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Serving the unseen

Photographer David Verberckt goes inside Edhi Foundation's treatment houses for the abandoned, homeless, elderly, children, mental health patients, and the rehabilitation center for heroine addicts in Karachi, Pakistan.

This story contains graphic content and viewers discretion is advised.

It’s estimated that there are several hundred thousands of drug addicts in Karachi, Pakistan’s economical and shipping hub. Despite being illegal, a dose of heroin is easily available, affordable and often cheaper than a meal. The opium from which the heroin is made is grown in neighbouring Afghanistan along the border areas.

Edhi Foundation is a large organizational set-up running a wide range of social services in Pakistan by guiding and supporting the most deprived through hardships of life. One of the services that make the Foundation unique among all other social welfare service providers, is its dedication in providing free shelter and care for mental health patients, destitute, drug addicts, orphans and abandoned children in the highly neglected areas.

"I have had the privilege to follow some of the social services that the Edhi Foundation is providing in Karachi. In particular in their homes for the abandoned and homeless, elderly and children, mental health patients, and a rehabilitation center for heroine addicts."
David Verberckt

The Edhi Foundation offers addicts a free rehabilitation at their centre in Karachi. Treatment is basic and consists of providing a drug-free environment. Only sedative injections and paracetamol are available for pain relief, methadone is rarely available and unaffordable. This cure is called “Cold Turkey” and consists of abruptly taking away a drug to which one is addicted, provoking severe pain, anxiety and mental distress. Although the patient will end the physical need for heroin after 7-10 days, it does not stop the psychological dependency. Many patients that leave the centre will unfortunately be brought back at a later stage, other will develop severe mental illnesses.

The Edhi Foundation does a remarkable job in providing support through their homes to the most vulnerable with very limited resources. Unfortunately the needs are so immense in terms of mental health care and addiction rehabilitation that larger multi disciplinary involvement is essential.

These images have been shown in several institutions dealing with mental health in Europe who in turn have expressed their interest in the Edhi Foundation's work with prospects of eventual further cooperation and aid.

Now it's your turn, keep the generosity wheel rolling

Please consider making a one-off or recurring donation to

Edhi Foundation

using the form below.

This story does not end here. Helping the

vulnerable people of Pakistan

will require your action too.

After sharing this story and helping spread awareness about their plight, you can:

-Support Edhi Foundation's effort directly by volunteering or donating on their website

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