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"There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and motivation to improve their lot... It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that Spark."
The Northern Areas, officially referred to by the government of Pakistan as the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), is the northernmost political entity within the Pakistani-administered part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. FANA borders Pakistan to the west, Afghanistan to the north, China to the northeast, the Pakistani-controlled state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to the south, and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast.
The Northern Areas remains part of the Kashmir dispute and is claimed by India as part of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan regards the entire area of the Indian occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir as "territory in dispute."
The Northern Areas are divided into seven districts in two divisions: the two Baltistan districts of Skardu and Ghanche, and the five Gilgit districts of Gilgit, Ghizer, Diamer, Astore, and Hunza-Nagar. The main political centres are the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.
The Ghizer District is the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Its capital is Gakuch. Ghizer is also a contact point between Gilgit and Chitral (two cities connected via Shandur Pass). Ghizer is a multi-ethnic district with three major spoken languages: Khowar, Shina and Burushaski. The population of Ghizer is approximately 121 000.
Gilgit is the capital of the Northern Areas, Pakistan. This mountainous region lies on the foothills of the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains, and has an average altitude of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).
Gilgit is about 10 km off the Karakoram Highway (The Silk Road). The Spark of Hope School is located approximately 50 km northwest of Gilgit.
Situated in some of the most beautiful and mountainous regions of the world, Goharabad lies within the Ghizer district, about 50 kilometers from Gilgit. The juxtaposing rocky terrain and lush valleys are extraordinary. The region is home to many natural wonders, including some of the tallest mountains in the world.
The people of Goharabad are largely subsistence-based farmers, consuming only the food they themselves grow. The only steady source of formal employment is provided by Spark of Hope through construction projects, teaching, and administration of the school. The residents of Goharabad live day-to-day and while the community is united, meeting one's basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter is often uncertain.
By negotiating with the neighboring villages, Spark of Hope has secured clean running water from a nearby glacier stream for the Goharabadi people. Prior to this water supply, the residents had significant health problems from water-bourne illness because their only access to water was through unfiltered river water from surrounding areas.