Abdul Salam Dar is a fisherman. He sells fish in the local markets to earn his living. In winters, when the lake freezes, Abdul Salam makes bricks or works as a daily wage labourer. Water, which is his source of livelihood became the cause for his family’s destruction in the Kashmir deluge. Abdul Salam’s home which was lovingly built by his father came crashing down before his eyes. Abdul Salam with his wife Sabiya Begum and his 45 days old child Fiza had to live in a boat house. They faced severe scarcity of food and clean water and the child had to suffer a lot.
“I witnessed my own house turning into rubble in a matter of minutes and I stood there as a mere spectator. I have never felt so helpless in my whole life of 47 years. I was so miserable that I did not eat for days together. Nor did my wife.”
The flood lasted for two weeks and this family lived in the boat house throughout this period. Abdul and his wife were able to feed their child thanks to the efforts of the government and NGOs that carried out relief work; supplying water and rice to the flood victims. His wife Sabiya narrates how difficult it was for women in the absence of toilets and sanitation facilities.
“Women had to go to far off places at odd hours to relieve themselves. We could go either very early in the morning or after sunset so that we weren’t seen.” - Sabiya
Habitat for Humanity India built a strong disaster resilient house for Abdul Salam and his family and it is now ready for them to move into it. Abdul Salam broke down while expressing gratitude to both the organizations for giving back his home to him.
He says, “Not even in my wildest dreams could I have managed to build a house like this for my family. I am going to throw a daawat for my relatives, friends and well-wishers who have supported us in our time of grief. The menu is already planned. There will be some kebabs, some roganjosh, dhaniwal korma and lots of sweets as it is customary in Kashmiri culture to celebrate an auspicious occasion. We will move into our new home after this feast and I am sure my fortune will take a turn for the better.”