We, in collaboration with UNAIDS, National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) and its provincial counterparts as well as relevant provincial rights-based institutions, are conducting a series of Training of Trainers (TOTs) on ‘Ending Transphobic Stigma & Discrimination in Prevention & Response to HIV/AIDS’ across Pakistan.
Until less than a year ago, Sakina Bibi and Zabihullah, still in the early years of childhood, spent their days running household errands — a sharp contrast to the carefree lives led by most children of school-going age. Sakina spent her days helping her mother fetch water from as far as ten kilometres away — the only fresh water source located near their house, while Zabihullah helped his father take the animals for grazing to nearby pastures.
“When I lost my husband, I had no choice but to move in with my brother,” said Bibi Hajra, a recently widowed resident of Sultan Shah village, Noshki district. “I often felt my children and I were an additional burden for my brother, who earned a meagre sum as a day labourer and was already struggling to provide for his own family.”
On a typical summer day, Malik Muhammad Nadir, a resident of Killi Sultan Shah, could be seen shuffling through the desert in scorching heat to nearby villages carrying a tin storage box. The storage box mostly contained neatly stacked household items, such as rice, pulses and confectionaries for children, which he sold to village locals at a meager cost. For many years, Muhammad Nadir took the same route each day, scrambling from one village to another selling these household items to locals to serve their everyday needs.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with its population estimated at 207.8 million in 2017. Its population growth rate of 2.40 percent is the highest in South Asia and stands in sharp contrast to the 1.0–1.5 percent growth rate of other South Asian countries. Pakistan's population has increased by more than six-folds since the first post-independence census held in 1951. This massive growth in population possesses serious challenges for the country's socio-economic development.
For as long as he could remember Haji Asmatullah had led a simple life with just enough earnings to support his family in his remote village of Zangikhel, in district Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

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