The tough terrain for Muhammad Nawaz

Muhammad Nawaz (striped shirt) during the UNDP training at NOWPDP

Muhammad Nawaz’s day starts at 6:00 AM, as he emerges from his shanty hut on the outskirts of metropolitan Karachi, in Malir. Such an early start to the day is necessitated by the need for a daily wage and is one fraught with the hard choices he has to make, to all but survive. He labors away at a construction site till 1:00 PM to piece together an existence that is reliant on 200 rupees a day, and an existence that Muhammad Nawaz has made peace with. He is holding down a job that is becoming less and less certain with each passing day, an ironic testament to the building that he is working on, which is near completion.

Post his shift, Nawaz rushes back to his hut to wash away the dredges of the shift and he is confronted by another difficult decision: to use the daily wage to have his first meal or to use the money to trek half way across the city for a textile factory training, which might or might not lead to an eventual fulltime job. Sometimes hunger wins, other times dreams of stability persevere – resulting in missed training or missed meals.

At 3:00 PM, Nawaz is onsite at the training in Saddar, on the days that he can afford to go hungry. Having been educated up-till the 5th grade, he has a basic understanding of numbers, which comes in handy as the more practical elements of denim manufacturing come into play, in training. Realistically, were the results of the training purely academically meritocratic – Nawaz would be a borderline case to be selected at best, but this is a risk he is willing to take.

The absence from trainings bring his plight to the attention of our colleagues, eliciting shock for some, sadness for others, but respect from all. The absolutism of his situation, not withstanding, Nawaz is loathe to accept a handout, instead relying solely on the fruits of his efforts. He chooses to continue to strive for acceptance and inclusion, and we will continue to support him in his endeavors.

Muhammad Nawaz is hearing impaired/deaf.