PAWS ‘N’ PLAY BY ARTISTIC MILLINERS GIVES VOICE TO THE VOICELESS: STREET ANIMALS
On a breezy morning in Karachi, Tufail noticed a street dog being chased by a couple of people. He scolded the men for scaring the dog and offered some water to the animal that looked visibly shaken. Tufail is a security guard at Artistic Milliners and the dog is now a regular visitor at the factory gate to rest in the shade and get some food and water.
This act of kindness conveyed a deep-rooted issue: negative attitudes and random attacks targeting the most vulnerable: street animals. The problem seems to be more persistent in less developed areas of the city. Korangi Industrial Zone where most of the Artistic Milliners factories are located has a large population of street dogs that are seen as a threat by the community people of the nearby residential areas. Many of the workers at Artistic Milliners factories are from these communities and seem to have the same hostile attitude towards stray animals.
Artistic Milliners decided to take action for the social change in the community where they operate. Having an excellent track record of sustainability and inclusivity initiatives, Artistic Milliners felt the need to create the necessary awareness and drive positive change in Korangi Industrial Area.
“Inclusivity and respect are the rights of every individual including the most vulnerable creatures of our society – the street animals. We believe that inclusivity is meant for all living beings. We must learn to coexist in natural harmony as we share our space on this planet with other animals and flora and fauna. It’s all an interconnected circle of life. Harm shown to street animals reflects a problem of our society that needs to be tackled at the grass-root level, said Faiza Jamil, GM Corporate Responsibility & Communications at Artistic Milliners.
“To support animal rescue, we partnered with Karachi’s leading organization Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF). Ayesha Chundrigar is an award-winning foundation for their relentless work to rescue and save the street animals and that’s why we joined hands with them to initiate our animal rescue campaign Paws ‘N’ Play,” Faiza added.
ACF’s vision aligns with Artistic Milliners in creating a more livable space for stray animals, the two are now working together to develop a safer world for all street animals in Karachi. Artistic Milliners along with ACF Animal Rescue believe in creating a secure and inclusive space for all, holding steadfast to the message that this planet is dependent on all life living in harmony including people, animals, and plants.
Stray animals are amongst the most vulnerable creatures in Pakistan. Artistic Milliners chose to step up and develop a more informed understanding of the behaviors of street animals for the benefit of society as a whole. The Paws ‘N’ Play campaign was created to protect stray dogs while creating awareness about how these furry creatures and humans can coexist with mutual respect as well as safety. The campaign directly contributes to UN SDG 13 Climate Action by preventing dog poisoning and SDG 15 Life on Land by managing dog population through anti-rabies vaccination.
In order to keep stray dogs safe and help them become inclusive members of our ecosystem without cruelty, the Artistic Milliners team of volunteers - ‘Milliners League’, visited the ACF Animal Rescue shelter to kick off the Paws ‘N’ Play campaign. The team was briefed by Ayesha Chundrigar herself who educated the volunteers on staying calm around street dogs while showing them love and support instead of frightening them or being frightened. Furthermore, Artistic Milliners donated several denim jackets and dog collars for the rescued pups. They primarily spent their time mingling with the dogs, learning about their rescue stories, and pledging to be more kind to all street animals, particularly street dogs.
“We are so grateful to have industry giants like Artistic Milliners not just take notice of our work but also support it! All of ACF’s projects are designed to always benefit humans and animals both. TNVR (trap/neuter/vaccinate/release) is something that is practiced all over the world to manage the stray dog population and cancel out any threat of rabies for dogs and humans. I’ve been carrying out this program with my team across Karachi with great success to stop the senseless culling of dogs but the most imperative part of this project is to change mindsets to understand that violence is never the answer and to adopt humane and sustainable methods that are actually tried and tested successfully, to tackle any situation,” said Ayesha Chundrigar, Founder & CEO of ACF.
“Artistic Milliners is such a forward-thinking, brilliant organization that understands the SDGs of the UN are necessary to follow in order to tackle climate change by 2030 and our program falls directly into several SDGs for the betterment of society overall. I am hoping for a fruitful, effective,long-term and long term partnership to uplift our society and make empathy a norm rather than an exception in Pakistan,” she added.
For the second phase of the campaign, Ayesha Chundrigar will conduct awareness sessions at Artistic Milliners so all their employees are sensitized about the way stray animals should be treated. The volunteers will then train all the factory workers at Artistic Milliners to help them treat street animals in their neighborhood with kindness. In the third phase the ‘Milliner’s League’ will join the ACF Animal Rescue team to vaccinate all the stray dogs in the Korangi area where several of their factories are located. The company will also place dog houses at key locations where dogs can eat, drink and rest. Since this initiative has been in the works, the community involvement has shifted the mindset of the residents from seeing dogs as a potential threat to a community of friends that need to be protected and respected.
Artistic Milliners embraces sustainability at all levels: climate action, water conservation, circular economy, gender equity, and workers’ wellbeing. The company recycles 85 percent of water in all its major mills and laundries and has installed solar panels for clean energy production. Artistic Milliners has the highest-rated LEED platinum facility in Pakistan and also earned the country’s first Fair Trade certification in the denim sector. The company’s investment in sustainable cotton, Milliner Cotton, is a holistic project that aims at addressing scalability, traceability, and women empowerment across the cotton supply chain. Its renewable energy venture, Artistic Energy, supplies 100 MW of clean energy to Pakistan’s grid, providing electricity to more than 50,000 households in underdeveloped communities.
Through the Paws ‘N’ Play initiative, Artistic Milliners aims to create a long-term positive change in the communities it operates are localised. The animal rescue initiative is one of the many social impact projects that the company has embarked on.