, the appellant being innocent deserves acquittal.”

The Supreme Court noted the thinness of the prosecution’s case: “The entirety of the prosecution case revolved around the statement of two ladies, namely, Mafia Bibi (PW.2 [that is, prosecution witness 2]) and Asma Bibi (PW.3) and the extra-judicial confession of appellant. The said (PW’s) stated that the appellant, in the presence of other Muslim ladies, passed derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). It is pertinent to mention here that admittedly, as is evident from the contents of the FIR and also the statements of the witnesses, there were 25-30 ladies present at the spot when the appellant allegedly passed blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), however, none of the other ladies except Mafia Bibi (PW.2) and Asma Bibi (PW.3) reported the matter to anyone. At this stage, it is to be noted that the said ladies did not appear before the Court to support the prosecution case.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling, as might be expected in an Islamic Republic, was thoroughly Islamic. It noted that “no one could be allowed to defy the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and be left unpunished.” It added, however, that “there is another aspect of the matter; sometimes, to fulfill nefarious designs the law is misused by individuals leveling false allegations of blasphemy. Stately, since 1990, 62 people have been murdered as a result of blasphemy allegations, even before their trial could be conducted in accordance with law.”

And that is the danger that Asia Bibi faces now. CNN reported Wednesday that the Islamic movement Tehreek-e Labbaik “had previously vowed to take to the streets if Bibi was released, and protests broke out in Islamabad and Lahore soon after the ruling was announced. Within hours, the protests were large enough that government officials in the cities were urging people to stay inside and avoid adding to the chaos.”

Asia Bibi has suffered enough. She should be granted asylum in the United States or some other country where she can live in relative safety, away from the mobs that are today brandishing signs reading “Hang Asia” and baying for her blood. It’s a matter of simple justice, something that Asia Bibi has had very little opportunity to experience. Those who hope that Asia Bibi will now receive justice may hope that President Trump will step in and ensure that she is brought to a safe haven – before he tackles the related and larger question of whether the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is in any genuine sense an ally of the United States.
Source: Frontpage Mag article


11/4/2017. Kashmir Family Aid is resuming assistance to the Azad Kashmir/Pakistan region, despite the ongoing plight of Asia Bibi.

Regarding resuming work, below is the email I received yesterday from our long-time manager, Khizar, who resides in Muzaffarabad:

“Greeting:  Hope you are fine and doing well. I and my elder son Moiz were ill for past weeks. Long dry spell and weather change have led to a significant increase in dust allergy, cough, chest and throat infections, especially among children and infants. The public and private hospitals are packed with patients suffering from flu, coughing, sneezing, high fever and chest congestion.

 As per your advice, I am submitting a written proposal to start school project. This school is critically needed our help. If you approve, we can complete the project in one month period and can go for the next.
I have gathered information about half a dozen similar schools that need to improved. The school of Shabeena and Irum is one of them. They still expect from you to resume help.
Sir read the attached proposal and I am here to answer your questions if there is any.
Best regards/Khizar.”
Following is the first part of his proposal. (Today, 11/4/2017, I am going back and forth with him re details):

  Summary of the project

Located in South East of Muzaffarabad, the school with 138 children is being run by five female teachers to cater the educational needs of local community’s children. The school was setup in 1996 and partially rehabilitated in 2008 after 2005 earthquake. It is successfully providing quality education to the children. Earlier school was setup in a makes-shift tent and now it has a building structure but without walls and concrete floor.

The children of school extremely suffer both in summer and winter season as incomplete building cannot protect the children from harsh weather. Earlier we provided the school some help and a toilet in 2010 that is still in good conditions and greatly help the kids.

I personally visited the school, met the teachers and listened them attentively and got information about their immediate and long term problems. They are highly qualified teachers, hardworking and passionate to provide education to the children. (Please See attached picture of the school)

What School needs on urgent basis?

I-        Four walls of the school

II-      Concrete floor

III-    Doors & windows of the school


The total estimated cost for the construction work is PKR 191200-00. The community is willing to provide some unskilled labour. The community seems to be highly cooperative and passionate to build the school.

(Note: there are approximately 100 rupees per US Dollar, so this project will cost about $1,900.)


3/14/2017. Since the previous update, last summer,  I have quietly continued to donate some funds to a couple of projects in the Muzaffarabad area. Will document soon. Asia Bibi remains imprisoned and continues to physically decline. I would very much like to return to the region, but kidnapping has become a thriving enterprise there, and anyone from North America or Europe is a prime target.  These back-country Pakistanis and Kashmiris are wonderful people, stranded in a hostile political and social environment. It breaks my heart to not be able to visit and help more, or to be able to help Asia in some way.

7/22/2016 Asia Bibi remains in solitary confinement in Punjab Province in the Sheilhupura jail. Her family remains in hiding. 100% of any contributions to Kashmir Family Aid  will be channeled to Asia Bibi’s Family. I have not returned to Pakistan. Here is a relatively recent update http://morningstarnews.org/2016/03/security-increased-for-asia-bibi-following-execution-of-islamist-assassin-in-Pakistan/

7/8/2015: After nine years of contribution, in protest to the Asia Bibi affair, Kashmir Family Aid has pulled all operations out of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. Any donations to Kashmir Family Aid will be channeled to Asia Bibi’s family.

12/27/2014: updated General Introduction by Sam Carpenter, founder and director: This site provides simple transparency to our donors. Following this introduction, you will find our projects described (the most recent one noted first), in emails and photos as I communicate via email with our manager of operations in  Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, as well as the administrator of Helping Hands Welfare Association in Skardu, and the administrators of Fatima Ali Joo Welfare Foundation (these last two are located in the Baltistan region of extreme northeastern Pakistan)

Here is an introduction slide presentation. And here’s another. (In both presentations, the slides will automatically sequentially play, synchronizing with the background music that begins after about 30 seconds or so…)

Before continuing, I’ll answer the obvious question: Why do I do this? Because, with the exception of Greg Mortenson’s extensive work in the region, western non-profit organizations almost completely bypass this area of the world. Western NGO people are simply afraid to enter the region. Northern Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir were devastated by a powerful earthquake on October 8th, 2005. It destroyed most of the thousands of schools in the region. School was in session as the earthquake hit, and tens of thousands of school children perished within the poorly constructed concrete buildings. Outside of the critical help provided  just after the earthquake by US MASH teams and doctors worldwide, the area remains unvisited.  I visited one village in which an elder declared, “you are the first westerner to EVER come here.”

Far removed from the U.S., twelve time zones, away, it is a seriously dangerous region that is profoundly affected by political unrest, so is quite invisible to the rest of the world. But there are children there, and to our donors they are not invisible. The latest polls show that 89% of the Pakistani people consider the U.S. an enemy. However, the people of the extreme back country whom we help, don’t have the luxury of holding or acting upon political opinions as they struggle for survival and some semblance of life-consistency. With perhaps the exception of North Korea, this area of the world is more impoverished than anywhere in the world.

Following is the reverse chronological history of our work, as I communicate with our Manager, Khizar, who lives in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.


Sam 12/27.2014: Teachers of Bright Star School have been paid salaries. Head Teacher Shabina Ilyas and Irum Sajjad have collected the salaries of four teachers of the school on Friday, December 26, 2014. Please find attached receipt and photographs of the teachers. Thank you so much for continuing help to the school.

Head Teacher Shabina Ilyas and Irum Sajjad

Bright Star School Salary

Khizar 12/24/14. OK Sir. Monday, Tuesday is fine to send money. Saturday/Sunday is closed here too. I ‘ll definitely visit to Brightstar School and get back to you with findings.

Sam 12/23/2014: Ok regarding the water, Then I understand. And that is good regarding visiting Bright Star School. I am sorry but was unable to get the money out to you today but will do so in the first part of next week. Let’s move ahead with salaries and some extra for you. Yes, we will do the tank in January after you look at the site. Merry Christmas to you and family

Khizar12/20/2014 Brightstar is not located at high altitude area. Climate over there is almost same as in Muzaffarabad. A slight difference but water does not freeze there. I want to go to home of a friend to condole with him on the death of his father, possibly 3rd week of this month. The home of my friend is close to Bright Star School and I ‘ll also visit the school when I ‘ll go there, to see about the tank.  So there is no issue of additional expenses for the visit

Sam 12/19/2014 : How cold is it a Brightstar? Will the water freeze in the winter? Why is water only available 2-3horus per day? (If it is gravity-fed then electricity is not necessary)

Sam December 11: OK. Well, let’s  go with the 800 gallon unit. But can you tell me anything more? Is there a pump involved? Will it be filled manually. How often do you think it will be filled?  It really does need a concrete pad to sit on, like in the photo you send me of the one in Africa….

Khizar, December 11:  Sir size matters because water is supplied for limited time in a day, suppose two or three hours out of 24 hours. If you have big vessels you will store maximum amount of water till next supply.

Sam, December 10: If the tank is filled from the pipeline then why does the size matter?

Khizar, December: Dear Sir: As per your message, I’m submitting cost breakdown for installation of water tank at Bright Star School. I have chosen three type of water tanks with water storage capacity of 500, 800 and 1000 gallons. The supplier is ready to give 10 years money back guarantee in case of damage of tanks. The cost of construction of concrete water tank platform is not included (please see attached picture) as most of the people here don’t need a platform for water tank.

But if we prefer to built a platform then additional cost will be around 10,000. Here is a photo of the type of tank. This photo is of one in Africa. Best regards, Khizar. (Note, Khizar is referring to Pakistan Rupees: 10,000 rupees equal approximately $100 US dollars)

water tank concrete platform

water tank cost breakdown


12/8/2014. Below is a Skype photo of Irum and Shabina, teachers from Bright star school near Muzaffarabad. Linda and I talked to them last night, along with our Muzaffarabad-based KFA area manager, Khizar Abbasi. Note: KFA is covering their pay and two other teachers. Every six months Shabina and Irum, and sometimes the other teachers, come to Khizar’s house in Muzaffarabad to interview with me before I send them their past six months wages. Average pay for these teachers is $30.00 U.S. dollars per month.

Shabina (on the right) is the Bright Star School Superintendent. The school has grown dramatically over the past year, now with 150 students and ten teachers, 3 male; 7 female. Shabina has requested a water tank be installed in the outdoor privy that we built last year, and that KFA considers investing in furniture. The school has about 80 desks with chairs, but they are in terrible condition, falling apart. I am trying to raise money to help with this project. -sc

Irum and Shabina from Bright Star School


12/1/2014. I am proud to announce that Kashmir Family Aid has earned a page in Wikipedia. It was published today…


11/20/2014 update and Summary: Over the last year KFA has continued to contribute to various schools in the region, providing supplies, uniforms, shoes for children, and teacher’s pay. However, It has been another year of political unrest and I am still unable to return to the region. Kidnapping has become an industry in itself.  As of this date, it is under the Board’s consideration to begin to shift emphasis to the India Kashmir region simply because we will be more able to visit and manage projects. -sam carpenter  

9/19/2014: Salam madam and sir, First I want to thank on behalf of my team and students for the contribution. Sir Mr. Bashir mailed the expenditure report of the last contribution which I am forwarding for your kind contribution. I hope you and your board will consider very kindly  our report and request of funds for remaining works to complete the school project. Thanks again and with best regards to Cheryl and whole of your team. Iftikhar Hussain, Helping Hands Welfare Association, Skardu, Baltistan

8/23/2014. Mr. Sam: Lot of thanks for the trust and donation. I wish you and your team all and always best. Thanks once again from my board members also. Kauser Purveen, Fatima Ali Joo Foundation, Skardu, Baltistan

On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, Sam Carpenter <samc@centratel.com> wrote: Note to Board members. Today Kashmir Family Aid has forwarded via Western Union $2,984 US dollars. Kauser Perveen is the recipient. Sam carpenter :

8/6/2013 update: Sarli Sacha School, Azad Kashmir Estimated Cost for Eid Gifts Dear Sir, Hope you are fine. I got feedback from the Sarli Sacha School much later than expected. It seems a bit difficult to arrange required Eid gifts to the orphans. However I am ready to buy, pack and deliver them as early as possible if you approve and provide help at the earliest. There are slight changes in number of beneficiary children. Earlier we used to provide help to 45 children and now ten of them have gone to other schools after completing their 8th grade. Now we have 37 children to help in Sarli Sacha. We can add ten other children of another school (Girls High School Noora Sairi) This school is located about 20 kilometers in North West of Muzaffarabad where many children are needy ( it is all up to you to approve or reject) But I am adding them in the list. There is no additional cost involve in delivering the gifts to the new school as it is on same road and same direction. I can deliver the gifts in the same cost. With Kind regards, Khizar Money delivered to Khizar on 8/6/2013

Gifts distributed to Children on 8/15/2014

Estimated Cost EID Gifts

EID Package KFA


July 8, 2013:  Teachers at Bright Star School, Azad Kashmir, receiving six months salaries:

Salary payment to Bright Star School Teacher Receipt of Salary Payment to Teachers (Note: 1,000 Rupees equals approximately ten dollars)


12/17/2012  update Aid to Fatima Ali Joo Welfare Foundation, Skardu, Pakistan Northern Region 6th Women Empowerment Program through vocational training with the help of Social Welfare Department District Skardu. (An appreciation Letter by social welfare officer Skardu is attached.)(Above was a 6 month vocational training project in which 180 women and matriculate girls were trained in computer operating, sewing and handicraft skills. At the end of project all machines are distributed among deserving/poor trainees according to the proposed implementation method.)

Contributions were made to the 6th Women Empowerment Program, in cooperation with the Social Welfare Department District of Skardu. Above photos are from a 6 month vocational training project in which 180 women and girls were trained in computer operating, sewing and handicraft skills. At the end of the project all machines were distributed among deserving/poor trainees

. KFA Cabinet Members

Cabinet members of the Women Empowerment Program


School Toilet Installation project, Phase 2,  Overview. 10/1/2012 As of 10/1/2012 manager Khizar Abbasi has received $5,600 from KFA to begin the project. In this “second round,” based on our pilot project (see details below), we now have detailed engineering diagrams and a more thorough “Village Agreement”  document to insure fluid, fast installations with most manual labor contributed by local men and boys. KFA has also purchased a small Honda 125 motorbike so Khizar, our manager, can easily and cheaply supervise the construction at each site. Following is chronological back-and-forth between Khizar and me .

Sam: 9/12/2012 “Khizar: today I sent you $5,600 for the next ten toilets and to purchase rthe Honda 125 motorbike. $200 of this money is for you, as advance payment. The remainder of your commission will be sent to you at the end of the project.  In using the motorcycle, be very careful that it isn’t stolen.  You must always assume someone will take it if given the opportunity. BE CAREFUL DRIVING IT too. USE A HELMET. What about the NOC? (this is the “Non objection Certificate,” necessary to enter Azad Kashmir from Pakistan). Have things settled down enough for me to come in October? -Sam”

Khizar: 9/28/2012: “Yes sure sir, I will do and I understand what you are saying with regard to motorbike. I used to drive bike during my school days and kept it under lock. As far your NOC, situation is still volatile. protest are surging even in rural areas across the country, particularly on Fridays. In this situation the Interior Ministry would not issue NOC until protests recedes. I am ready to go to Islamabad to start the process but you know it would take time and resources  for nothing.”

Khizar: 11/14/2012: “Dear Sir. You will be glad to hear that first toilet of the ten has been completed in Karka area of Muzaffarabad. School people just informed me. I did not see the toilet but hope tomorrow I’ll visit the area.”

Khizar:11/21/2012: “Dear Sir: Hope you are fine. It is just to inform you that almost 80 percent work on School Toilet Project has completed. Eight out of ten toilets have been completed and work on two is in progress. I am visiting the area on Saturday, Sunday and will get back to you with project completion report on Monday or Tuesday.”


Following are photos/emails relating to our additional aid to schools:

4/20/2012: Books and shoes distribution, Serli Sacha Village School, Azad Kashmir

Dear Sir, Please this attached photos to know what each student received:

  1. A uniform
  2. A pair of shoes
  3. A school bag

Regards Khizar


7/20/2012 “Dear Sir. First of all thank you very much for your help to Bright Star School and Orphans of Sarli Sacha Village. I received PAKR 197,108 from you. Four teachers of Bright Star School have been paid their six months salaries (January- June 2012). Please find attached photos of teachers and you will get a scanned copy of receipt tomorrow as it needs to be scanned from market. -Khizar

School Toilet Installation project, Phase 1,  Overview. Spring 2012 Following you will find our manager’s comprehensive report on the Spring 2012 toilet installation project.  The report is in his own words, unedited by me. (Interestingly,  Khizar provides insight into the difference between Pakistani/Kashmiri private schools, and public schools. From some of the remotest back-country in the world, where teachers are paid a $35 monthly salary, it’s a Kashmiri-style  testimonial to the validity of  school choice, as well as local community involvement.) -sam

Introduction/overview of our ongoing “Toilet Project”: “Kashmir Family Aid is installing septic toilets at back-country private schools throughout the northern Pakistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir regions. Among thousands of tiny villages, there are hundreds of schools that have no running water, much less toilet facilities. (Many of the schools, usually one per village, operate on bare ground with no more than an ad-hoc lean-to for protection of the children. See photos below.) There are from 50 to 200 students in each school, depending on the size of the village. To go to the bathroom, children in these schools “just go outside,” which, not surprisingly, causes a biological hazard for the children and for the surrounding villagers. It costs approximately $500.00 to purchase materials and construct one toilet, with local village men digging the pit, pouring the concrete pad, erecting the fiberglass building, etc. Below, after Khizar’s Project Summary Report, is our ongoing dialog. Khizar lives in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir. Our first toilet installation, a pilot-project, was installed in December 2011. We have just completed (as of March 16, 2012) the installation of our first block of ten more toilets to nine more schools (see report below), all within 10 kilometers of Muzaffarabad. It was a great success, with true real-world/every day benefit to more than 1,000 children. We look forward to accumulating enough donations to proceed to our next twenty four installations. I will personally match any donations that we receive. -sam carpenter Pay $500.00 for a toilet for a poor back country village school and we’ll put your name on it (on a small placard similar to the one in the above photo). Another option is to  “adopt a school” and cover monthly teacher salaries (the average pay for a remote back-country, private school teacher is $35.00 per month, as contrasted with public schools where salaries are approximately $300 per month). Also note, in these private schools student tuition is about $1.50 per month and the parents of literally half the students cannot afford to pay even this meager amount. Please help us if you can.

Summary of School Toilet Project (Phase- I) Report by Khizar Hayat Abbasi 3/16/2012

Background: The catastrophic earthquake of 2005 adversely affected the education sector as more than half of the 2,800 schools completely decimated by the earthquake alone in Azad Jammu and Kashmir still await funds for reconstruction. According to officials of the AJK government, after the earthquake only 33 per cent reconstruction work has been completed in education sector, thus, around 300,000 children have been compelled to purse their studies either in tents or open sky. Total 2792 projects of educational institutions were committed to be reconstructed out of which only 945 have been completed.

In absence of buildings of government run-schools large number of private (non profit or semi profit schools) sprang up in earthquake hit areas to fill the vacuum created by large scale devastation in school sector. These private/community schools with mostly local female teachers produced far better results in terms of test scores and civic values than the public schools. Popularity of private school can be gauged from the fact that enrollment shares in private schools increased dramatically, from less than 5% in 1990 to 35% in 2007 (World Bank-Report).

With no official barrier of coeducation, private schools in Azad Jammu and Kashmir are significantly contributing not only to enhance literacy rate, achieving the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) but also in eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education. The phenomenal rise of the private schools in the area show that an increasing segment of children enrolled in private schools are from rural areas and from middle-class and poorer families. It is generally believe that private schools are better able to adapt to local conditions and use local teachers in a cost-effective manner, allowing the savings to be passed on to parents through very low fees. Kashmir Family Aid has been helping the children of Azad Jammu Kashmir in shape of providing text books to the poor and destitute children, Salaries to teachers, providing Eid gifts to the orphans once in a year and improving school infrastructure by providing furniture, facilities of cold drinking water to school children with in school premises and recently constructing toilets in rural village community schools. Toilet Project: Ten toilets were built with pre-fab steel and concrete structure in 9 schools of District Muzaffarabad. The schools were selected after a careful survey of the schools. Only those schools were selected for first phase where no toilet exist or toilet in adequate for the children. The school where toilet was constructed were:

  1. Ambore High School, Ambore (two Toilets)
  2. Primary School, Kappa Butt (one toilet)
  3. Sawera Model School, Utrasi (one toilet)
  4. Read High School, Basnara (one toilet)
  5. Umm-e-Habiba Model school, Rara (one toilet)
  6. Read Public school, Utrasi (one toilet)
  7. Ascent Model Public School, Rara Ambore ( one toilet)
  8. Habib Public school, Shervan (one toilet)
  9. Millat Middle School, Shaheed Gali (one toilet)

Recommendations for future:

  • More community involvement is essential to minimize cost of the toilets and to create sense of ownership among the beneficiary community/school/children’s parents
  • Health and hygiene sessions for the children/teachers is required to teach benefits of toilets/proper use of toilet/maintenance of toilet
  • Quality of masonry work needs to be improved to ensure sustainability of toilet unit
  • A fiber glass water tank to supply/store water for toilet use is genuinely needed
  • Increased number of toilets for future phase can minimize the cost and the saved money can be utilized to add toilet units for more schools
  •  Monitoring/ Supervising cost during project implementation time needs to be reviewed/increased to make the process more effective

-Khizar Hyatt Abbasi, Manager, Kashmir Family Aid, Azad Kashmir


Note that KFA also assists schools that simply have no money to pay teachers. It’s a serious problem in back-country Azad Kashmir and northern Pakistan, where he huge majority of schools were demolished (and never rebuilt), after the October 2005 earthquake. Below is a photo of teachers at Brightstar school, after receiving $100 bonuses, in February 2012. These back-country teachers earn an average of $35/month. A typical school serving 100 students can be completely supported for less than $300 per month. This includes tuition for one half of the students whose families cannot afford the $1.50 per month cost.

Receipt for bonus payouts (in Rupees…as of Mach 2012, there are about 91 Rupess per U.S. Dollar). Khizar Abbasi forwarded this to me:



Below is ongoing, reverse chronological email communication between myself and Khizar Abbasi as we proceeded to completion of our first eleven priave school toilet installations. I think this is the best way to explain things as they really are, on the ground, as Khizar and I coordinate back and forth with the obvious cultural, language and social hurdles that must be negotiated. Note that our first major toilet installation of ten toilets was completed in mid March 2012, as described above. Here were our communications as we planned and completed the project. It’s in reverse-chronological order:

From Khizar, February 23, 2012: Yes Sir five time and I ‘ll have to go one last time again to fix the sign board inscribe with “Kashmir Family Aid”. It was not done earlier because manufacturer did not make holes in steel structure to fix the brass plate and the mason who was working on the project did not have “drilling machine” to make holes. So its no problem I will do it soon. As far summary of the project, Yes I ‘ll do it and share some detail with you. Your desire to work with me is great and appreciable. Maybe we get chance in Summer to do something together in the villages. Sir I guess you can come in May /June, if it is not possible for you to come in April. April is ideal time in a sense that in this month weather here is moderate with all colours and atmosphere of beautiful spring. I don’t think there is any threat or danger specifically in AJK but yes problems of deteriorated law and order still exist in other parts of the country. Regards, Khizar —————————–

On Wed, 2/22/12, Sam Carpenter <samc@centratel.com> wrote: FIVE times? Please give me a good summary of the project showing the specific problems, big and small. I knew you would be running into problems as the preparation was not as thorough as it should have been. Give me a good summary and we’ll use that information to make things work better next time. I wish I could come and work with you on these details but there are stories of kidnapping in Pakistan. I am not so sure it would be smart to visit in April or anytime. Your thoughts on this issue would be appreciated.

On Feb 21, 2012, at 1:00 PM, “Khizar Hayat” <khizarhayatabbasi@yahoo.com> wrote: Thank you sir, I have visited almost five times and at some places stayed for night too. Things have not proceeded the way we thought or planned but its OK, I was prepared mentally to accept the unexpected . for me important thing is that I learned many lessons and it is good for future. I am confident that I will finish off the task by the end of this month. Regards Khizar From Sam: Feb 20, 2012 Good Khizar. How many times have you had to go visit sites? Tell me if things have proceeded the way we thought they would.

From Khizar, February 19 Dear Sir, I am pleased to inform you that almost 60% toilets with different schools have been completed and I am confident that project would be complete before or on 26th of this month. I will submit a project completion report with photograph once the target is achieved successfully . I spent most of time in field and that was the reason I could not write to you.Regards Khizar From: Sam Carpenter Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 3:02 AM To: ‘Khizar Hayat’ Congratulations Khizar! Great job! You should feel very proud to have done such good work. Thank you for the photo of our teachers and their kind words of appreciation. They are smiling! I look forward to receiving your project summary, and perhaps we can discuss on Skype, too. -sam

From: Khizar Hayat Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 9:08 AM To: Sam Carpenter Dear Sir Please find attached scanned copy of receipt of payment to Bright Star School teachers and photograph. Sir you will be certainly glad to hear that I have completed first phase of School Toilets Project successfully. I’ll get back to you with brief project completion report and photographs of the constructed toilets Regards Khizar

From: Sam Carpenter Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 4:11 PM To: ‘Khizar Hayat’ Very good, Khizar. As we discussed earlier, I want to make this arrangement clear between us, so I will explain the contractual relationship better so there is no misunderstanding later. Remember that some installations will cost more and some will cost less, and the essential part of our arrangement that I want you to understand is that I will pay 40,000R per toilet no matter what. It is a set-fee contract so expect to make more on some jobs than others. But, for instance, if later on, there is a set of 10 schools that is a far distance from MZF, requiring more money for transportation, the masons, etc., then you and I can talk in general terms about that extra cost and maybe make an adjustment …before the job begins. But, if a particular school has a problem somehow, I will not cover that extra cost. This will be for you to work out, either with the villagers or some other way. You are to be a self-sufficient contractor and it will be up to you to manage things to make high quality installations and to make money for yourself without expecting me to cover incidentals. I will need receipts for all materials and costs. As we discussed, make the signs about half the size of the one you have on the first installation. The toilets will be painted green. I am sending your money (my) tomorrow. -sam



From: Khizar Hayat Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 12:10 PM To: Sam Carpenter Sir please find my answers in red below. Regards Khizar

From Sam:  Khizar: I forgot about the bank wiring charge and am sorry for that. I will add that to the next money I send (see below) . Please be sure that the teachers are fully paid, ASAP! Here is what I will send: 400,000 for installation of ten toilets 40,000 for teacher bonuses 7,000 for two bank charges for two transfers of money to you (the last one, and this next one) 447,000R total. Does this seem right to you? Sir figures above are fine. It reflects that you are paying 40,000R per unit/toilet cost. In some exceptional cases per unit cost may increase but I will try my best to keep it around 40,000. If something extra-ordinary happen I expect you will be flexible to accommodate. How soon are you going to pay the teachers? Teachers would be paid on Thursday. They will come to Muzaffarabad after school time to get salaries from me. The day was fixed by them. I was ready to go there to pay them in School but they decided to come over here. I accepted their suggestion to save traveling cost. Do you understand that I will pay you at the end of the project in a separate wire transfer, 100,000R, when everything is complete? Yes that I understand. If all is OK with you, I will wire the 447,000 to you tomorrow, Tuesday, or my Wednesday. One more thing, we need written specifications for the hole and the drain pipe before you travel to the villages. Can you create that so you can hand out to the village people and the contractor? The contractor will have to approve of your drawing and specifications too. Send your work to me for my approval. I will also need the map before you begin. Yes I am working on a kind of agreement between me as representative of KFA and a person responsible from school side. The role and responsibilities of both the parties will be clearly mentioned in the document and same will be shared with you for the approval before finalization. -s

-From: Sam Carpenter Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 3:27 AM To: Khizar Hayat OK, Khizar. Green is fine. Let’s estimate the transportation as noted before, for a total cost of installation or 40,000R each. If special circumstances prevail regarding difficulty in transportation, please let me know. With this in mind, if you agree to visit the sites at least twice and to make sure the installations are properly done, I will give you 50,000R for each installation you make. It is critical that each installation is done properly, Khizar. It is critical that you visit the site prior to the installation to make sure the facility is installed properly (the hole must be deep enough and lined with rock, as specified. Etc. If this meets your approval, then I will forward 400,000R to you for the installation for all 10 toilets. As we discussed, I will pay your fee after the toilets are installed (100,000R). If everything goes well and we do indeed install ten toilets properly for $500,000R, there will be ongoing work for you, another 10 toilets. I will come over to visit once construction is complete and we will together inspect each installation. When do you think construction would be complete on all 10? I look forward to your detailed map. Do you not have any comments regarding the 13 questions I sent you? -sam

From: Khizar Hayat Sent: Monday, January 02, 2012 11:50 PM To: Sam Carpenter Thank you sir. I am fully agreed with you. I am ready to visit the site twice and every effort will be made to ensure installation is proper and according to specification. Rs 50,000 for each unit will be OK for all kind of transportation and overall cost, I guess. I can start work on the project from the moment I get money and it can be finished in less than month time. Once I get indication that you have wired the money I will place an order to factory owner for ten toilets. I have got money (174, 800) for payment of salaries to teachers. it is not 180,500 as you stated in your previous mail. I guess bank people deducted some amount as transfer charges from the same amount. Anyway its fine, no problem Regards Khizar

From: Khizar Hayat Sent: Monday, January 02, 2012 12:04 PM To: Sam Carpenter Dear Sir, Hope you are fine with Mrs. Carpenter and fully enjoying holidays. I have thoroughly gone through the outline you sent to me regarding first phase of Schools’ Toilets Project. Everything thing is fine except transportation cost estimate. I have not clear idea of transportation cost, including my visit to the school before and during project implementation phase. It would be varied site to site because of mode of transportation keeping in view the condition of the road. However I will try my best that overall cost on installation of one toilet unit must not cross the 40,000 mark. I have already identified seven schools out of total ten for installation of toilets. All schools are located along the main Muzaffarab-Islamabad road and on left side of river Jehulam flowing through the Muzaffarabad. Now I will visit every school and evaluate keeping in view 13 questions you sent to me. Before that I will have to place order to factory owner for manufacturing ten units for us. He will not take time more than one week to deliver the things to me in Muzaffarabad. This time I decided to paint toilet as green. Green color is photo friendly and is also symbol of environment. Our vision is to protect the environment through cleanliness/sanitation. But your opinion/suggestion will prevail finally. If you don’t agree on green please let me know as early as possible. Once I complete the initial survey you will immediately be provided with photos of school and their locations on map. So I am ready sir to start once I receive money from you or may be before that because transaction will take 8/10 days to reach to me. Regards Khizar

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From: Khizar Hayat Dear Sir, Thank you so much sir and I am writing this to inform you that I have got 446,000 PKR for construction of ten toilets in schools. Figure is slightly different from what you have mentioned in your earlier mail. It may be because of currency conversion rate or some other reason. I will get bank statement today to ascertain the rate of conversion. I have already completed survey of 8 schools out of total 10. Data of the schools and text of agreement with the responsible persons of the schools, along with photograph of selected schools will be mailed to you today or tomorrow. Our month time will start from 16/01/12 and will complete 15/02/12 Regards Khizar

 From: Sam Carpenter Very good, Khizar. Yes, send conversion information although we were different by only 1,000R. It is important you scan me your bank statement for our records. I have a number of questions below. Are the men in the villages agreeable to digging the holes? How will we know the holes are dug properly, lined with stones properly, etc? I am also very interested to know how many children at each school, etc. Yes, send as much information on individual schools as you can including names of those supervising project. Give yourself 6 weeks for the project, ending March 1. There are always unexpected delays and a month seems too fast for our first group of 10. I have not seen a diagram of toilet hole construction yet. Please put that together so each school has written instructions and a diagram. You will have to have to do one set in Urdu and another in English. Please send a copy of each to me earliest. How will the concrete pad be constructed? Will the masons pour the concrete and then come back another day to install the building? In the instructions you need to add that the men must place a strong cover over the holes so children and animals don’t fall in the hole before construction. Khizar. It is very important that we have written instructions that will include all details before proceeding. These instructions will be required for my Board of Directors, the villagers, the masons and the suppliers of materials. It must happen before we proceed. When will you purchase the toilet buildings? When will they be delivered? I am concerned that they will be secure in Muzaffarabad and not “disappear.” I know you understand that their security rests on you alone. If you will be finished with the work on February 15th, I will plan on visiting Muzaffarabad in the first week of April so we can visit each school. Does this seem like a good time for me to come? I will need the NOC paperwork to visit. Will you get that process started right away? Once I have inspected each installation and am satisfied, I will consider proceeding with another 10 installations.. When will the four teachers at Brightstar School be paid their 10,000R bonuses? Did you receive the book I sent you? Do you have snow on the ground? Are the children and Nasreen healthy. How is your diabetes? I am returning to Seattle from Central America today, leaving in about 8 hours from now. Thanks Khizar. -sam


Note from Sam: “Kashmir Family Aid is beginning a major project of installing toilets throughout the Azad Kashmir region. They are approx $450 U.S. Funds to purchase materials and construct. Pay for a toilet for a poor back country village school and we’ll put your name on it! (Yes, it’s as you imagine: Children in these schools “just go outside” if they are lucky enough to have a building in which to study). Below is letter from my Kashmir manager Khizar, who just completed our first toilet in a tiny village that is two hours south of Muzaffarabad, the capital city of Azad Kasmir. KFA is covering teacher salaries in this school: $35.00 per month per teacher.

From: Khizar Hayat Dear Sir, With the grace of God, I have completed all the tasks you gave me, as toilet at Bright Star was last which has been completed on November 19. Very interestingly and in strange coincidence November 19 was “World Toilet Day”. So its good omen for future. Sir it was great experience and with this experience I can construct/install a toilet within week time. We collected a finding of the survey conducted by AJK RSP (Rural Support Program) that disclosed that over 200 Schools (only in Muzaffarabad district) don’t have toilets and thousands of students lack access to sufficient sanitation facilities. We can do it if you think it as appropriate. Second Sir we have completed six months since we paid salaries to teachers of Bright Star School last time in May/June. They were a bit upset may be because of financial hardship when I met them 2/3 days back. I promised them to convey their sentiments/situation to you. Third sir, I have nothing outstanding with me. Almost all the money you sent to me have been spent (except a small amount 2/3 thousands Rupees I guess) So please note that I have nothing with me to be accountable for. Thank you for all your cooperation and patience. Regards, Khizar

Books and Uniform Distribution – Serli Sacha Village School, Azad Jammu Kashmir

Note: Sarl Sacha is a tiny village four hour, very rough jeep ride north of Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu Kashmir (and, Muzaffarabad, is a four hour car journey Northwest from Islamabad, Pakistan). Following is a letter from our representative Khizar Abbasi who resides in Muzaffarabad. -sam carpenter August 23rd, 2011 Dear Sir, It is highly unfortunate that I am not able to talk with you on Skype. Skype on my computer is working fine, I have talked with a friend just to check it is working on not. Anyway I will again try to talk to you tomorrow evening time (your morning) I will send you a message after setting computer. For last 2/3 days I was in contact with Serli Sacha Orphans Children through the staff of Millat Public School. We discussed about Eid (annual festival) package and concluded there are two options for us to help them. One is help them in kind by providing each child the following items:

1. dress (qamee & Shalwar in good quality)   Rs 2000  
2. pair of shoes everage quality   Rs 600  
3. Handkerchief or cap for boys and Mehndi, bangle and hair clips for girls   Rs 250  
4. Socks   Rs 100  
Total required amount for one package   Rs 2950:00  
Total & Poor Children (35)   2950 X 35= Rs 103250  
Gift Packing Cost   50X 35= Rs 1750  
Vehicle Rent from Muzaffarabad to Serli Sacha   Rs 10,000  
Total required amount in Pak rupees   Rs 115,000  
Total required amount in USD   $ 1337  

Sir there is another way to help, some parents/relatives may have purchased dresses for their children and they may need amount for food or other necessities, so some friends suggest that we should provide help in cash so that family can purchase whatever they need most critically. So please decide it as early as possible because we have only one week. Eid is expected to be celebrated on 30 or 31 August With best regards Khizar Hayat Abbasi


August 29th, 2011, from Sam. Dear Khizar: If there is not enough time to prepare packages, then it is OK to give cash as you suggested in your previous email ($total, just over $1,300 US dollars), but I need exact details and thumbprints/signatures from each recipient, and photographs showing Kashmir Family banner, for my Board of Directors and the tax people here. This is critical. Also, a summary of who got what amount of money. You may take $200 for your family, instead of $100 as I offered before. I will wire money tomorrow. We need to discuss on Skype:

  1. Your ongoing compensation
  2. Long term arrangement to help these schools
  3. Toilet construction and water cooler for Bright Star
  4. My personal visit to these schools
  5. Other items that I will summarize before we talk.

From Khizar Hayat Abbasi, May 18th, 2011 Dear Sir, At the outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude on behalf of Serli Sacha Village Community for providing critically needed text books, uniforms, notebooks and other school supplies to 28 orphans and needy children of the village. It was an important help from Kashmir Family Aid because the children who were without books and uniforms since they were promoted to new classes and they, their parent and teachers were very concerned about this situation. We went there with school supplies along with some local news reporters to make the process more transparent and open and you will see some news reports and photographs published in local and regional newspapers soon. My own magazine will also publish a report with photographs in its next issue. I have already provided you some photographs showing children getting the help and if you need more please feel free to ask me. Please find attached scanned copies of receipts and details of other expenditure.

Thank you again for your help and looking forward for your help to pay salaries to four teachers of another school. I received almost every day a call from them and they are waiting your response with great expectations. I have already provided you detail of their requirement and please if you can provide help for thirty school chairs besides salaries it would be great. With many regards Khizar Hayat Abbasi Note: There are approximately 85 PKR (Rupees) per U.S. dollar. -sam carpenter