CHINA OVERSEAS PORTS Holding Company has initiated projects in various sectors ranging from education, health, environment, freshwater supply to employment, poverty alleviation as well as harnessing a healthy relationship between the two countries. In 2015, the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) collaborated with the local government to establish a school on a tract of 752 square meters of land donated by Shair Mohammad, a 65 year old local. Upon the same line, the China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD) donated USD 400,000 to construct China-Pakistan Government Primary School in Gwadar. The project was initiated in November 2015 and completed the following year in September.
The school was welcomed by an enthusiastic local population with over 500 students. The Chinese Embassy has particularly shown great attention towards the maintenance of this school and since 2017, the Embassy has funded its overall cost of construction along with an ‘Ambassador Scholarship’ for the improvement of teaching staff and school facilities. Local government authorities too have lent monetary and management support for the upgradation and sustainability of the school.
Chairman of COPHC, Mr. Zhang Baozhong who is currently serving as the honorary President of the school has been closely participating in the daily management of the school. Furthermore, the company has donated school buses, uniforms, teaching supplies whilst contributing to teacher development programs by sending the faculty to China for further education.
These rapid developments were made possible due to collaboration between the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Local Government in Gwadar, CFPD, COPHC, and local communities. This school is envisioned to be the model for education in Gwadar and is part of the larger goal to improve education, medical conditions, and poverty eradication in line with public welfare projects under CPEC.
Along with education, COPCH is amongst the first few donors to the special public welfare fund ‘Silk Road Humanity Fund’ as a provision for land support in lieu of the construction of the China-Pakistan Emergency Corridor. Similarly, the China-Pakistan Fraternity Emergency Care Center was granted the land of 3,000 square meters with functions such as medical and emergency treatment as well as small surgeries. Under this project, the end of August reported treatment of 4,500 patients along with free medical check-up of students, the staff of Gwadar Port Authority, Gwadar Free Zone Company Ltd., and Gwadar International Terminal Company Ltd.
Moreover, COPHC has contributed to providing a supply of fresh water to the people of Gwadar and has signed an agreement with the local government in May 2018 for the supply of 300,000 gallons of desalinated water daily – which has been expanded to 1.5 million daily gallons in agreement with China Port Authority. COPHC has not held back but has also contributed massively in generating employment opportunities. It has not only created thousands of jobs for locals but has also raised fiscal revenue for Pakistan.
To cater to Gwadar’s dry and hot climate, COPHC has maintained the implementation of green and sustainable construction processes, recycled sewage waste, adopted irrigation technology, engaged in landscaping, energy-saving, and improvement in saline-alkaline desert soil. Under this project, a greening project of over 100,000 square meters was built, which became a local attraction.
On the other hand, COPHC has also been working towards alleviating poverty and signed a Poverty Relief Agreement in 2018 with Gwadar Regional Council to help 14 families in improving their living standards through specialized recruitment and purchase service with adherence to the concept, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
With a vision to harness mutual respect and trust between the two sides, COPHC is committed to spreading positive energy, creating a people-to-people bond, and strengthening connectivity between the people of Pakistan and China – a lasting memoir of friendship between the two nations.
Article by: Azka Gouher