Hope Floats: The Community Rafts of Northern Pakistan

09/08/2010 05:54 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Sept. 4 and 5 the Karachi chapter of Architecture for Humanity continued post-flood assessments in partnership with the Karachi Relief Fund. On Sunday, the team was surveying a potential site at Fizagat, which is approximately 3-5 km from Saidu Shaif. They were stunned by what they found. A village that has designed their way out of the floods and into economic recovery.

Chapter leader Mahboob Khan explained:

The Swat riverbed extends over 300m at this point, with both sides of the river supporting large populations. During our trip we stumbled across an ingenious series of handmade rafts that were made from tire tubes and bamboo by local villagers. At least 50 of these rafts were seen crossing the water with a number under construction.

This "found" project is a clear example of a local innovation working without international aid and communities working collaboratively to build a better future. For all the talk on "design for change," it is those who are on the ground and challenged every day that prove that creativity is an instinctive trait in the human ability to survive. For those of us who fund and support projects, it is our role to embrace and support this natural instinct and not crush it with the weight of predetermined international response.

When we take the time to look and listen, the quiet heroes emerge.

First-hand reporting by Mahboob Khan, Architecture for Humanity Karachi. Architecture for Humanity is actively supporting a number of initiatives in the rebuilding of rural communities affected by the recent floods. Paypal is covering all fees for Pakistan donations, allowing 100% of funds to reach communities on the ground. Thanks to Causecast you can also text AFHBUILD to 85944