Naseema Akhtar, 45, lives in a village in Neelum, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with her husband and their four children. Her husband’s income isn’t enough for the family’s needs, even in normal times.

In emergencies, Naseema’s family had nothing to fall back on.

Kashmir has been called a paradise on earth by those who are mesmerized by the beauty of its endless string of hills, raging rivers and pure nature. But it’s a harsh environment for earning a living. Natural disasters are frequent, including landslides, earthquakes and extreme weather conditions, and conflict is a constant threat.

In December 2012, Islamic Relief Pakistan launched a comprehensive project to improve the well-being of marginalized communities in the remote and sometimes inaccessible areas of district Bagh and District Neelum.

Local Islamic Relief staff identified Naseema’s family to participate in a livelihood project, and helped them buy a cow—the family paid half and Islamic Relief USA donors paid the other half. Naseema also took part in livestock training.

Naseema now has milk for her family’s nutrition, and extra to sell at the market. She has also raised the calves, expanding her small herd to three. Her milk sales bring in about $285 per month—a huge boost for her family’s income.

“Before Islamic Relief’s support, the financial woes of my family were immense,” she said. “Now my sons go to a better school and we have lifted ourselves out of poverty. I will continue expanding my business. I am thankful to Islamic Relief.”