LettuceBee Kids: A promise fulfilled

Published: January 5, 2013
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It was nice to meet a few who had actually fulfilled, the promise of social change. PHOTO:http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=430165160378108&set=a.187989444595682.46983.171010676293559&type=3&theater

While completing college applications, several of us mention that we are geared to ‘do something for society’. However, once we have the degree, not many of us remain true to our promise.

A few weeks ago, during an alumni gathering in Islamabad, I was introduced to a support group that runs an orphanage called, ‘LettuceBee Kids’. The project was started by a bunch of Fulbright alumni and aims to provide a safe haven and a place for emotional and intellectual growth for street children.

Zainab Kapadia, one of the core members of the LettuceBee team, was one of the speakers at our alumni event and she explained how the idea originated and developed.

LettuceBee Kids has been trying to provide a safe, learning environment to children on the streets, or the ‘trash pickers’ as they are called.

The project is being run by an impressive team of social entrepreneurs, including Sarah Adeel, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and Mohsin Afzal from UC Berkeley.

Kapadia explained that they had been trying to “help underprivileged children achieve self-actualisation by getting them involved in art, paintings and all sorts of other creative ventures.”

The project is quite grand in its conception. I’ve always known someone either aspiring to become a Fulbright scholar or continuing with their lives after having completed the fellowship.

It was nice to meet a few who had actually fulfilled, or at least attempted to fulfil the promise of social change made by hundreds in their interviews and personal statements.

Recently, the paintings made by the impoverished artists were copied onto greeting cards called ‘BeeGreets’ and were sold all over the world. The project has also launched a ‘LettuceBee Band’ that provides music lessons to these children. The team of LettuceBee Kids will hold an exhibition to showcase the works of these impoverished artists. They also have another project called ‘Adopt a grandparent’ in the pipeline, through which they would try to find loving families for elderly people on the streets.

Although the project is still new and in its early stages, it is perhaps the best contribution made by any Fulbright alumni to society – in the hands of a few who are truly geared to ensuring that education brings about some good to children around them.

mashal.usman

Mashal Usman

A sub-editor for the Karachi pages at The Express Tribune mashal.usman (AT) tribune.com.pk

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