Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Sabiha thought she had typhoid or malaria when she went to a Karachi hospital two years ago with a hacking cough, fever, and loss of appetite. When doctors showed her an x-ray of her ravaged lungs, the 16-year-old panicked. She had tuberculosis. Relatives taunted her family, saying they would never be rid of the disease. “People act strange when you tell them of this disease. They avoid you. They need to be told there is a cure,” said Rukhsana Parveen, a Karachi woman whose husband had TB and is now cured. “If they knew, they wouldn’t behave this way.”

The earthquake that hit Pakistan in October 2005 shifted the flow of freshwater springs and broke pipes that transported clean water from mountain springs through gravity-fed pipe systems. In some cases, the earthquake damaged reservoirs and spring protection chambers. In the Jambori and Hillcot Villages in the Siran Valley, the population began relying on river water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, causing people to contract illnesses from drinking contaminated water.

In the fall, people living in Pakistan’s mountainous terrain at 5,000 feet above sea level usually start moving into the valleys to pass the winter, but the devastating earthquake in October 2005 disrupted this cycle. Subsistence farmers who store their wealth in wood supplies, food, animals, and fodder feared their entire net worth could be stolen if they left their assets unguarded.

Putting in place computer information systems to manage assistance eases relief and recovery efforts and helps relief workers assess priorities. Following the October 2005 earthquake, as villagers received care from first responders, there was a need to systematically record who received what and to identify those who needed care most.

. Working with the people of Bagh, USAID is helping students return to school and villagers rebuild a community.

The rugged Mastung District in Pakistan’s Balochistan province is a vast desert — a sparsely populated area stretching across 6,045 square kilometers. Plagued by drought and poverty, residents subsist on farming and livestock. Wheat forms the staple of their diet, supplemented by lentils and vegetables. Chicken and eggs, when available, provide the only animal protein in local diets. Meat is a luxury reserved for special occasions or guests. “For some people, 100,000 rupees ($1660) is not a large sum. But for us, even 5 rupees is a lot,” said Qaim Khan, an elderly man from Ghausabad village in Mastung.

Welcome to the Kon Ray Ethnic Minority Boarding School, brought to Nga by USAID. The school is perched high above lush valleys in Vietnam’s picturesque Central Highlands. “This school is so clean and so nice,” says the 14-year-old from Kon Keng village, an ethnic Sora farming community that produces cassava, rice, corn, and rubber. 

Patiently, Pham Thi Bich Ngoc angled her right elbow to type in what she would like to be when she grows up. Beaming, she threw a sideways glance at a teacher. The laptop screen read “doctor” in Vietnamese. The room burst out in a chorus of approval led by Ngoc’s mother, Bui Thi Mai. Daughter and mother are defiant: they will not allow cerebral palsy to dampen Ngoc’s aspirations and outlook. Through a USAID-supported education program, she is fi nding pathways to inclusion in her community.

Dang Van Toan shuffled across the floor of his garage-sized shop. Flipping a switch, he warmed up his new photocopy machine against the din of heavy pounding and drilling from the metalworker next door. For years Toan hoped he would one day have his own business. With USAID training and some seed money, he has seen his dream come true in Me, Vietnam.


Last updated: November 22, 2013