Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Worthwhile Venture

Assalamualaikum

I am writing about yesterday.

A few days back, I had received a text message saying that a Flood Relief Centre has been set up at Imperial Lawns (main Shahra-e-Faisal), and the name of this initiative is ''Help in a Box" and they need volunteers. I was, as usual, not sure as to its genuinity so the first thing to do was to establish the credibility of this initiative. Basically, two guys thought this whole idea up, inducted a team with them, made a Facebook Page and got started and running. One of my friend's sister works in an organisation which designed their posters/banners. Once, the credibility was established, we decided to go there and volunteer for them.

Yesterday, we set out at 3pm (the timings were 3-5pm), and we started searching for the place :D. Now Shahra-e-Faisal is such a HUGE road, that when you travel from one end to the other end, it's a whole road trip! Add some traffic, noise and pollution - and if you're fasting too, the result is: a great big pounding head!
We roamed around, searching all around frantically for something called Imperial Lawns "near the newly constructing flyover'' (as this was the directions given to us) :). Finally, (after travelling straight towards the airport, looking for a U-turn !! and then travelling back straight towards Regent Plaza - which is on the other end - AGAIN for a U-turn !!! we finally somehow, in the middle of the Shahrah, located the Lawn. Shukkar. It had taken us 1 and a half hours to reach there, something that only should take around 40-50 minutes.

When I entered the place, I saw people milling about. They seemed to be going around in circles. I stared in amazement. It was a human assembly line!

The entire setup was in the form of a huge semi circle. A line of people had formed a circle and were moving from table to table. At the first table, they would get a huge plastic bag, move on to the next table. People at the next table would throw in a bottle of mineral water, next table. People at the next table would quickly throw in a packet of biscuits, then next table, then came a packet of milk, next table, then came a box of matches, next table... then came a tube of toothpaste, next table :D... then came a packet of dates Phew! and finally deposit the bag at the last table where it would be quickly snatched by waiting hands, eagerly wrapping it up, putting brown tape on it, and then making a pile of it. This pile would be tackled by other sets of hands, one by one, each packet would be thrown to another set of hands, which would catch it smiling, and then transfer the packets in a box, when the box would be full, tape would be put on it, and it would be stacked on top of a HUGE pile of boxes.

Sigh. Ever saw something so perfectly organised? Arranged? All for the love of the people who are suffering in most of Pakistan?. I was so charged, so motivated to see this scene, that when 20 volunteers were called in, I was the first to literally run inside the ring. We started the rounds. One table after the next, it was a controlled frenzy (controlled because everybody was in a line - and frenzy because everybody wanted things to be put in the bag as quickly and efficiently as possible). We stayed there for a very short time :(. Just 45 minutes I think. And then since we hadn't prepared for Iftaar and Dad was home, and our drive home was bound to take around an hour, we had to leave. Me mum and Chotpo. Mum of course couldn't do the running around, so she sat on the chairs by the side and observed everything with interest. I'm so glad she came. She was the direction-giver of course... I wouldn't have reached the place alone ever... and not with Chotpo either. She and I both share the directionally challenged genes :D. So me and Chotpo were part of the assembly line. It felt SO good. I feel so honoured to be part of groups of people who are working so selflessly for this cause.

Even though in this whole affair, my contribution was like 0.00000000025%, the effort still felt something, and I felt energized after those 45 minutes (all 1.5 hour drive fatigue forgotten). :) .. it was a tremendous moment.

For those of you who have some free time, are in Karachi, are available from 3-6pm OR 8-11pm (today confirmed, rest of the weekdays check out their FB page for confirmation), these people need volunteers. They call themselves Help in a Box (very apt!), and they're working at Imperial Lawns, Shahra-e-Faisal. If you need detailed directions, please email me. And it's okay if you don't take some stuff to donate with you (because as far as I could see, they had loads of everything. People must have been really generous with their money). But if you do, it's even better :).

Their Facebook Page can be found here. And it's a credible, trustworthy source of giving charity. They have documented their whole procedure and made it transparent via pictures and videos. Do check it out! And Karachites, please do something. You have a house that's standing on dry ground, not water. What did we do to deserve not having to worry about the flood water entering our homes and drowning us? So we have a responsibility. And I hope we all realize it.

8 comments:

Vinnie said...

Pakistan Really need people like these. Well Done !

majworld said...

Its really great work..we need such efforts..Gud work...I wish I could do something more than donations too..

Uni said...

I sincerely believe that too. I was amazed by them MA. Thanks for dropping by! :)

Uni said...

@majworld
Well, if you donated, then of course you also did your bit. Try finding out if there are any volunteers needed in your area. You work, so you would probably have weekends kee afternoons free. Utilize them! There must be centres (or relief camps) at Isb as well.

Hope you also find amazing work going on, and become a little part of it. IA.

Thanks for dropping by :)

majworld said...

Ok, sure I will try to find some centre..Most of what I have seen is money collection organization camps..anywayz hope an organized effort can be done to utilize the money properly..

Uni said...

@majworld
Good luck :)
The utilisation of money is an issue, and now as I have learned, the people asking for extra items is also a concern. I wonder how one can determine whether a family is needy, or is just pretending.

Thanks for dropping by!

Nikki. said...

OK, Imperial Lawns are so obvious to see :P sitting just next to the Half Constructed Fly Over :P

Uni said...

@Nikki
Thanks a lot :P. I didn't know they were there. But now they seem obvious :D

Thanks for the comment!