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Hockey Heroes in Khashtra Camp

© UNICEF/PAKA01978D/Zaidi





Caption: Star hockey pair Sohail Abbas of Pakistan and Geert-Jan Derikx of The Netherlands talk with children going to school in one of the 3,000 temporary tent schools supported by UNICEF. The hockey champs were on a tour of earthquake-affected areas to hear first-hand from victims on how they are faring eight months after the devastating earthquake killed 73,000 people and left more than two million people homeless. Abbas and Derikx spent an afternoon at the IDP camp in Khashtra village of Garhi Habibullah, where 100 families from the three most vulnerable groups: widows, landless and disabled, have stayed behind while other families have begun returning to their villages to rebuild.


Caption: Pakistani hockey hero Sohail Abbas backs up a team of boys living in the UNICEF-supported IDP camp at Khashtra at Garhi Habibullah. Abbas, who now plays with Dutch clubs, raised funds for earthquake victims through an exhibition hockey match he arranged in The Netherlands late last year. He visited earthquake affected areas in Bagh and Mansehra districts from May 28 to June 4 with a team of Dutch media to talk first-hand with people who lost their relatives, homes and livelihoods, and to see how relief and rehabilitation efforts funded by Dutch donors are faring.

© UNICEF/PAKA01982D/Zaidi






Caption: Dutch hockey star Geert-Jan Derikx shares hockey tips with three boys living in the UNICEF-supported IDP camp at Khashtra in Garhi Habibullah. The boys hold hockey sticks donated by sponsors in The Netherlands and presented to the children of Khashtra camp by Derikx and Pakistani hockey champion Sohail Abbas.The hockey heroes were on a six-day visit to earthquake affected areas to assess the impact of millions of dollars in donations from The Netherlands government and The Netherlands UNICEF National Committee to earthquake emergency and rehabilitation projects.


Caption: Dutch hockey champion Geert-Jan Derikx looks on as boys living in the UNICEF-supported IDP camp at Khashtra village in Garhi Habibullah duel each other in a hockey match using sticks donated by sponsors in The Netherlands.
Derikx and expat Pakistani hockey star Sohail Abbas travelled out to Pakistan for a six-day tour of earthquake affected areas to observe the impact of  millions of dollars of relief and rehabilitation funds donated by The Netherlands government and Netherlands UNICEF National Committee.
The Netherlands government was the second largest donor to the UNICEF emergency appeal.The star hockey pair presented 40 hockey sticks to Khashtra IDP camp after meeting with children living in the camp and going to school in UNICEF-supplied tents. After class, boys broke into two teams headed by Abbas and Derikx to try out the new sticks and play an alternative to cricket in the grounds of the camp.


Caption: Pakistani hockey champion Sohail Abbas shows he can also wield a cricket bat during a visit to Khashtra IDP camp, where he chatted with children survivors of the October 8 earthquake and taught the boys some hockey tricks. Abbas, who has been playing with Dutch clubs for the last two years, was pivotal to fundraising efforts in The Netherlands in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.  





Hockey Heroes

Star hockey players Sohail Abbas of Pakistan and Geert-Jan Derikx of The Netherlands brought cheer to children in Khashtra village of Garhi Habibullah on May 31, presenting 40 brand new hockey sticks to the Khashtra IDP camp and leading the boys in a frenetic match in the camp grounds.
Sohail Abbas, one of Pakistan’s best-known hockey players, raised funds for the earthquake victims of his homeland by arranging an exhibition hockey match in The Netherlands where he has lived for the past two years playing in the Dutch league.
Abbas brought Derikx along with him on a six-day visit to the areas devastated by the October 8 earthquake in Pakistan’s mountainous northeast, to see for themselves how the funds are being spent and how the survivors are faring as the reconstruction phase begins.
Dutch television, radio, newspaper and magazine journalists followed the pair, recording their interaction with boys and girls attending classes in Unicef-supported temporary tent schools in Khashtra IDP camp and in nearby Khashtra village.
The Dutch government was the second largest donor to the Unicef appeal within the UN’s emergency earthquake appeal. The Dutch Unicef National Committee was the sixth largest donor.
Adil, 10, and his sister Firdaus, 14, brought the hockey heroes home from the Khashtra Government Primary School through a wheat field to meet their family inside the hugely-cracked walls of their house.
In a clearing where the old school stood before it was destroyed by the shallow 7.6-magnitude earthquake, the boys put on an exhibition cricket match for the hockey pair, naming one side the ‘Sohail Abbas Team’.
The girls put on a pantomime and devotional song performance for the sporting hero guests, then showed off their own ‘sports’ with a demonstration of hopscotch and skipping rope.
Around 140 boys and girls are now attending classes in four Unicef-supplied tents, accommodating extra children from the remote highlands whose families are still unable to return home. 
At the Khashtra IDP camp, the hockey pair joined kids playing cricket. Sohail Abbas took the bat, while the boys taught Derikx how to bowl.
After handing out the gleaming new hockey sticks, Abbas and Derikx divided the boys into two teams and led them in a spontaneous hockey duel.
Khashtra camp kids are now equipped for two sports as the long summer school break begins: the old favourite cricket, and hockey.


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