11/24/2020, 13.48
PAKISTAN
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Karachi’s young people share a cup of tea and faith with addicts and homeless

by Shafique Khokhar

The initiative sparked by Pope Francis’ Day of the Poor: "The poor are at the heart of the Gospel". Many are drug addicts and homeless because they are poor or because they have tensions at home. "As you share time and faith with them, you encourage them to start a new life with more hope."

Karachi (AsiaNews) - For two or three days a week, some young people spend time with drug addicts and transgender people who live on the street corners of Karachi. Their desire is to spend a few hours with them offering tea and food, conversing with them, and sharing their faith in the Gospel.

The very simple gesture is inspired by Pope Francis '"Laudato si'" where it isoften stressed that "the poor are at the heart of the Gospel; we cannot understand the Gospel without the poor”.

The spontaneous and informal group is composed of nine young people. They include Daniel Bashir, 28, who was an auditor at the 2018 Synod of Youth; Waqar Naeem, 27; Jaish Yousaf, 19. They began this mission on the Pope's World Day of the Poor on November 15, and since then they have continued to visit groups of drug addicts offering them breakfast and tea three times a week.

The first time they visited Korangi Road, where 50-60 drug addicts gather. There are millions of them across the country, although there are no official statistics.

Daniel Bashir is the leader of the group. He told AsiaNews: “These people are poor and forgotten by everyone. Their situation during the pandemic has worsened. So I understood that life in this world is short and we don't know if we will live again tomorrow. Keeping in mind what the Gospel says, 'to love your neighbour as yourself', we thought about sharing a cup of tea and some snacks using money from our own pockets ”.

Waqar Naeem says their purpose is "to help these people every week and maybe give them some warm clothing, as winter is coming." Usually, he points out, these people become addicted or homeless because of poverty or because they have tensions at home.

“Sitting with them to converse - explains Waqar - I experience all their pain, but at the same time I feel invaded by the peace of Jesus Christ. This is why we have decided to continue this mission of help and offering the Gospel. It is a blessed experience: while you share time and faith with them, you encourage them to start a new life with more hope".

Daniel admits that this drug addiction initiative is "very small: we just visit them once or twice, or three times a week and have tea with them." But it is important because these people are "the most rejected and most vulnerable in our society". For this the members of the group invite other young people to participate.

“Seeing drug addicts in these conditions - says Daniel – saddens and pains me. They try to take drugs several times a day and don't even bother about eating. It hurts me to think that several of them are married people, with children and have lived like this for years”.

Daniel is convinced that it is Christ himself who sent him and his friends on this mission. “Our next step is to provide them with blankets, as the cold has arrived in Karachi. But the ultimate l aim is to help them change their lives, with a new hope”.

Two days ago, Rajo Masih, one of the drug addicts, told them that he wishes to see his family again and start a new life with his wife and children, whom he has not seen for at least a year. "I thank God for all the love He has given me through these young people".

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