“I saw their overgrown hair and the grime under their nails and thought, these are our kids. If our kids at home are in such a state, we get so worried. Let's help these kids too," said an organiser.
What started out as an idea discussed on a Twitter space came to fruition on September 4 when a group of friends arranged a professional team of hairdressers to give 250 children, and some adults, haircuts and distributed hygiene kits to people affected by the floods at a relief camp in Karachi.
On Monday, Syed Hussain Mujtaba Rizvi, one of the organisers shared the experience on Twitter. “Haircut of around 250 kids along with distribution of hygiene kits among flood affectees. Traumatised after faced [with the] horrifying ordeal of flood[ing], [here are the] smiling faces of these beautiful kids. It was a tiring day but I can’t explain this blessed feeling.”
The clip he shared documented an overview of the flood affected people getting haircuts. There were also introductions of the team who showed that the hygiene kits contained basic toiletries such as shampoo, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a pocket comb.
Rizvi named all the people involved who brought the plan to life. “I took an opportunity and performed an activity yesterday of giving back to the society with an idea proposed by Mujahid Sehwani and Ali Khuwaja. [The] plan [was] executed with [the] help of Mr Malik Shakir and Muhammad Fahad Anwar.”
Speaking to Images, he revealed that the four barbers present on site, led by Shakir, were highly qualified professionals from Malik’s Grooming Saloon. He also shared that the idea was discussed on a Twitter space before they carried out the plan. Rizvi was managing the entire process with moral support from Anwar. The hygiene kits were arranged by Sehwani.
“This event took place at Government Girls College (Scheme 33). [It was] appreciated by all the visitors and covered by SAMAA TV,” he tweeted.
The news channel spoke to flood affectees, one of whom revealed they arrived here five days ago and since then have gotten better clothes to wear and their hair that was ruined is seeing better days. Another child shared that their clothes were all damp and being here, they’re getting dry clothes, haircuts and even got their nails trimmed. An adult talked about the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea among the children, which will hopefully improve with this initiative.
One of the team members spoke to SAMAA TV about their idea. “We said that we should do something that will have good impact and send a good message. First we set up a store called Camp Shop and gave the children presents like toffees, chips, chocolates, etc so they come out of their traumatic state. We gave them toys so their time won’t be wasted and they can play. Then we gave them books, pencils and sharpeners so they can study as well.
“I thought [to myself] that it has been 15 days since they left the flooded areas, they still haven’t showered. I saw their overgrown hair and the grime beneath their nails and thought, these are our kids. If our kids at home are in such a state, we get so worried. We don’t let it get to that point. So these are also our kids, let’s groom them so they can look like princes and princesses.”
Rizvi raised a good point and said that though the flood affectees have shelter and water here, a particular emphasis has not been given to their hygiene. And the donations are headed towards inner Sindh and Balochistan, so people aren’t giving much thought to the ones that have already arrived here. There should be more effort for those residing in relief camps as well, he said.
If you wish to help out, here is a list of organisations you can reach out to, inquire about how they’re helping and then make your contribution.