Story by: Omaima Malik, a visiting journalist who’s on assignment in the KARK newsroom this month.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Generally, it was believed that homelessness is the issue and problem in the poor and third world countries.
But my visit to the U.S. dispelled this impression.
I am in Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, and I came across issues and problems linked to homelessness including unemployment, drugs and poverty.
While walking around the city one can easily see homeless roaming around, some begging, some finding a place and making themselves comfortable on the footpaths, parks, under bridges and other similar places.
I had very short stay and a long list of assignments to be completed during my stay in the city I could not find time to collect data and information on drugged, unemployed homeless in the city but one can easily and safely say they are in hundreds.
At times, it didn’t look different from Pakistan where poor and homeless live a horrible life especially those who struggle with addictions.
I have seen such people on the streets of Little Rock picking up from the garbage and selling the found items to meet either their drug needs of satisfy the hunger.
Some in better condition find job of sanitary workers at restaurants and roadside hotels to earn a few bucks to meet their needs, in most of the cases drugs or alcohol. Families of such person throw them out of house fearing other members of the family may be affected and trapped in drugs and other evils. That makes their lives even worse and miserable. They get isolated from the family and society and feel lonely unable to help themselves. Even when they miss their family members, they were not welcome by the family. Such people have gone very far and could not return to normal life.
In such a grave and worsening situation, the state and the society was active in helping these people. The help is not only restricted to feed them but in providing them shelter, their rehabilitation and employment opportunities for these distressed population.
Now it is an established fact that poverty, unemployment, drug addiction and homelessness is not the problem restricted to poor and underdeveloped countries but most developed and resourceful nations too have this problem. Some nations have been able to tackle this through state resources but not all nations are able to do it neither such people are getting help and support from their governments, and America is no exception.
Walking on the streets of Little Rock, I have come across people who come close to you and beg as we see happening in Pakistan or elsewhere. However, some people make to the shelter homes and some to a rehabilitation center. Some benefit and recover from the addiction but some do not survive the conditions they are living in.
Omaima Malik, along with Sadia Rafay , are journalists from Pakistan who are visiting the KARK 4 newsroom this summer as part of a special program.
More about them:
Omaima Malik (BLOG: A Pakistani Journalist in Little Rock). She has been a reporter for Geo TV since 2013. Malik covers the Sindh Assembly, the provincial government, and political parties. She also covers the environment and climate change, and other human interest stories with a special focus on women and children with respect to health, education, and civil rights. Malik has a master’s degree in mass communications with distinction from Karachi University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mass communications. Before Geo, Malik worked at an Urdu-language daily newspaper Jehan-e-Pakistan (translation: “the world of Pakistan”).
Sadia Rafay (BLOG: Proud Pakistani Journalist) She has worked as a politics reporter at Dawn News TV since 2014. Rafay also produces reports on cultural events and short documentaries on social issues. She often hosts special transmissions and programs for cultural events, weather, festivals, and other important occasions. Rafay has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and previously worked with Geo News. She is attracted to political journalism as female journalists in Pakistan typically do not cover “hard news” and also likes to cover cultural news to highlight the geographical and cultural diversity of Pakistan and the world. Rafay is determined to show her family that daughters are no less than sons.