Inspired by reports of similar clothe donation initiatives in Iran and some other Pakistani cities, five Punjab University students have put several hangers on a segment of the wall opposite Jam-i-Shirin Park on Ali Zaib Road where people can leave extra clothes for others in need.
The students have painted four hangers and the text Diwar-i-Meharbani (the Wall of Kindness) on the wall.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on Saturday, they said they intended to encourage people to donate extra clothes for those in need. “We picked the idea from social media where we came across similar initiatives in Karachi, Peshawar and Iran,” said Husnain Nasir, one of the five students from the PU Mass Communications Department. The other students were Harris Bhatti, Salman Aslam, Asad Ali and Javed Iqbal.Nasir said a lot of people were sceptical about ‘free for all’ initiatives. “In order to gauge public response, we had first set up a similar wall on our campus. The response was good… so we decided to do it at a public place,” he said. The response to the wall on Ali Zaib Road had also been phenomenal, he said.
Nasir said they had already received a large number of clothes. “We are thinking about distributing some of these in shanty town near Township,” he said.
Nasir said he and his friends had been spending their day time on the site to sort the clothes. “We make sure the clothes are not torn. We will also wash clothes, if need arouse, and pack them for the needy.” He said for now they were taking the clothes with them when they left the site at night. However, he said they would soon start leaving the clothes at the wall overnight as well.
The organisers said they were considering setting up a similar wall at a more central location. “We’re thinking of doing this on MM Alam Road,” he said.
The wall has been attracting scores of visitors. Alia Naseer, one of the donors, said she had learnt about the initiative from Facebook. “A lot of people were talking about it. I’ve seen similar things happening in other cities,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2016.