Throughout history, walls have been a symbol of separation, segregation, and division. However, a new phenomenon called “walls of kindness” (Deewar-e-Meherbani) is doing just the opposite. Faced by cold weather, Iranians began outdoor charity drives for the homeless and needy by building “walls of kindness.” The walls feature clothing hooks beside the phrase, “Take one if you need it. Give one if you don't.” Iran's campaign to clothe the poor has developed into an international onslaught of donations, coats, hats, trousers, and warm apparel.
What started in Mashhad, Iran, has now spread to China and Pakistan. Here are some of the heartwarming images and stories of “walls of kindness” across countries
Iran: Where it all began
It all started with a bit of snow in Mashhad:
— Hamzeh Bojnordi (@QExtender) January 29, 2016
While it makes for scenic photos, winter is specially harsh for those without shelter. Slowly, the hashtag دیوارمهربانی# (wall of kindness) started filling up with photos, as citizens took up helping the needy:
— چراغ جادو (@HaaDooK) December 21, 2015
Wall of Kindness #Kerman located on Khajoo street, before the intersection on Khajoo, on the left #yalda in #Kerman
— FariN (@_far_in) December 13, 2015
دیوار مهربانی در شهسوار ، جنب مسجد شهسوار محله pic.twitter.com/7cCRFQb2u0
— دیوار مهربانی (@DivarMehrabani) December 20, 2015
Wall of kindness in Shahsavar, next to the mosque neighborhood of Shahsavar
Next up: China
It didn't take long before pictures of “walls of kindness” in China started popping up on social media. The Chinese reports suggest the clothes are for “people in need”:
“Walls of Kindness” in Chengdu, China. This is the city where Mrs. Gibbs went to college. 👍 pic.twitter.com/h6fBgFuqYi
— Medina City Chinese (@MCSChinese) February 6, 2016
— Mailman Group (@MailmanGroup) February 2, 2016
Iran's ‘Wall of Kindness’ now in China too. This definitely a public dimpomacy achievement by Iran. pic.twitter.com/zlGtJ9hsnx
— Ali S. R. (@a__s_r) January 30, 2016
Pakistan joined in
Ismat Ali and Maria Waqas, teachers at Bahria College in Karachi, announced plans to set up their own wall of kindness:
So, my dear friends and family…I come to you again. This time in collaboration with my senior, Ma'am Ismat Ali. We are starting a wall of kindness in karachi. Area will be mentioned later. Please donate generously your clothing or shoes that are just sitting in your cupboards and can help the needful. Truly grateful. Let's begin 2016 with a new heart!!
Posted by Mariya Waqas on Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Citizens in Peshawar and Lahore have also created walls of kindness in their cities, too. In Peshawar, a group of people from the NGO Serve Mankind wrote:
— Rahat Shinwari (@RahatShinwari) February 2, 2016
Wall of kindness: great effort to help those who need clothing. Pl donate spare clothes. Hayatabad phase 3 Peshawer pic.twitter.com/pj76xtUz54
— Amir Mateen (@AmirMateen2) February 4, 2016
As for Lahore, people took to Twitter to spread the word.
“Wall of Kindness” Near Jam e Sheeren Park, Firdous Market Lahore.
Please donate your clothes to the needy ones. :) pic.twitter.com/Zqqez6yRzM
— Yasmin (@YoTweetWali) February 5, 2016
The wall of kindness in #Lahore is located near Jam e Shereen Park, Firdous Market. Please donate for a good cause and help people out :)
— Haider (@hain_jee) February 7, 2016
That's not all, folks
Iranians are giving away food, too. Here's a bakery that's giving away bread to the homeless and hungry. The box reads, “Bread is free for those who can’t pay.”
دیوار مهربانی به نانوایی مهربانیم رسید…. pic.twitter.com/WEvHOQqeEv
— عمه ِالام (@3LiDry) January 3, 2016
The wall of kindness has arrived at the bakery of kindness.
I'd just like to say, that last tweet, was a bakery in #Iran .it reads: “bread free to those who cannot afford it” …just think about that
— Gus (@Mr__Gus) January 14, 2016