October 8th Earthquake I was in Karachi when October 8th earthquake came.

We had just returned from America. For some reason I missed the coverage of the earthquake on the television. But I used to read full page spread on earthquake published in Urdu daily Ummat. It was June of 2005. My husband was in USA to do a course. He had got permission for my visit to USA as well I had applied for visa to USA Embassy but there was a letter that was to be obtained from somewhere, it got delayed because there was no one to get it signed from there. But eventually when that letter reached Embassy I received my Passport with visa of USA stamped on it within a week. The visa was for almost and half year. I was relieved that my efforts had bore some fruit. I came to Abbotabad in December 2005 just two months after the massive and devastating earthquake that shook the foundation of many families. Due to this disaster 75000 people lost their lives and millions were homeless. My husband was living in a guest house on Mansehra Abbotabad road. I went to visit him there in my winter break as was our routine since last five years of our marriage. Sitting in the sprawling lush green lawns of the guest house I used to follow many UN vehicles, with my eyes, that were going to Mansehra. On second day of my visit I asked my husband naively ³where are these vehicles going?´ ³These are going to Mansehra for relief work´. Actually there were hundreds of other vehicles of other national and International organizations that were heading in the same direction but UN vehicles were most visible. All these vehicles are going to Mansehra, Balakot, Kaghan, Battagram, Kohistan Allai, all of these were earthquake affected areas. City of Balakot was the worst hit place as it was completely raised to the ground. While the whole of Hazara and AJK was busy in reconstruction, residents of Balakot were confused because of the uncertain future of Balakot and equally uncertain future of New Balakot city Bakrial where Balakot city was to be moved as Balakot itself was declared Red Zone. New Destination New Profession Life is a journey of unknown destinations. Our actions always lead to unexpected consequences. Journey of her life also started many years ago in Hyderabad, a city once famous for its cold evening breeze and chimneys. Sitting in the office she had seen for the first time, talking to the person she had met for the first time; giving interview for the kind of job she would be trying herself in for the first time. The man sitting in front of him in front of a computer table was a man of shy disposition. He was of dark color.

³I have seen your CV Masha Allah you have rich experience of teaching. This job is not an office job but a field intensive job you will have to go to the field a lot. And you will need to write progress reports as well.´ ³I have experience of writing .I have co authored a book.´ I gave him the copy of the book I had just mentioned. ³You don¶t have the experience of this kind of job; do you think you will be able to do it?´. Yes off course it¶s not going to be any problem. Not only I said that but I believed in the veracity of this statement. "Ok you can join us from tomorrow". I returned to home very happy. Right from my adolescent days I wanted to work in development sector , but back then it was impossible for me to pursue a career in development sector. No one in the family would have allowed me.but now life had given me an opportunity to work in development sector. Although the organization I had joined was a local one but the ambiance was perfect for me , at least in the beginning. Child Protection and Empowerment of Adolescents On my first day in office I planned a field visit to Banda Sahib Khan village in Havelian where our NGO had a Child Friendly space as a Unicef partner. It was a half an hour journey from our Field office in Abbottabad. A Photographer in search of freshly built Graves Our donors called our head of operations and he called me to tell me that a Russian photographer was coming to visit our Child Friendly Spaces in Havellian and Battagram. According to schedule we first took him to our child freindly space in Havellian and then to Battagram.On our way to Battagram he kept asking us about the freshly built graves. "Six months have passed; in Pakistan no family leaves their loved one's graves kacha after such a long time". I explained to him but he desperately wanted to take snaps of freshly built graves. He was a good photographer he took some good photographs and offered me to use them if I like but should give him credit in case I use them. Rural Housing Reconstruction Erra had just started its Rural Reconstruction Program for the earthquake affected communities of Hzara and AJK. UN-habitat was providing technical expertise. Our NGO was also given

eight UCs in the beginning and I was responsible for those eight UCs as Project manager of this project. I had studied Architecture for one year in Mehran Unversity. I was a good student and used to prepare very fine portfolios as I had interest in drawing and sketching right from my childhood days. Although I changed my technology from Architecture to electronic engineering after first year but the connection was already made between me and housing and reconstruction.