Anila was 16-years-old and heavily pregnant when Pakistan was hit last summer by its worst floods in 90 years.
As the waters rose rapidly, she recalls having to swim out of her house.
“I was asleep, it was in the night and I was woken up by my husband to see the flood waters coming through my house,” she said.
Together with their two other children and husband Mohammed’s 60-year-old mother, they managed to find safety on the roof of a nearby building.
“We were swimming through shoulder-deep water and then had to get to a place of safety,” said Mohammed.
“We were there for three hours on the roof of that house just praying that someone would rescue us.”
As the waters continued to rise, Anila was sure they would die, but they managed to squeeze onto a passing boat and were taken to the Golarchi camp, which had been set up for flood victims.
The relief at being rescued was short lived when they arrived at the camp only to find that all the available shelter had been taken and that there was not enough food for them and the other 150 families to eat.
With no shelter left, Anila’s family had no choice but to sleep in the open air, exposed to the incessant rain.
“I was convinced my baby had died by now as he wasn’t moving around inside me anymore,” she said.
“I thought he would be still I had him but my husband took me to a clinic where they tested my blood. He was ok.”
Eighteen days after arriving in the camp, Anila gave birth to her son, Sahib. There was no medical assistance, only the help of her mother-in-law Hadra.
Says Hadra, “I thank God that my grandson was born safe. I also helped my daughter give birth to her son a few days before, so it is a miracle that both children were born healthy in the middle of such mess.”
When Anila and her family finally returned to their village, they found that everything had been destroyed by the waters.
Yet they have managed to survive the last year. Tearfund is helping Anila’s family and the community to rebuild their lives and their livelihoods by providing them with rice seed and fertiliser for a crop to harvest in October.
Members of the community are also being paid by the development agency to restore roads and dig irrigation channels to work the land. With the money they receive, the families are not only able to rebuild their communities, but also earn the money they need to continue feeding and supporting their families.
When asked how she was going to celebrate Mohammed’s first birthday, Anila replied: “We don’t celebrate birthdays here. I’m grateful every day for my family’s survival and that we have somewhere to rest.”