101 East

Pakistan’s Lost Children

Thousands of children go missing or are abandoned each year in Pakistan. But one charity is determined to save them.

Every year in Pakistan, thousands of children go missing or are abandoned on the streets of Karachi. Some are found dead in the streets amid piles of rubbish.

“Some days we pick up people that have been shot to death. Other days, people that have been killed in road accidents or in derailed trains,” says Achgar, a paramedic in Karachi, one of the world’s most violent cities.

“But the most difficult is when we pick up innocent babies … that’s unbearable,” says Achgar, recalling how he recently picked up the body of a newborn at 6am. He suspects the baby was killed by its own parents.

“Often, this is how they get rid of children of sin, forbidden children. It’s a real problem here.”

Children born out of wedlock are considered a source of shame in Pakistani society.

“Such children have no value to the family,” explains Bilquis Edhi, the head of a charity that encourages women to leave their babies in cribs around Karachi, rather than dumping them on the streets.

The Edhi Foundation is trying to save these children, encouraging women to leave their newborns with them, so they can find the babies new homes. The charity also works to reunite missing children with their families – anything to give Pakistan’s lost children another chance at life. 

101 East meets the Pakistani children no one wants and follows some on their emotional journey to reunite with their families.

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