On 8th October 2005 Kashmir shook and Northern Pakistan was devastated by one of the worst earthquakes in recent times. More than 80,000 people were killed, over a 100,000 injured, around a 3.5 million displaced and homeless in the picturesque and rugged Himalayan terrain. Villages were wiped out, students buried under their schools and thousands trapped in their homes.

In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 667 people had survived under the fallen debris with crushed vertebrae and sustained spinal cord injuries. They became paralyzed and lost control on their bowel and bladder functions. These survivors were mostly young women and children, who were in their homes and schools, while many men escaped uninjured. Most of these survivors live on the slopes of the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains of Kashmir and the Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa province in Pakistan.

In December 2005, a team comprising of Dr. Zeba Vanek, Susan Escueta and Dr. Sofia Janjua travelled to Pakistan from the USA and joined relief work organized by Hashoo Foundation (HF) and WHO. Dr. Zahoor and other members of HF facilitated this work and they saw many of these patients during their trip. The state of the spinal cord injury survivors was tragic. They were helpless, scared and uncertain about their future after having lost their homes, family and control on their bodies.

A desire to work together by individuals and organizations, with the goal of rehabilitating these paralyzed survivors and their families towards a life of dignity and independence, helped create The Spinal Cord Injury Project for Pakistan Earthquake Rehabilitation (SCIPPER) in 2005.

Since its inception SCIPPER has helped numerous people, in particular women with spinal cord injuries and their families to reel back their lives and continues to do so with the help of volunteers and donors.

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What We Do

SCIPPER is an international network of physicians, medical students, friends and well-wishers, who volunteer their time and expertise and donate generously to help people who became paralyzed from spinal cord injuries after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. A 100% of donations are used to help the patients.
The patients are provided with free tele-health, medical care, education, vocational training, financial support, employment opportunities and housing that has been adapted for people with disabilities. Hashoo Foundation (HF), an NGO registered in Pakistan and the USA, facilitates the implementation of the programs.

SCIPPER also collaborates with other organizations to rehabilitate and empower the patients.


This is just one of the straw bale houses that SCIPPER (Spinal Cord Injury Project for Pakistan Earthquake Rehabilitation) has helped build along with PAKSBAB (Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building).

This particular house was built for Ms Rubina Saleem who was paralyzed in the quake and after multiple hospital stays, she lived with her three children in one room in a slum without basic facilities. Rubina’s wheelchair accessible house  restored her mobility until she sadly passed away. It greatly improved her family’s dignity and their quality of life.

This and other houses have been built using generous contributions from our donors and provided free to the skippers and their families. In the past, one home has cost about USD 10,000/-




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Impact Stories

Dr. Anam’s incredible story 


Dr. Anam Najam is a Doctor in The Department of Psychiatry, CMH Muzaffarabad. She is Pakistan’s first consultant Psychiatrist with quadriplegia (wheelchair bound), an inspirational speaker, a poetess & a writer.

On 15 March 2008, while traveling from Rawalpindi to Muzaffarabad with her family, a group of armed robbers attacked and fired at Najam’s car, following which a stray bullet penetrated her neck and led to a severe spinal cord injury that paralyzed her body from below the neck. In October 2010, Najam went to Cologne, Germany for stem-cell therapy, which proved unsuccessful and ultimately led her to lose control over all four of her limbs, a condition known as quadriplegia. None of this stopped Dr. Najam and she is a true inspiration to all of us.