This is part of a limited, annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things in order to give back to Pakistan.
Everyone loves animals. Whether you’re a dog person or cat person, it cannot be refuted that animals are adorable and seem to make your troubles float away momentarily.
Ayesha, from a Karachi-based animal shelter called the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation, has stated that animals are “born carriers of empathy.”
Which explains Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation and AAS Trust‘s collaboration: Project Empathy. This project invites children aged between 8 and 15 to spend time with the animals in ACF.
The project bridges the gap between pain and suffering of two kinds to celebrate love and support.
The idea behind the project is to take animals that have suffered immense pain and have emerged happier and healthier after the trauma they have been through. These animals are then handed over to the kids who turned to drugs for various reasons. The children have to take responsibility for the animal by caring for them as their own.
Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation collaborated with Umar Riaz for the photo shoot. All the children got to pose with their favorite animal.
Though they preferred to remain unnamed, the children opened up about battling their demons. Some talked about running away from home and using intoxicants…
…while others talked about getting into substance abuse due to their peers.
Some also mentioned traveling alone to Karachi from Punjab, only to find happiness at the AAS shelter.
Others shared about the reforms they made to help them climb out of the pit of addiction.
However, despite their differences, they all had one thing in common: a rekindled sense of hope.
And despite the steep uphill battle, the children all seemed to be getting by with the support they received.
Bridging the gap between animals and humans by connecting them through the power of empathy seems like a wonderful initiative. We hope the animals continue healing those in pain, all while receiving a ton of love in return.
What do you think about this initiative? Let us know in the comments below.
For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out “14 Days, 14 Stories“.
Cover image source: Umar Saif