TAKHT BHAI: Consul General Gregory Macris participated via video link in the closing ceremony of a $230,000 cultural preservation project at the Takht Bhai Buddhist monastery in Mardan.

“The US Mission in Pakistan is committed to working with local partners to support conservation and preservation of sites of great cultural significance across Pakistan,” said Macris.

The Humanitarian and Facilitation Organization (HAFO) received a US grant to execute the two-phase project at Takht Bhai. Working in close collaboration with the Directorate of Archeology and Museums Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, HAFO completed preservation of the Buddhist priests’ living quarters (Block-C) over the past year. During phase one, HAFO received a $400,000 grant to preserve Block-B of the monastery from 2017 to 2019.

The preservation project provided training and employment to dozens of skilled and unskilled laborers. It also encourages increased local and international religious tourism, with hundreds of visitors coming to the monastery each week. The HAFO provided guided tours to hundreds of students from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the course of the project, educating them about the history of the site and the importance of conservation efforts.

The US Mission in Pakistan supports cultural preservation efforts across the country and has previously funded restoration work at Masjid Mohabbat Khan and Gor Gathrie in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In his video address, US Consul General Gregory Macris said, “KP is home to numerous sites that reflect Pakistan’s rich cultural and religious diversity and the US Mission to Pakistan is proud to partner with Pakistan to preserve them for future generations.”

On November 24, the US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), reinstated two refurbished hospitals to the KP Health Department in Lakki Marwat. The US Consul General in Peshawar Gregory Macris virtually inaugurated the District Headquarters Hospital and the City Hospital at the ceremony.

The key refurbishments include improved operating theatres, labor rooms, gynecology wards, and pediatrics wards.  Newly dedicated clinics provide counseling on breastfeeding, growth monitoring, immunization, and preventive care for babies. USAID also established a Sick Newborn Care Unit with incubators and baby-warmers and trained health providers on emergency newborn care services. With improved signage within the medical campuses to facilitate patient flow, these hospitals will cater to the needs of more than 875,000 people of Lakki Marwat and residents from neighboring districts.

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