Bryan, the Karachi philanthropist who creates harmony between religions by serving the poor
by Shafique Khokhar

A Catholic from Karachi has been bringing friends of all faiths to the Salvation Army Church for months to distribute food to day labourers brought to their knees by pandemic. One of the people helped: "This place is different from other centres, because everyone is served with respect and a smile".




Karachi (AsiaNews) - Bryan Everest Benedict is a Catholic philanthropist from Karachi who is working to create harmony among communities through service to the poor, without discrimination of creed, race or colour. Five months ago he started a service to bring food to the poor.

Bryan had already served the poor through the JDC - a Muslim organisation - at the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency and continued to do so during the holy month of Ramadan, opening up meeting spaces in hearts and promoting diversity in society.

Now he has organised a team of volunteers and donors in which there are Protestants and Catholics, but also Muslim, Sikh and Hindu friends. They distribute food at the Salvation Army church in the densely populated Saddar area of Karachi. The meals are distributed according to protocols that keep men and women separate: every week between 300 and 400 people are fed without discrimination.

Bryan says he is sad to see that more and more people gather for these distributions and there is not enough food, but he is also grateful to all those who donate and open their hearts to those struggling to survive.

Most of the people fed are migrants to Karachi who come in serach of day labour and earn enough for families left behind in remote villages. Mr Muhammad Arif, who sleeps in the street because he has no home, waits every Friday and Saturday for the gates to open. "This place is different from other food distribution centres," he says, "because everyone is served with respect and a smile.

Bryan always asks his friends to bring food, water and crockery directly instead of money. He ensures that everything he receives is used responsibly as a gift from God. Zaiba Bhukhtiar, a well-known Pakistani Muslim actress, is also part of the group. Zaiba said she feels proud and happy to serve the poor by offering them food in person. "We are just mediators of God's blessings on these people," she commented.