Ann Marie McQueen | October 26, 2013
Of course a documentary about Pakistani street children and the shelter who gives them safe haven from the streets of Karachi was never going to be uplifting. But this film is a true heartbreaker.
Shot over three years, it focuses on one part of the Edhi Foundation, which serves as a powerful force in supplying social services to the country. There are emaciated babies and little boys who pray to Allah and cry themselves to sleep at night, having run from terrible circumstances only to find themselves lonely and afraid among others in the same boat.
In one heartbreaking moment, a little boy named Omar consoles a new arrival: “Your parents just conceived you. God is the one who created you.”
The film was made by two Americans of Pakistani descent, Bassem Tariq and Omar Mullick. After a screening Friday afternoon at Marina Mall, Tariq explained that speaking Urdu helped in unfettered access they had to the boys; also many had never seen a film, so they were unbothered by the cameras. After lengthy bureaucratic delays of several months, in the film boys are seen returned to situations where they will obviously be abused and live in squalor. As Tariq explained, it’s a complicated issue.
“Runaway kids, there is a choice,” he said. “They have a family, but they choose to leave.”