In Balakot, devastated by the Pakistan earthquake, rebuilding shattered lives began with rebuilding the town. A pilot emergency employment programme run by the International Labour Organization put more than 800 people to work, paying them to clean up the streets and improve living conditions.

Date issued: 14 November 2005 | Size/duration: 00:02:06 (3.44 MB)
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Benaris was working in his office when the quake struck his town of Balakot, Pakistan.


I saw houses falling down in front of me, walls came down.... I went toward my home, I couldn’t tell one home from another. I was walking on rubble, nothing more. It was a horrible day...I will never forget it as long as I live. (pause....)

Benaris is one of the millions of people who lost their jobs, their livelihoods and more when the earthquake struck Pakistan.

His town, Balakot, was one of the hardest hit. 80 percent of the buildings there lie in ruin...crumbled walls, the temporary tombstones for those whose bodies were buried below.

Survivors pour in from the surrounding mountains looking for help...looking for hope...looking for work.

This man is a farmer. He can’t work in his fields anymore...there is nothing left but crevices.

This farmer says a landslide buried his fields with debris.

A driver, jobless because of impassable mountain roads...

In Balakot, a pilot emergency employment program run by the International Labour Organization has employed more than 800 people cleaning city streets, upgrading sanitation, and improving the living areas. Paid employment is helping people overcome their shock and their trauma.

Saad Gellani, ILO Emergency Employment Project Coordinator

There is a very visible change in the mood of the people because now you can see a spark in their eyes, now they have their hope, they have a future plan.

The project empowers them to make their own choices.

Woman in red

When this child asks me for something, I was unable to buy it. I want to be able to do it on my own.

Rebuilding the lives of those who have lost so much will take more than bricks and mortar. It will take work that offers dignity, possibility and hope.