Humans Of New York Is Affecting Real Change In Pakistan

by
Indrani Sengupta
Sometimes, social media can make a real, solid difference. And Humans of New York is perhaps one of the best examples of the Internet’s best qualities.

Take this most recent case for example.

On August 13th, HONY’s Brandon Stanton posted a photo of a distressed mother from Lahore, which he’d taken during a summer tour of Pakistan.

“I left an abusive relationship and I have nowhere to go. I have Hepatitis C, so no one is willing to take me in. I...

Posted by Humans of New York on  Thursday, August 13, 2015

The caption beneath the photo tells a devastating story. The woman had gathered up the courage—no easy task—to leave an abusive relationship. Now she and her young child had nowhere to go, and no one to help her, given her Hepatitis C diagnosis.

Facing homelessness, the desperate woman went as far as to consider giving up her daughter for adoption, hoping she’d have a better home, but couldn’t bring herself to part with her child.

“I’m trying to help her figure out her future. I was working at the Sunday market, and she asked me for help setting up...

Posted by Humans of New York on  Thursday, August 13, 2015

The story touched the hearts of hundreds of readers, not just abroad but in Lahore itself. And following the example of generosity the man had set, they, too, offered whatever they could to help the mother and daughter.

From offers of medical help

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To those of financial aid

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To just plain love and well wishes.

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The very next day, HONY posted an update stating that the woman had been located, and a donation system set up for her, to help pay for her accommodations and medical services. The pipeline is still open for those hoping to pitch in. Just email honypakassist@gmail.com for more.

I want to conclude the Pakistan series by spotlighting a very special change agent who is working to eradicate one of...

Posted by Humans of New York on  Saturday, August 15, 2015

But the impetus for change didn’t end there. The day after that, HONY posted a photo of Syeda Ghulam Fatima, a social worker who has been working toward ending bonded labor in Pakistan’s brick kilns, a life into which she herself had been born.

“I started working at the age of 12. The work never ended. We’re expected to make 1,000 bricks per day. We work from 5 AM to dusk.”

In response to her attempt to promote solidarity among her fellow workers, and fight for fair wages, Fatima has been stripped, beaten, and tied to a tree. Her house was broken into, and her daughters forced to walk the streets naked in a most vile and disturbing gesture of retaliation.

 

“I was born into the brick kilns. I started working at the age of 12. The work never ended. We’re expected to make...

Posted by Humans of New York on  Monday, August 17, 2015

Since the photo was posted, almost $800,000 have been raised for Fatima’s organization, the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. Over 26,000 people have contributed, and the fundraising is still going. So if you wish to contribute, you can! Check out the indiegogo page here.

That’s just two stories of change—one personal, one public—that HONY and its followers have helped make possible, in just the last month and one country alone. We bet there’s far, far more to come. Because if there’s just one good thing that’s come of this age of unprecedented access, it’s that it’s challenged our humanity, and compelled us to do better by our fellow men and women. 

Read more: Top Humans Of New York Posts That Renewed Our Faith In Second Chances

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