‘Fixit’ movement is expanding its scope and activities
I am happy that the #Fixit campaign has gained popularity in the country, mainly through social media, and has now taken the form of a movement. We are now expanding it to other cities of Pakistan [beyond Karachi]. We are institutionalising it by converting it to an organisation.
The bureaucrats have long considered themselves the rulers of the country rather than public servants and humiliated common citizens but now we are empowering people by making them better aware of their rights.
I and Syed Mohammad Taha, a fellow Karachi youth, had launched #Fixit in January 2016 to highlight the problems faced by common people and to empower them. In February 2016 we launched our first campaign, against missing manhole covers. The idea was borrowed from a Russian organization that was placing caricatures of key government officials on the open or faulty manholes. The civic administration would then remove those caricatures and fix the problems.
We started placing the pictures of the CM, the mayor and senior government officials. However, instead of fixing the highlighted problems, they registered criminal cases against us and arrested us. We are happy nonetheless that the issues were highlighted in the media.
I and Syed Mohammad Taha, a fellow Karachi youth, had launched #Fixit in January 2016 to highlight the problems faced by common people and to empower them. In February 2016 we launched our first campaign, against missing manhole covers.
Since then we have expanded our campaign from putting covers on the open manholes to removing garbage from various areas in Karachi. We know we cannot remove all 12,000 tonnes garbage generated in Karachi every day. What we did was put garbage in front of CM House to highlight the issue. For this we were arrested. Our satisfaction comes from the fact that the issue has been highlighted and more people are now raising it. We have acquired three tractors (purchased one from cash donations, two were donated by others) and are removing garbage from several low-income localities. Our public campaigns are making government officials accountable. Social media is the main platform through which we engage youth. Thousands of volunteers have now joined us in #Fixit.
We now have an office in Gulishan-i-Iqbal; we are repairing roads and we have started a #Fixit School where about 70 children from the nearby katchi abdis (squatter settlements) are getting education. We have an orphanage, called the #Fixit Family Home, in Memon Goth where destitute children are sheltered, provided food and education. It was started using donations collected at Teen Talwar in Clifton following a report in a newspaper about three destitute children sleeping on a garbage dump.
We adopt parks, plant saplings and paint dirty walls. Our chapters are working in Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Islamabad. We are only a few volunteers who have come together and do not wish to be compared with organizations like Edhi or Sailani. It’s been only four year since we started but we believe in consistency of services and look forward to great things.
The writer is an activist and politician who has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since October 2018