Pakistan is one of the most charitable nations in the world, donating more than one percent of its GDP annually, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review. This is at par with the ranks of some of the world’s leading economies such as the United Kingdom (1.3%). The spirit of giving and sharing further increases during the month of Ramzan, and recently, a large part of the charity and humanitarian work that Pakistan undertakes has been done so via social media channels.
Take, for instance, last Ramzan when I found out, through a friend’s post on a Facebook group, that a family had been uprooted from a tribal area and moved to Islamabad; the breadwinner was bed-ridden after contracting a life-threatening disease, causing the family of nine to fall into abject destitution. The children resorted to picking up trash and selling it in an attempt to make ends meet. The friend proposed we help the family by at least providing a month’s food rations, so they could spend Ramzan in peace. The plan was swiftly coordinated over Facebook and WhatsApp and funds were transferred digitally in no time.
Similarly, there are millions of Facebook pages and groups engaged in philanthropic activities in not only Pakistan but in the rest of the world. Those operated across Muslim nations particularly witness heightened activity during Ramzan. From the collection of food rations and donations to organising iftar and sehri for the underprivileged, these spaces help people live the true spirit of Ramzan.
This Ramzan is no different as a myriad of social organisations and volunteer groups are collecting food rations through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp so that the less privileged such as those people living in slums, daily wage workers, people with disabilities and families without breadwinners.
Social organisations and volunteer groups involved in philanthropic activities maintain an active presence on social media platforms. They keep their donors in the loop throughout the process, starting from making the donation until it transforms into a relief package being handed over to the needy. This not only ensures a degree of transparency but also inspires and mobilises greater participation and support for the cause. From roadside iftaris for daily wage workers to organised large scale distributions of food rations, social media platforms continue to facilitate the goodness of the month of Ramzan.
Digital platforms further facilitate active collaboration between public, social, and private sector organisations to create shared value for society. For instance, Ufone, with millions of followers on its social media channels is leveraging its massive social reach to mobilise support for leading charitable and humanitarian organisations in the country. Their ‘Bano Achai Ki Misal’ campaign has, over the years, garnered significant material support for welfare organisations nationwide.
Hundreds of other organisations are supporting similar causes through their social media pages and groups, thereby creating an unending cycle of social good. Hospitals treating patients free of cost, institutions helping transplantation of vital organs, others supplying lifesaving drugs or sheltering rootless women and children and a myriad of other welfare organisations in Pakistan and around the world can be contacted and made donations via Facebook and Instagram.
Sher Zaman Khan is a Communications Specialist.