City Portraits – Kids at a Sheedi Village

We Are Failing Our Children. Karachi probably ranks highest in social mobility in our country but just take few steps out of your comfort zone and you would discover that there is little investment in infrastructure in outskirts of Karachi. Whatever the official statistics may be, but human development does not seem to be one of our priorities. Health and Education, two primary necessities for underprivileged to have any shot on social mobility are luxuries in a lot of village in Karachi’s districts.

Sheedis – descendants of African slaves – which were brought to subcontinent centuries ago have a sizable presence in Karachi most notably in Lyari, Malir and Saeedabad. While there is a lack of conclusive research but Sheedis have been connected with Karachi for centuries, perhaps arriving in lower Sindh with Muhammad Bin Qasim for the first time.

While they have contributed as artisans in development of the city and beyond, they remain a marginalized community and it is not hard to understand why.

The Karachi Walla made a stop at a Sheedi Village en route Manghopir. The village was connected to Hub chowki road via a link road, which perhaps was only sign of development. As we walked inside the village – a primitive hamlet with huts made out of straw and mud – we were greeted by children. Lots of them. They had no school to go to and they spent their time playing in the dusty fields around the village and helping family with domestic chores. There is no water in the village and they have to bring it from a nearby hand pump. The wind blew dust and there was hardly any flora but acacia due to lack of water.

While the elders were bitter about the challenges of everyday life, the children still dared to smile.

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Categories: City Portraits

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