Seri Sacha Village Community

March 2012, introduction by Sam Carpenter, founder and director: In the spirit of transparency, this site is designed to offer a chronology of project progress to our donors.Following this introduction, you will follow a reverse-chronology of emails and photos as I communicate via email with our manager of operations, Khizar Abbasi of Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.

(Here I’ll answer the obvious question: Why do I do this? Because of the children: Virtually no westerners venture into the region to offer assistance. I have visited one village in which the elders declared “you are the first westerner to EVER come here.” It is a poverty-stricken region that is far removed, yet profoundly affected by political unrest.)

Here is an 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 Kashmir regions. There are literally 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 for the children. See photos below.) There are from 50 to 200 students in each school, depending on the size of the village. Children in these schools “just go outside,” which, not surprisingly, causes a biological hazard for the children and for the surrounding villagers. It costs $500.00 to purchase materials and construct one toilet, with the local village men digging the pit, pouring the concrete pads, construction the pre-fab building, etc. Below is an ongoing dialog about the project between me, and our project manager Khizar Abbasi, who lives in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir. Our first toilet was installed in December 2011. We have ten more in the next phase, to be installed in January and February 2012. After that, we plan to install 10 toilets every three months for as long as we have funding.

Pay 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 adjacent photo). Another option: “Adopt a school” and cover monthly teacher salaries (the average pay for a village private school teacher is $35.00 per month). And, student tuition is usually about $1.50 per month in these schools and the parents of half the students cannot afford to pay even this meager amount. Please help us if you can.

Note that KFA also assists schools that simply have no money to pay teachers. It’s a rampant problem in back-country Azad Kashmir and northern Pakistan. Below are 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 (always in Rupees). Khizar Abbasi forwarded this to me.


Below is ongoing, reverse chronological email communication between myself and Khizar Abbasi. 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 early March 2012.) Here are our latest communications:


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 <> 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 arenstories 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” <> 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 KhizarFrom 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


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 they’re kind words of appreciation. They are smiling!

I look forward to receiving your project summary, and perhaps we can discuss on Skype, too.


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



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.




From: Khizar Hayat
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 12:10 PM
To: Sam Carpenter

Sir please find my answers in red below.




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.



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?



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




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.





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




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.



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.




“Khizar Abbasi’s children. (Khizar is KFA’s manager in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, in charge of school projects and individual family aid.”)

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

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.

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

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