Amid the thriving, contemporary urban capital of Pakistan, exists a dense 41,000 sq. mile squatter settlement, housing over 10,000 Christian minority residents. To me, what appeared to be a dividing wall concealing few old houses, turned out to be a deeply embedded and neglected community, independently fighting their own battles for equitable healthcare, education, flood mitigation, and basic human rights.
The evident disparity motivated me to conduct research with Professor Yun Kyu Yi to analyze the region’s energy performance metrics and evaluate the overall impact of the surrounding on its residents. With several fruitful interactions with the slum inhabitants, a common concern that surfaced was the need of a decent upbringing for their children who at this point, were aloof to the magnanimity of challenges that await them.
While walking the sloping tight streets and talking to strangers who randomly offered me food during my afternoon visits, I was comforted to see the innocence, agility, and cheerfulness of children still intact over what little they shared. A strong sense of ownership, bond, and connection was evident, hinting at a silver lining of future revival, perhaps through the productive cultivation of its youth.