The world is a decadent place where power is the most valuable form of currency. Everyone is suffering in different ways, and from this chaos emerge victims. Victims of the greed of humanity, unwanted people ignored by society through no fault of their own. These are people ignored for not being rich enough, for not having enough influence. Men, women, and children, made to face devastating hardships so severe that their very survival is brought into question. Living life is a rich man’s game in Pakistan. Survival is the battleground of the majority. I was born in the battleground, but with the wings of fortune at my back. My name is Minahil Ali.
Since I was part of a relatively stable family, I was able to learn. My parents have made sure that I get an education, leaving me in a privileged position in my country. In my efforts to make something of myself, I am currently studying for my A-Levels in an esteemed institute in Pakistan. Even as a part of the decadent class of Pakistani society, I learned quickly of the cruelty of the world.
And I realized that in that cruelty, I have to be the change that brings about a better fate for the world.
My journey to try to preserve humanity in the world began with my witnessing of a small event. It was a cold winter night. The sky was lit by city lights. It was crowded on the streets, and people were being people; bustling through shops and paying no attention to anyone around them. Everyone was an insignificant fragment doing their best to fit into the void. No one saw anyone else, except for me. For amidst all the instability of our selfish society, there was a single man in need of humanity.
He needed for things that are in short supply nowadays: kindness and empathy.
I saw him lying alone under a lamp post, curled up in the fetal position. He had no shelter: a man without a roof over his head. He wore a half-torn shirt and pants that hung around his frail frame. He was shivering in the cold. It was around 5 degrees Celsius. He was young and, in the peak of his youth, was suffering. Where others had warm beds and shelters, he was suffering and, in that moment, I did what everyone else did. I ignored him, thinking that someone else would help him, that someone would be there for him. But I knew no one really was. I went back home and slept easy.
The next day, while watching the news, I was struck cold. I saw his face in a news bulletin. There it was. The news said that he had died due to the extreme cold, and they blamed it on the lack of effort from the government. However, I knew it was my fault. I could’ve done something. Gotten him some blankets or some clothes or some food but I had been hesitant, purposefully ignorant.
At that moment it hit me: there are millions suffering just like him, and everybody is silent.
This was my calling. I realized that I must do something for these people, something that would have genuine impact. I can’t save everyone but I would find solace from saving even a single soul. I found myself looking for ways to help, and ended up at Dewar-e-Ehsas. They were my people. They had the same goal as me: to bring kindness and empathy back to this broken world.
At Dewar-e-Ehsas, I am the vice head of the Treasury Department. My role mainly focuses on the fiscal abilities of the organization, keeping track of funds and donations and balancing them according to the needs of the organization. I also go out into the field, to take part in several of the ration drives. It has been a truly humbling experience.
In one of such drives, I was the only female at the location. We were there to provide some basic necessities and rations to the people of the area, a particularly impoverished place. The women there were all distrustful of our male volunteers. They wouldn’t open their doors unless it was a female at the door. They would ask for the men to leave and retreat whenever they approached. It became a tense situation, and I had to step up for them. There was some commotion and a large crowd gathered around us, but in the end through our team’s efforts, we were able to help those people and provide them with what they needed.
Dewar-e-Ehsas has become my home. They’ve enabled me to become a functional member of society, to work towards the change I’ve always wanted to see in our country. The world is starving, and is in a shambolic state besides.
As a society we must come together and unite to serve humanity.
If people can become kind and empathetic the world can become what it should be. Our society requires change. I may not be powerful enough to bring it myself, but thanks to organizations like Dewar-e-Ehsas, there is still hope. Hope that our efforts may be able to save humanity from itself.
From Afsana: Like Minahil, we must all play our parts if we want to change society for the less fortunate. No matter how dire the situation may seem, there’s hope if we face it together. Afsana operates upon the same principle. Learning of the struggles women face, in their education and in their lives, can be enough to inspire action. So if you have a story to share, contact Afsana and become a part of our movement for collective empathy.
Written by Salman Tariq
Edited by Adil Rahim Hyder