The discovery of Cheno



From Pakistan

DRC will finally be able to interact with Afghan women in the village of Cheno - eventually.

By Rehana Zawar, Programme Manager, Pakistan Program

Akora is a densely populated Afghan refugee village in Pakistan, comprising 41.133 individuals divided into 4 residential sectors. Cheno is one of these 4 sectors, which all have been neglected as a consequence of local cultural customs. For instance, interaction with female inhabitants in Cheno has been practically impossible, even for female staff. It was consequently out of reach for DRC interventions.

As the DRC Protection Team became aware of the precarious situation in Cheno, it was discussed amongst the team members and they decided to act. As a first step, an elder of the community was briefed about DRC and its protection interventions. At first, he categorically refused to allow any female gathering but the DRC Team continued their efforts through mobilization and advocacy. After about two weeks, the elder became convinced that DRC indeed is an organization that looks after the most vulnerable and extends support in line with humanitarian principles, irrespective of caste, creed, race or religion. Eventually, he himself approached the DRC Team to request intervention in Cheno.

The DRC Team was subsequently able to conduct a Male Information Session with briefings on processes and procedures of Voluntary Repatriation, System of PoR Card Modification, DRC Complaint Mechanisms, Host Country Legislation and more. A female session is also expected to be conducted soon, but in Cheno the English proverb of “slow but steady” needs to be abided by.