For Some…LIFE STILL GOES ON

November 20, 2020

               Let see … Women on Wheels

                                                            SaafBath

                                                                           What next ????

While the world is mired in Covid, Conflicts, Disease, Poverty, Economic Crunch … for some people, life goes on in helping other HUMAN BEINGS – regardless of class or status.

Last March I learnt of Salman Sufi (https://www.vitalvoices.org/people/salman-sufi/) & the Salman Sufi Foundation’s (https://salmansufifoundation.org/) initiative of “Women on Wheels” – empowering women to become mobile on bikes.  What a fabulous venture.  While most of us “talk” about women empowerment, people like Salman Sufi actually “implement” it … he’s making Pakistani women MOBILE.

As the World Bank’s Pakistan Country Director, Ilango Patchamuthu, puts it “60% of women in #Pakistan cite transportation cost as a major issue which hinders their #mobility. To bring real change, we have to step out of policymaking & address the basics.”  Well, Salman Sufi Foundation is doing just that … addressing the basics!

Then you come to another public facilitation project … the SaafBath project (SaafBath@salmansufifoundation.org), ‘a public toilets initiative’.  Dawn & Pakistan Today’s articles spell it out – https://www.dawn.com/news/1591201 & https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/11/19/saaf-bath-aims-to-boost-privy-parity-in-karachi/.

Cyril Almeida comments “According to the international charity WaterAid, about 40 percent of Pakistan’s population of roughly 210 million lacks decent toilets.

I first came across this concept of a “public toilet” in Mumbai – that too, smack adjacent to Mumbai’s iconic “Gateway of India”.  What struck me was the concept of a public toilet – and I thought it was fantastic.  We even went in – it was relatively clean (quite smelly) but the fact that such a facility was available to the passerbys near Colaba was awesome.

This public toilets project is long overdue … and should not have been initiated by a private citizen or NGO – but like the rest of the [lack of] public & services infrastructure in Pakistan, it’s the private citizen who comes forward to implement what should be government-led projects.

I don’t see any government in Pakistan ever looking after the social needs of the people on a micro level – it will always be private NGOs and citizens who not only take the initiative but implement public health, education, philanthropic & other social services projects – whether the Edhis, the Salman Sufis, Agha Khans, TCFs, UNICEFs, ABSAs or the I Am Karachis of Pakistan (to name just a few of the myriad of NGOs doing so much good in Pakistan). 

A humble thanks to Salman Sufi for helping to ease life for the citizens of Karachi!

 

REALITY CHECK

October 21, 2020

               I just returned from a very short trip to Dubai. 

Besides being subjected to three PCR Nasal swabs (including 1 throat) in four days (our nostrils now stand permanently ‘flared’ 😊), I thought I would dabble in some self-made poetry …

               We visit Dubai –

                                             Built on sand

                                                            Sand as far as the eye can see

                                                                           … and not a spec of sand on the roads!

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/YqWJSqHkHEJf9f2CA)

               We live in Karachi –

A concrete jungle

                                                   … with sand (dirt, debris, you name it …) everywhere!


(Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/pV22ozm7qdkKJhsu6)

(Sad but true … sigh!)

(End note:

It is criticism … it is feedback … censure me if you must … but this is the reality we live in! As citizens, we need to own our City … which we don’t, sadly!  https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/30/ohthe-clean-clean-not-streets-of-karachi/)

Oh…The Clean Clean (not) Streets of Karachi

Birth_Centenary_1986_of_Jamshed_Nusserwanjee_Mehta-Pakistan

August 30, 2019

I’m visiting “The Big Apple” … and it’s clean!

Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta was the 1st Mayor of Karachi in 1933.  “…Karachi became the cleanest city in the East. Its broad streets, lights, sanitation and water system, … [ ] … spoke of the city’s progress” (https://www.dawn.com/news/649943/in-memoriam-jamshed-nusserwanji-the-builder-of-modern-karachi).  My grandfather told us how the Mayor ensured the streets were washed twice a day, which he personally supervised periodically.

Look at where we are now … ☹☹☹.  We can have all the latest, mechanized tools but there’s no “system” or “will”, so we might as well [continue] to live in the dark ages.

There is no reason Karachi cannot reclaim this glory.  I AM KARACHI (http://iamkarachi.org/), the social NGO, has proven that keeping city walls clean & painted with street art, ensures no vandalism or defacement of property.  In the same vein, once the city is cleaned & maintained by the Municipality, there is absolutely no reason why we will not maintain the same.  I am not justifying wrong actions but it’s only when our citizens see a clean city will we continue the practice … and there’s no rocket science involved.

Throw out all mechanical tools and go back to Jamshed Mehta’s simplicity – put idle bodies on the roads, give them a broom and bucket each and get them to deep clean the roads, the garbage bins, the nooks & crannies every night from midnight to 6am.  Put a garbage bin on EVERY alternate light pole; on every street corner; at every traffic signal – enabling people a means to throw their daily trash!  Through the day have roving street cleaners who will simply pick up large debris like cans, plastics, etc.  You will create EMPLOYMENT. 

You will give an honest day’s wage to the unemployed and a meaning to their lives.  Infant mortality will increase.  You will eradicate mosquitos, disease and other scourge of pollution.  These are not simply PR words – this can happen!

In return, we will get a clean city and healthy citizens. 

The Real Father of Karachi- https://www.dawn.com/news/1113332