Pakistan is the fifth most populated country of the world and with the current population growth rate; it is expected to become the fourth most populated country by 2030.
Such massive population growth poses serious challenges to the country’s development pursuits. While there are multiple reasons for such a large population, one key element unanimously agreed at all levels is the lack of family planning.
Meet with a Tharparkar based farmer Maroo Bheel from village Mole Je Dhani, a remote backward area of Thar, in which most educated person’s qualification is just intermediate.
Maroo have 11 kids including 4 girls and 7 boys, he doesn’t have any settled job or business depended on his monsoon-based field and supporting his family.
When Thar Education Alliance reported the lifestyle of Maroo Bheel, he expressed that at the age of 45 it is very hard to give support the dreams of my kids, though they are interested to go to good schools for quality education, hospitals for health, and also its hard enough to give water to their desires.
Maroo said, ‘By choosing to have a smaller family, we can all live within our means, reduce the pressure on our Earth’s resources, protect the natural world and ensure that there will be enough of everything we need for everyone– something we all have a right to.’
Our friends, families, colleagues enrich our lives, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. But to make sure our planet can sustain everyone; we need to think seriously about what a sustainable population looks like.
Population Matters are empowering people to choose smaller families by raising awareness of the issue, education, campaigning, and lobbying government.
Individuals – single people, couples, and families – also have the power to make a difference.You can make the biggest difference of all. You can choose to have a smaller family and enjoy the benefits this brings.
By choosing to have a smaller family you are also putting less strain on the Earth’s resources and reducing the detrimental effects we are having on our environment.When people move away from villages, jobs, schools, shops and other facilities also disappear.
The government needs to tackle the causes and effects of population decline, for instance by cutting down on the number of new homes being built. Maroo also expressed that Livelihood of a majority of Thari people depends on livestock and agriculture.
The rainfall and the locust attack on crops have pushed Tharis into yet another difficult time. And at that moment you can’t migrate to barrage colonies with overpopulated family.
Maroo’s wife also stressed that ‘For her kids are blessing by God, but when it comes to raising up them without compensating or dividing the things unequally it hurts, so at least I can request to my son, immediate family, and neighbors to make a plan of the family for a healthy life and environment.’
The government wants to maintain the livability of areas where the population is shrinking or where decline is forecast. The provincial and municipal authorities hold primary responsibility for tackling the consequences of population decline and demographic aging.
Their efforts are supported by the central government. But the authorities cannot tackle the problem alone. They need to work together with housing associations, care institutions, active members of the community, and businesses.
Seeto, 12 years old and elder son of Maroo emphasized that ‘back to December when he went to the marriage ceremony of his cousin sister, he observed that a heavy dowry was gifted to his cousin and its net worth will be around 35K-40K PKR and I’m sure my father couldn’t do this for his 4 daughters, so as per my thought smart and small families can manage the things positively and for us it’s challenging to be with society.’
When approached to District Population Officer Tharparkar, Mr Ismail Mangrio, he shared that babies absorb a lot of vitamins and nutrients from their mothers and it’s important to replenish these before the next pregnancy.
WHO guidelines recommend that women wait at least 24 months, while other studies suggest 12 to 18 months is a reasonable gap.
Women often wonder what the ideal amount of time is to wait after giving birth before getting pregnant again. There are practical considerations, such as the desired age gap between siblings, and physiological ones, such as maternal age
Mangrio also added that, due to COVID-19 they’re not visiting villages or fields, but Lady Health Workers are playing their role by mobilizing local communities and women.