The wall of kindness: An Iranian venture to feed the poor comes to Pakistan

The wall of kindness: An Iranian venture to feed the poor comes to Pakistan

People donate clothes and food which are then stacked beside a wall on Karachi's MT Khan Road
25 Jan, 2016

Remember that Iranian initiative 'deewar-e-mehrbaani' or 'Wall of Kindness' where people handed out necessities to the homeless? The idea has now made its way to Pakistan.

The Iranian Wall of Kindness
The Iranian Wall of Kindness

The Pakistani leg of this venture is run by Ismat Ali, who is a lecturer by profession. "I was inspired by this setup in Iran. It has now gone to Germany as well. I believe that by showing a kind gesture one can have a peaceful life now and in the hereafter."

The idea is something like this: people donate clothes, food items and anything else they wish which are then stacked beside a particular wall in the city. In Karachi the first deewar-e-mehrbaani was set up at M. T Khan road on January 15 and got an overwhelming response from people in need who helped themselves.

A video from Facebook shows that the small space had stocked a variety of items ranging from clothes to shoes and eatables including juices and even cooking oil.

Ismat also told that she felt the need to do this because a majority of people show apathy toward those in need: "People are not coming out of their houses to help the less privileged so I took this step to do my share."

A chart pasted on the wall read: "Jis cheez ki zarurat ho le jayey, badle me sirf hurf-e-dua de jayey' (take away whatever you need in exchange for a word of prayer)."

Ismat added that the clothes placed at the wall were in mint condition and they made sure that those who took the things were not hesitant to partake of this charity.

"We told [people who came to collect items] them to take whatever they liked without hesitation. However we realised that most of them were in need of food items so the next time we plan a wall, we'll keep more rashan [rations] to cater to the demand," she explained.

Though many similar ventures start out strong they also tend to peter out after a few months. What about the wall? Ismat has high hopes and wishes to continue with her vision: "I'm very ambitious and we have inherited this drive from our father who has devoted his life to the needy. This journey will continue and maybe my children will continue it after me."

Karachi's volatile security situation doesn't seem to worry Ismat. "I'm not worried about security issues in Karachi because when you are doing something for the betterment of humanity I believe God helps you out."

As of now, Ismat wishes to take the initiative to Lahore and has aimed for 100 such 'walls' all over the city: "I plan offer two nawafil and share it with my friend. To have a 100 walls is my dream."

Ismat plans to hold the next drive in February in DHA.