'Chacha' Javed
'Chacha' Javed Image Credit: Facebook

Blind in one eye and ailing from old age, Raja Javed, a man in Pakistan’s city of Karachi, was forced to sell pencils on the streets after his employers stopped paying him due to the coronavirus outbreak. But, social media users came to “Chacha (uncle)” Javed’s rescue after facebook posts highlighting his plight went viral last month.

In April, a group of local residents decided to post a video of Javed on the internet. Though the post went viral, Javed’s situation only got worse. He ended up losing his job.

In the video Javed had talked about his employers not paying him amid the pandemic, and how he decided to sell stationary outside the area he worked at.

The elderly man who is the sole bread winner of his family worked at a popular leisure spot in Karachi. It was an unfortunate incident at work that left him half-blind, he said. He mentioned that he also had a son, who is blind.

After the video gained popularity, his ex-employers allegedly fired him for speaking up.

In a second video, Javed detailed the incident when another Karachi resident approached him and recorded him once again.

In the video, Javed says: “They [my employers] asked why did you tell the media? They fired me today.”

To which, the man taking the video, replies: “Don’t be afraid of anything.”

According to Pakistani media reports, one of the people involved in helping Javed, updated social media users on April 23. He posted: “We took Chacha and his son to a renowned private eye clinic. After a thorough assessment, it is the doctor’s opinion that both his and his son’s eyes are far too damaged to be repaired.”

The video again went viral and hundreds of netizens in the country offered to help. They referred to him endearingly as “Chacha (uncle) Javed”.

Tweep @xol_au wrote: “If someone is going to help this man please get in touch with me! I need to add funds. Thanks”

While many asked for Javed’s number. A Twitter user, @HasanShazia, who posted part of Javed’s clip on April 20, wrote: “He is a poor man. He has no phone. But he can be found outside the Port Grand or on the temple side gates selling ballpoints every day.”

A Twitter user @AbdullahDayo posted an update: “He was reached out by #SindhGovt and his issue stands resolved. He got paid by the employer.”

The people helping the man and taking the videos have been identified as Shahbaz Khuwaja, Kamran Amin, and Zubair Farooq Dadi, by a Pakistani media website.

On April 21, Dadi posted an updated on his Facebook page with a short clip of Javed thanking those who helped him.

“Power of social media. Happened after the interview he gave me and another guy yesterday,” Dadi wrote in the caption.

According to the post, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) came forward to provide ration of food to the poor man.