KARACHI: What started out as an act of kindness, soon spread like wildfire across the globe. An anonymous Iranian started a 'Wall of Kindness' to help the poor on the streets and individuals in several cities around the world have followed his footsteps.
Starting from the streets of Mashhad, Iran the wall called 'Diwar-e-Mehrbani' offers miscellaneous items to homeless people with a motto beautifully summed up in two sentences, "leave if you do not need" and "take if you need." The idea soon picked up and within a short period of time, similar walls started trending across the country.
The movement became so popular on social media that it inspired people around the world to paint their walls. Pakistan, being one of the countries to support this humanitarian initiative, first saw these clean painted walls with a row of hooks in cities such as Quetta, Peshawar and Lahore.
Realising the significance of this project, Pakistani actor Ahsan Khan joined the bandwagon by bringing this idea to Karachi and giving the city it's first Wall of Kindness.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, the actor revealed his inspiration behind the initiative saying, "The Wall of Kindness concept was initiated in Iran and I saw a video about it on social media. I liked the idea as soon as I came across it and realised that something like this should be done in Pakistan."
Diwar-e-Mehrbani: Hanging your share of kindness
"A group of young students from Gujranwala got in touch with me, they wanted some funds so I had helped them out. But I didn't get any response after that," he said.
That's when he decided to take matters in his own hands. "I realised no one is doing it in Karachi. So, one morning I got a painter and called up an NGO and a couple of my friends to collect items," he said.
Ahsan Khan's video of homeless man goes viral, Pakistanis shower support
"I went to MA Jinnah road and painted over some wall chalkings and installed hooks for hanging clothes." He quipped, "I ruined the business of all the palmists and astrologers basically."
Ahsan further revealed that he was initially planning to start it off from the streets of Defence. "We do have less privileged people in this locality too and I thought the wall could be more beneficial here because people are willing to donate generously, yet effortlessly."
But he was amazed to see the response at MA Jinnah Road too. "I was shooting for a film there when I actually got the wall done. And as soon as I had placed some clothes, people started pouring in to fill bags. A few of them were like these are for their kids, while others were happy to walk away in shoes. So, it was a rare, pleasant sight and a very good feeling," said Ahsan.
With more and more people getting inspired every passing day, the city of lights now boasts almost eight to 10 Walls of Kindness.
Apart from joining the initiative, Ahsan has urged people to use social media to promote an effective cause like this, instead of check-ins and status updates.
The actor is also looking forward to start 'Teach Pakistan' initiative through which he plans to educate street children. A school is already under construction for this purpose.
A touch of humanity
According to him, street children lack motivation to study. Sharing an incident, he revealed, "I once went to drop my daughter to school and I saw this kid begging, I offered to enroll him in the same school and he ran away saying he didn't want to study. When I asked him why, he said, 'I make RS 400 to Rs500 everyday and that’s good enough so why should I study?'"
Ahsan is planning to change this mindset first. He along with a group of volunteers will try to convince parents and children alike to devote at least an hour of their time to come to the school.
The actor further claimed that he is not seeking donations but people are more than welcome if they are willing to join him in his humanitarian efforts.
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