Mumbai

Wall of Humanity touches lives of the deprived

Volunteers at Wall of Humanity offer clothes to children. – PHOTO: VIJAY BATE.
Ishaan Wasu 25 November 2016 00:46 IST
Updated: 25 November 2016 08:46 IST

Mumbai: First organised in Iran, the Wall of Humanity, a unique initiative that brings together the more privileged in the society to donate clothes to the poor and the needy, was launched in the city on Thursday.

Organised by social activist Pundalik Lokare, the Wall of Humanity is a four-day affair which will be extended till Sunday at the main gate of Peninsula Business Park at Lower Parel. The initiative is a charity initiative where people can donate their old clothes, T shirts, woollen warmers to the underprivileged ahead of the winter. The initiative received a good response, with banking professionals, businessmen stepping forward to help the pavement dwellers in the area.

Mr. Lokare, a Kolhapur-based social activist, told The Hindu, “I saw the concept of the Wall of Humanity doing rounds on WhatsApp and Facebook where I traced its history to Iran and Pakistan. I thought this was a unique concept, and decided to organise it here in India.”

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“I gather that this was first started in Iran in 2015. Iran experiences harsh winter months. The homeless in Tehran especially face severe hardships, but they are ashamed to beg for clothes. Someone then simply left warm clothes on a wall for them, and that’s how the Wall of Humanity concept was born,” said Mr. Lokare.

“In Mashhad, Iran’s second-most populous city, people began to hang their old clothes on the walls and it soon became a trend known as ‘Deewar-e-Meherbani’. A similar concept surfaced in Pakistan, which came to known as ‘Deewar-e-Insaniyat’ and which also included donations of food, clothes and books to the needy,” said Mr. Lokare, 40, who first organised the Wall of Humanity in Kolhapur on a smaller scale.

45-year-old garment wholesaler Santosh Mahindrakar said, “Mr. Lokare is my close friend and I got a WhatsApp message from him about the Wall of Humanity. I think this is an excellent initiative. Being a garment wholesaler, I had fresh stock of clothes, and I decided to donate them to this initiative.”

Kamala Talwar (54), a volunteer at the initiative, said, “Mr. Lokare also lives in Worli, and is my neighbour. When he told me about the intiative, I thought this was a really noble idea. This way those of us who have enough for themselves can reach out to those who don’t. Even those hit by the demonetisation where several poor people have to stand in long queues for hours can benefit from this.”

Along with Mr. Lokare, Mumbai Fire Brigade fireman Mahesh Chavan, 44, has helped organise the four-day initiative. “The government is unable to fulfil the basic needs of people like roti, kapda and makaan. In a city like Mumbai, there is a class who has all amenities, and there is a large section of people who don’t even have decent clothes to wear. So, we thought we could be the wall that bridges this inequality.”

40-year-old banker Sachin Shinde, a resident of Lalbaug who works with Yes Bank, donated warm clothes for children. “I received a WhatsApp message from a friend about this initiative. People migrate to this city from outside in search of a better future, and they make streets their home. I know several kids who make a living on the streets. This is a wonderful initiative, and I would like to salute the organisers for doing this,”

38-year-old Mohan Jaiswal, who works with a fabrication unit and lives in in Kamala Mills Compound, was happy to grab some clothes for his wife and kids. “Whatever the organisers are doing is incredible. Who does so much these days for the poor.” Pujara Sampath, a 32-year-old labourer hailing from Hyderabad, also picked up donated clothes. “It is a great initiative for the needy and poor who cannot afford to buy new clothes,” he said.

Janardhan Yadav (63), a farmer based in Karad in western Maharashtra, was overwhelmed with emotion. “Some helpful souls do not have enough, but they have big hearts to help others. I am taking some clothes for my son who lives in the village.”

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