The role of philanthropy and giving has been engrained in me from childhood by observing the smallest acts of kindness, such as leaving water out in the heat of the summer for birds, to buying things from a struggling vendor on the streets. Giving, for me, is about more than just physical or monetary means of helping those in need. We often forget about the emotional and human needs of others, most often of the most destitute in society; simply spending a few minutes talking to an individual or offering words of comfort and encouragement – to just be there at a human level for one another, especially for those who are isolated from the rest of society.
With the passage of time I feel that the very fabric of society has been eroded, with the value on human relations being superseded by technology of the modern era, and perhaps by a shift from a more collective to an individualist mindset. The impact, however, on certain groups of society has been greater for some than others. I have always been one that has enjoyed the company of elders and use every opportunity not only to learn from their pearls of wisdom, but also to receive their blessings. Having spent time with the destitute elderly, mostly who have been abandoned by their families breaks my heart, but also has sparked a fire in me to do more for them; God willing, I hope that one day I’ll be able to provide a loving house with every facility that they can call home too.
I have worked extensively with a number of international charities in the capacity of an Ambassador, such as Shahid Afridi Foundation, Islamic Relief USA, and Shifa Foundation – all of whom have been doing some incredible work around poverty alleviation, but also in providing those in need with access to things that you and I often take for granted, such as clean drinking water. I am proud to have been involved in a number of campaigns that raise not only awareness, but also key funds to be able to implement such initiatives.
Recently I’ve been involved in Sainsbury’s marketing campaign promoting diversity and inclusion, through a TV Commercial targeting the Muslim community over the month of Ramadan. It’s not only been an honour to be the first actor of Pakistani origin representing a major brand, but it’s incredibly refreshing seeing a transition in mindset with the value being placed on equality, diversity and inclusion by larger corporations. To actually see organisations walking the walk, rather than talking the talk is nothing short of incredible.
I have always been a staunch advocate of diversity, holding the belief that to derive the best from others both a nurturing and inclusive environment are essential, and applies not only at a macro but very much at a more micro level.
The smallest acts of kindness are often effortless, but hugely impactful – collectively, all these small gestures compounded can lead to profound change. Imagine that ~