A month or so ago Coca Cola Pakistan took our social media community on a “happiness cruise”. I have to admit at that point I was pretty skeptical as to what all could be really achieved from this exercise. Reason being that quite a few social media initiatives have been started and left to drift aimlessly on the tides of “what could have been” recently. Sure coke had a good team and a CSR program with oodles of money to back it up, but so what?
I was even skeptical when I met Shahbaz ali khan, someone who has recently joined APR ( Coke’s pr agency) as he told me all about what he hoped the focus was going to be. Even then I thought yeah these are well meaning people but usually such ideals fizzle out as soon as cutthroat practicality is seen on the horizon. I am however very glad to report that my cynicism and suspicions all turned out to completely wrong.
Last week coke and apr invited us to an event at the south end club. Where they displayed a project, which is to say the least inspiring. What coke has done is partner with Sharmeen obaid chinoy and SOC films to bring to light six stories of ordinary Pakistanis doing extra ordinary things. This six part documentary series is about to start showing on all our telly screens in less than a week. The first episode of which, the documentary on the “Kiran school” in the under privileged area of Lyari run by Sabina khatri was what we viewed.
Yes it is a fact that there are many academic institutions being run on a welfare basis throughout our country. My own family has been involved with and is contributor to the TCF series of schools as well. However what Sabina has done is unique in that she not only teaches these kids but also provides their parents with the impetus needed to continue their wards education. It is through this school that the kids she has taken in are getting admissions to schools which only you or I the privileged of this society have access to. She also helps the women of this community breathe through the helpful and ever present ear of a friend available to deal with common everyday problems.
It doesn’t stop at this school, Sabina has not only gotten these kids into schools in the upscale front of our society, but is there to attend all the parent teacher meetings – reporting back to the parents on what their ward needs currently. She is a teacher, a mentor, a guide and a fairy god mother all rolled into one. Yet she is so humble that when she took the stage on sharmeens introduction at this event her only response to the thundering applause was tears of joy. Tears which as they streamed down her face were joined by many in the audience as well as they stood up and clapped for the empathy that still exists in this country. For the feeling that yes if we put our heads together we can still achieve miracles.
This is actually what we as a nation need, a platform to bring us all together on the basis of pure humanity. Inspiration from such efforts when highlighted through these documentaries will lead to many other projects of the same nature. In fact right after this viewing I was privileged to witness another project called the “ Orange tree school” which Sabina has helped guide into operation. This project is being run by students mostly from Szabist who feel that watching from the side lines is not enough anymore, who believe that people like Sabina are hero’s worth following.
So be prepared in a weeks time to witness what your nation can do, despite all its faults and differences and problems and barriers. Be prepared to be amazed at the resilience and the strength of a person who set out to make a difference in one of the most dangerous areas of this city and won the hearts and minds of the community she works with.
Be prepared to believe again…ho yakeen indeed kyun na ho!!
P.S – I wish to personally congratulate through this post the entire team of Coke & SOC films and to wish them all success as they go about providing the spotlight needed to our every day hero’s.