The stark contrast between polar opposite segments of Karachi – Pakistan’s largest city – could not be more evident than around the Qayyumabad bridge. The vacant space under the bridge is usually occupied by homeless families and drug addicts, whilst only a few kilometers away from the bridge is situated a huge college campus where student enrollment is up to ten thousand.
Borrowing its core objective from the irony of the situation, Charter for Compassion Pakistan’s new initiative aims at bringing the two sections of the society under one bridge. The project title, Bridges, is more than a reference to the physical space being used to create a compassionate community center and points to the act of connecting or bridging existing social dichotomies. The community center is to act as a safe space for out-of-school children who are otherwise vulnerable to falling prey to illegal activities or simply growing up on the streets. The approach to get these kids off the street and into a school setting follows a simple rule – learning by engaging their imagination through fun academic and sporting activities.