The Thar is a region of rolling sand dunes, plains and hills, lying across two countries and four states of the South Asian subcontinent. This vast arid land, now considered one of the harshest climates in the world, was once home to the great civilizations of Mohen jo Daro and Harappa.
rank out of 114 districts in Pakistan
population suffering from multi-dimensional poverty
mean years of schooling, for males
mean years of schooling, for females
Thar (short for Tharparkar), also known as the Great Indian Desert, covers over two hundred thousand square kilometers of land and derives its name from its very own sand ridges, or thul in the local vernacular. Its expansive surface area extends from southeastern Sindh and southern Punjab in Pakistan over the Indian states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. The Thar is bordered on the east by the Aravalli Mountain Range, on the west by the River Indus plain and the great salt marsh, the Rann of Kutch, on the south. The northern border is less defined, with some scholars naming the Punjab plain as its fourth wall.
The desert boasts some of the largest sand dunes in the world. And, these too, are not static. The unique characteristic of Thari sand dunes is their constant rolling motion. While rolling sand dunes occur in many parts of the world, these are always active. The Thar’s extreme winds are a major reason causing this perpetual motion. Against the backdrop of the stationary Aravalli Mountain Range to the desert’s east, these mountainous moving sand dunes add to the visual appeal of the landscape.
Currently, it ranks 109th out of 114 districts in Pakistan on the Human Development Index with approximately 87% of the population suffering from multi-dimensional poverty. Education which is to be a basic right of every individual on the planet is decried to the residents of Tharparkar with mean years of schooling standing as low as 3.8 years and 0.7 years for males and females respectively. Other necessities such as health coverage; immunization and availability of fresh clean drinking water also remains abysmally low, with the inhabitants of Thar living at least 100 years behind the major metropolis of Pakistan.
But while life remains difficult in this desert land, its people remain resilient and passionate; hopeful of an era where education, health and basic amenities will abound in every village; every town and every household of Thar.
We, at Thar Foundation, too believe in the potential of Thar and are resolute in our determination to help mother Thar evolve into a region of progress, prosperity and eternal sunshine.
Thar Foundation has been established with a mission to unlocking human potential and delivering change in high impact areas.
We believe in equality of all lives and together without partners aim to improve lives for thousands, if not millions, of individuals living in poor socio-economic conditions in Tharparkar. We view ourselves as catalysts of human development and retain individuals and issues at the heart of our philosophy of executing meaningful change.
Through a robust implementation strategy which we have developed in collaboration with both local and global partners, we are focused on delivering impact on areas of greatest need, through ways we can do most good. By employing graduated and sustainable interventions under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals framework we seek to make Islamkot – the seat of our humanitarian interventions – the first SDG -compliant tehsil in Pakistan by 2024 – six years ahead of the global timeline.
We are focused on the brining the SDG Agenda to the fore in all our interventions. Singularly motivated by the framework we have proactively adopted these Global Goals as our guiding compass to execute systemic change in Tharparkar. From zero hunger to no poverty to provision of education and healthcare, our initiatives are designed to improve quality of human life in a sustainable manner.
Since these goals are a universal call-to-action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, the Thar Foundation has adopted these Global Goals with a vision to uplift the communities in Thar and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. By adopting the SDG Framework, the Thar Foundation has divided these 17 Global Goals into three key categories:
These goals will be met by all Thar Foundation interventions, which are designed to eradicate multidimensional poverty in Islamkot and its surroundings through a public-private partnership model, comprising:
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
These goals while not directly and holistically relevant to the scope of Thar Foundation’s implementation ambit continue to remain a focus for our advocacy efforts through support of relevant organizations.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Prioritized goals under the SDG framework are the Thar Foundation’s focus as compliance to these goals will ultimately lead the Foundation to its final goal - end poverty for the people of Thar, protect the people of Thar and bring peace and prosperity into the region. As part of our prioritized goals, Thar Foundation will be focusing on the following areas:
The board follows strict governance and meets regularly and is responsible for setting up the strategic direction for Thar Foundation.
CEO and Director
Global Operating System
Global Operating System
Amir was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Thar Foundation on 8th October 2021. He has over 27 years of experience in general management and has led various teams in sales and marketing function across Pakistan, Australia and Africa.
Amir has managed various global and local mega brands and led cross functional teams to deliver business results. In his prior roles he has served as the Chief Executive Officer for Engro Agritrade, Chief Commercials Officer for Engro Fertilizer and CEO & Managing Director for Bayer Pakistan. He also served as the adjunct faculty at the Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS).
Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani is currently serving as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of Sindh Province – Tharpakar District. He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company. Prior to this, Malani served as a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from the year 2008 to 2013 and a Member of the Provincial Assembly from 2013 onwards. Dr. Malani holds an MBBS Degree from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Science (formerly known as Liaquat Medical College Jamshoro, Sindh).
Yusuf Siddiqui is currently serving director at Thar Foundation. He has headed the Shell businesses in Tunisia and Jordan. Yusuf is an energy industry executive with about 24 years of experience leading upstream, downstream & renewables energy ventures in Shell, Eni & BP. He has a global career profile with diverse assignments in Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, Netherlands, Iran, Italy & Pakistan. He brings valuable experience in safety, technical, strategic and commercial leadership, working with the world’s top operators & innovators in the changing energy landscape.
Yusuf has an engineering degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore & an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. He is an alumni of various leadership, production, commercial & asset management academies of BP, Shell & Eni. He is an avid reader of history and an outdoor enthusiast with a love for camping, swimming and water sports.
Waheeda Mahesar is an accomplished professional with a wealth of experience in the field of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET). As the Executive Director of SZABIST-ZABTech (iTVE), the largest TVET institute in the Province of Sindh, Pakistan, she has successfully established a vast institutional network to cater to the underprivileged working age population. With her strong academic background, including an M.Phil. in HRM, dual master's degrees in computer science and public administration, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration, Ms. Mahesar possesses the knowledge and expertise to lead and expand the institute's initiatives.
Throughout her career, Ms. Mahesar has overseen several noteworthy projects, including "Women Empowerment Through TVET," sponsored by UN Women, which aims to train 2,000 marginalized women in vocational skills. She has also managed projects like "Sindh Union Council Community Economic Strengthen Support" (SUCCESS), sponsored by the EU, and "Empowering the Marginalised Youth Through Skill Development," sponsored by the EU, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Additionally, she has coordinated training programs in collaboration with prominent organizations such as the National Vocational Technical Training Commission of Pakistan and the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Human Resource and Rehabilitation Youth Development Program.
With a passion for improving the lives of rural and urban underprivileged women, youth, transgenders, and communities,. Waheeda strives to enhance their access to education, employment, and gender awareness. Her extensive international experience includes speaking at conferences, attending workshops, and participating in trainings across countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, India, and the Netherlands. Through her expertise and dedication, she continues to make significant contributions towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society.