Lack of water resources is particularly critical so a Michigan-based NGO with Pakistani roots, the Paani Project, decided to do something about it, setting as its goal a solar-powered water plant in one of the district’s poorest villages, Rohal. As one of the hottest places on the planet, it has plenty of sunny days.
Tharparkar is a district in Pakistan’s Sindh province and one of the poorest parts of one of the world’s poorest countries in the world. It’s suffered from drought for 17 straight years and an estimated 87 percent of its 1.6 million people live below Pakistan’s poverty line.
he’s done countless times since he’s been in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving and his KAI Family Foundation came to the rescue. Irving provided funds to set up not just the water plant which will serve 1000 villagers but also other solar-powered necessities like electrical power for lighting — and fans — at local schools and mosque, handlights for local children to move around the village (and avoid rattlesnakes!) as wall as a small farm to help with food sustainability.
To commemorate the celebration of Eid, the Muslim holy day, the project was officially opened. Without publicity from Irving or his foundation, the Internet picked it up and we all learned of it Wednesday.
It all began back in April when an Irving fan — who now admits to being a fan of the Nets too — decided to reach out the Nets guard for help.
“Kyrie has always been one of my favorite players. One day I was just scrolling online and came across his surreal track record of philanthropy. I was surprised to see how much work he’s done in Africa, the work he’s done for low-income communities, and work towards women’s empowerment,” said Sonny Khan, a Pakistani-American who’s the founder and director of Paani Project.
“I reached out to his foundation directly and told them about Paani. How we have $0 in overhead costs. How we give all of our money to the people. How we record everything from start to finish. How we’ve raised over $1 million as volunteers without any money for marketing.
“I think our story of being kids’ who just wanted to help resonated,” said Khan who’s only 22 and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
The process was all virtual. Khan didn’t meet Irving. No matter. It worked. From first call to Irving’s foundation to completion took only four months. One reason is that the group has fostered relationships with construction partners in Pakistan and the United Nations Development Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Paani posted a video about the project on Twitter past Wednesday afternoon.