The Thar is a region of rolling sand dunes, plains and hills, lying across two countries and four states of the South Asian subcontinent. This vast arid land, now considered one of the harshest climates in the world, was once home to the great civilizations of Mohen jo Daro and Harappa.
rank out of 114 districts in Pakistan
population suffering from multi-dimensional poverty
mean years of schooling, for males
mean years of schooling, for females
Thar (short for Tharparkar), also known as the Great Indian Desert, covers over two hundred thousand square kilometers of land and derives its name from its very own sand ridges, or thul in the local vernacular. Its expansive surface area extends from southeastern Sindh and southern Punjab in Pakistan over the Indian states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. The Thar is bordered on the east by the Aravalli Mountain Range, on the west by the River Indus plain and the great salt marsh, the Rann of Kutch, on the south. The northern border is less defined, with some scholars naming the Punjab plain as its fourth wall.
The desert boasts some of the largest sand dunes in the world. And, these too, are not static. The unique characteristic of Thari sand dunes is their constant rolling motion. While rolling sand dunes occur in many parts of the world, these are always active. The Thar’s extreme winds are a major reason causing this perpetual motion. Against the backdrop of the stationary Aravalli Mountain Range to the desert’s east, these mountainous moving sand dunes add to the visual appeal of the landscape.
Currently, it ranks 109th out of 114 districts in Pakistan on the Human Development Index with approximately 87% of the population suffering from multi-dimensional poverty. Education which is to be a basic right of every individual on the planet is decried to the residents of Tharparkar with mean years of schooling standing as low as 3.8 years and 0.7 years for males and females respectively. Other necessities such as health coverage; immunization and availability of fresh clean drinking water also remains abysmally low, with the inhabitants of Thar living at least 100 years behind the major metropolis of Pakistan.
But while life remains difficult in this desert land, its people remain resilient and passionate; hopeful of an era where education, health and basic amenities will abound in every village; every town and every household of Thar.
We, at Thar Foundation, too believe in the potential of Thar and are resolute in our determination to help mother Thar evolve into a region of progress, prosperity and eternal sunshine.
Thar Foundation has been established with a mission to unlocking human potential and delivering change in high impact areas.
We believe in equality of all lives and together without partners aim to improve lives for thousands, if not millions, of individuals living in poor socio-economic conditions in Tharparkar. We view ourselves as catalysts of human development and retain individuals and issues at the heart of our philosophy of executing meaningful change.
Through a robust implementation strategy which we have developed in collaboration with both local and global partners, we are focused on delivering impact on areas of greatest need, through ways we can do most good. By employing graduated and sustainable interventions under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals framework we seek to make Islamkot – the seat of our humanitarian interventions – the first SDG -compliant tehsil in Pakistan by 2024 – six years ahead of the global timeline.
We are focused on the brining the SDG Agenda to the fore in all our interventions. Singularly motivated by the framework we have proactively adopted these Global Goals as our guiding compass to execute systemic change in Tharparkar. From zero hunger to no poverty to provision of education and healthcare, our initiatives are designed to improve quality of human life in a sustainable manner.
Since these goals are a universal call-to-action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, the Thar Foundation has adopted these Global Goals with a vision to uplift the communities in Thar and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. By adopting the SDG Framework, the Thar Foundation has divided these 17 Global Goals into three key categories:
These goals will be met by all Thar Foundation interventions, which are designed to eradicate multidimensional poverty in Islamkot and its surroundings through a public-private partnership model, comprising:
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
These goals while not directly and holistically relevant to the scope of Thar Foundation’s implementation ambit continue to remain a focus for our advocacy efforts through support of relevant organizations.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Prioritized goals under the SDG framework are the Thar Foundation’s focus as compliance to these goals will ultimately lead the Foundation to its final goal - end poverty for the people of Thar, protect the people of Thar and bring peace and prosperity into the region. As part of our prioritized goals, Thar Foundation will be focusing on the following areas:
The board follows strict governance and meets regularly and is responsible for setting up the strategic direction for Thar Foundation.
Chief Executive Officer
Imtiaz Shaikh is a Pakistani politician who is the current and Provincial Minister of Sindh for Energy and in office since September 05, 2018. He has been a member of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh since August 2018. Previously he was a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh from May 2013 to May 2018.
Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi is the Director of Thar Foundation and the Chief Operating Officer of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). He is a learner by passion and an engineer by profession. He completed his graduate and post-graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University, USA. After working for a year as a design engineer in the US, he returned to Pakistan and joined Engro Corporation at their Urea Fertilizer plant in Daharki. With 21 years of experience in engineering design, maintenance and project management he has worked in Fertilizers, New Ventures and Energy businesses within Engro Corporation. Since 2012, he has been positively changing the land and skies of Tharparkar by unearthing the 7th largest coal reserves in the region of Thar. What is perhaps more inspiring than this feat itself is his commitment and focus on inclusive development which his Company is working on through its CSR arm –the Thar Foundation.
Ahsan Zafar Syed serves as a Director on the board of Thar Foundation. He has done his Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from NED University and also holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College. Having 22+ years of professional experience in different functions, Ahsan is currently serving as CEO at Engro Powergen Thar limited. Prior to this, he was serving as Head of Manufacturing –Engro Eximp Agriproducts Ltd. He started his career in Engro Chemicals LTD in 1991 as a Purchase Officer. He also provided services as Unit Manager Project Engineer & Unit Manager Plant Expansion. After the demerger of Engro Chemical Pakistan Ltd, Mr. Ahsan served as Construction Manager [Enven] in Engro Fertilizer Ltd. Later on, he was moved to Engro Powergen Ltd as Wind Project Manager.
Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani is currently serving as a Member of National Assembly (MNA) of Sindh Province –Tharpakar District. He is also a Member of Board of Directors of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company. Prior to this, Malani served as a Member of National Assembly of Pakistan from year 2008 to 2013 and a Member of Provincial Assembly from 2013 onwards. Dr. Malani holds a MBBS Degree from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Science (formerly known as Liaquat Medical College Jamshoro, Sindh).
Mr. Naseer Memon is a renowned development professional, who has been working with prominent organizations in humanitarian and development sector, academia and corporate sector of Pakistan for more than 20 years. During past 15 years he has been working on senior management positions in reputed private and social sector organizations including Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Thar Foundation, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan, Premier Oil International, WWF Pakistan, UNDP and Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Sindh, Pakistan. Currently, he is General Manager CSR, Public Affairs and Communications at Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company. He looks after community development projects and stakeholders relationship of Thar Foundation. Mr. Memon writes on the subject of human development and natural disasters. These books are widely referred among humanitarian sector organizations and experts. Apart from these publications Mr. Memon has authored ten books on issues pertaining to governance, human development and conflicts. IUCN Pakistan and Sindh Environmental Protection Agency awarded his writings on environment and conservation issues. Mr. Memon is also invited as resource person on regional and international forums. He has conducted trainings and delivered presentations in USA, UK, Thailand and Bangladesh on humanitarian issues. He has also been participating in international forums.