In the past decade, Pakistan has suffered from a series of natural disasters that have caused destruction and havoc in the lives of Pakistanis, particularly those living in disaster-affected areas. People have lost their homes, property, livelihoods and in many cases, also their lives. Some of this devastation is preventable, through teams working quickly and efficiently to mitigate the effects of disasters by providing relief supplies and assistance to affected communities.
CDRS is one of many organizations that has done this sort of work, and is an example of social entrepreneurship and initiative in responding to a pressing need in these affected communities.
Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS) is a non-profit organization that has a motto of being present “in times of need.” The organizations mandate is to provide health care and assistance to improve the health of individuals and communities.
Their long-term objectives include: “providing sustainable and affordable quality health care services, addressing gaps in the healthcare system, providing comprehensive health education and school health programs, and working wit local communities to help them take a leadership role in funding/managing their healthcare needs in partnership with the existing but limited government health apparatus.”
CDRS was registered as a non-profit in 2006, and founded by Todd Shea (@toddsheacdrs).
An avid musician and humanitarian, Todd Shea has played an active role in assisting with disaster relief following the events of 9/11 and has contributed to efforts in the US, the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005, 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2011 tsunami in Japan, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
In an article where he was reported talking about his experiences in contributing to disaster relief and how he started up his organization, he said, “It became a career without any plan of it becoming a career.”
In addition to CDRS, Todd Shea has also founded two other organizations: Sustainable Healthcare Initiatives Now Empowering Humanity (SHINE HUMANITY), and Sonic Peacemakers.
Following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, he worked on getting medical assistance to disaster-affected areas, to provide health care for families in dire need of it. After this, Todd Shea founded CDRS and has been working in Pakistan on providing medical support to various areas affected by natural disasters ever since then.
CDRS has an impressive record of being present to provide relief following all the major disasters in Pakistan after 2005. In addition to this, it also runs projects in various villages, and sets up occasional health camps in areas that need them.
There are five projects that the organization is working on at the moment:
- Provision of basic health care for mothers and children in KPK in Bagh Deri, through a Mother and Children Health Center.
- Provision of free specialist medical care with camps set up through the Special Patients Project
- Health screening and informational sessions about basic healthcare and hygiene with school students through the School Health Program.
- Provision of new homes through the House Reconstruction in Sindh project, done in collaboration with the HUM TV Foundation.
- Working with Saba Homes for Orphans to assist with housing and expansion of facilities.
The New York Times featured Todd Shea’s work in Chikar, Kashmir, in an article. The article reported: “In Pakistan, less than one percent of the national budget is devoted to the health of its citizens, and the nation’s health care crisis is especially acute in remote communities.” The article goes on to quote Shea as describing the situation: “It’s frustrating and sad that’s the way it is. But if I screamed from the mountaintop, it wouldn’t change a thing.”
Shea has therefore focused his attentions on obtaining funding and resources to provide health care services in parts of Pakistan that are not receiving this from the government, or are unable to access private health care. His organization has gotten doctors and other medical professionals involved in these projects and assisted them with caring for various communities.
The organization also raises money through an online shop, which is available on their website. The store has various products including jewelry, artwork, books, and clothing. The money generated from the sale of these items goes towards financing CDRS projects.
CDRS also welcomes interested people to work with their organization, and volunteer with them. For information on volunteering or interning with this organization, click here.