Suppose you are stuck in traffic jam; you look around to find something funny to pass your time. All you can find is strange advertisements on walls. Advertisements for handwriting classes or herbal treatment to lighten your skin tone. It is hard to find people who would take any of those seriously or pay any attention to them.
Amongst the absurd ads crowding the walls, a nifty space with clothes hanging on, draws one's attention. When you look closely you will see a message to you, to us all—"Donate the things you won't need, take the things you are in need of." Above that, in bold letter it reads "The wall of Humanity."
The concept of the wall is to help people without grandiosity. You donate here what is spare to you. It can be your cloth, your shoes, bags, even a cell phone. Insolvent ones can take your donation from here without having to publicly sacrifice their self-respect.
Most of the humanity walls do not have any founders' name on them. It is just there standing high and helping people. This has been highly appreciated by public. The walls are increasing in number now.
Is this being a help to people in reality? Who are those people who are building the walls without any expectations in return? In present times when the idea of give-and-take flourishes, aren't these people lighting hope for us?
People behind the curtains
Shipon is one of them who had set up a humanity wall in Shukrabad area six months ago during winter. This 25 year-old guy had to drop out of school due to poverty during his teenage. For the last five years he has been running a stationary shop. The business is good and he is now solvent. But he never forgot the hard times.
From personal experience he wanted to do something for people who find it really hard to ask for any help. One day while browsing YouTube he learned about humanity wall. He found it thought-provoking as the entire process is anonymous.
He shared this with some his close friends. The idea was well appreciated. Shukrabad Humanity Wall is an outcome of the combined effort of these young people.
Though all of them contributed to the wall, Shipon mostly takes care of it as it is in front of his shop. He is planning to make a wall in his home district Chadpur too. He said, "I don't want my name in there. I'm just glad that I can help people."
Another selfless soul like this is Sheikh Manee Marjan who does not share similar class status with Shipon. Rather she comes from a well off family. She stablished two humanity walls in Mohammodpur and in Shahbag.
The depressing and saddening news all around, Manee finds peace by helping people from behind the curtain.
The sight of a baby girl donating her new Eid dress to the wall of humanity diverts her mind from news of kidnaps, murders, corruption. It removes the fatigue and lets her believe we still have hope left.
Sheikh Manee has completed her graduation from a private university. Now she is running her own boutique shop. She spends a significant amount of time supervising the wall of humanity.
"Do you know no one takes selfie while donating in here? You don't need to know who built the wall to contribute. No one stares at your face when you take something from here", she said sparkling eyes.
Her observation reveals that lower and lower middle class people come here only after when the sun goes down. They take the dire necessities from the wall, without humiliation.
Is this a new concept?
Iran is the birth place of this concept of helping people anonymously. It is known by a different name there, it is "Wall of Kindness" in Iran.
Once winter hit hard the city of Masshad. Innumerable poor and homeless people were suffering from cold. They could not always ask for clothes. Then one morning people discovered a graffiti saying "Wall of Kindness" with warm clothes hung in there.
No one knows the person who came up with the idea. But the idea prevailed.
After Iran some other countries including India and Pakistan built their own wall of kindness and wall of humanity. Kind hearted people all over the world welcome this initiative.
The Rise of Walls in Bangladesh
Humanity wall came in our country last year with a school teacher living in Magura. She learnt about it in a training. She thought it could be a really good way to teach her kids to help others. Then she introduced a Wall of Humanity in her school. Her initiative got recognition in social media.
It bloomed during last winter. The humanity walls seemed more convenient and reliable to many people than the local clubs collecting donations.
Walls that were built specially for winter sustained through summer days and festival like Eid. Institutes, organisations, clubs are now setting up humanity walls to help people.
For example, the humanity wall of Uttara House Building, Dhaka, was an initiative of Uttara University authority. They dedicated their wall to the cause of humanity.
University students are constantly donating there. Along with the students and faculty members, locals are also contributing to the wall.
Not just bigger institutes and clubs, small organisations like Pothoshishu Kollan Foundation has built a wall of humanity in Mirpur. This is a little different than others. It is built beside a slum.
Pothoshishu Kollan Foundation works with street children and run a school for them. Their goal to introduce the wall in such place was to do something for street children. They don't want these kids to beg. They built this wall so that people voluntarily come forward and kids see the kindness in the world.
The response is amazing. Other than solvent ones, slum people also donate here for homeless and those who are in worse situation.
What to Donate to the Humanity Wall?
There is no question about the nobility of this initiative. But there is remarks for the donators. According to Manee and Shipon, sometimes there are clothes or goods donated in the wall that is not at all usable.
When the aim is to help others, donating things that can't be used won't serve the purpose. It is their request to everyone to donate goods that will genuinely help people.