Humans of New York Visits Pakistan and Changes the World
Brandon Stanton began his journey to create the famous blog Humans of New York in July 2010 after losing his job as a bond trader. In Stanton’s first book of photography, compiling three years of work, he explains that he originally wanted to create a photographic census of New York City. He envisioned thousands of portraits and an interactive map of the city. But when Stanton was directed by a friend to give social media a shot, HONY took off.
Stanton notes that Humans of New York really began to grow after he started pairing the portraits with a story or quotation. He stated, “I sought to provide my audience with a few good portraits, every single day. And I hope to continue doing so for a very long time.”
Humans of New York has an incredible social media presence with 14 million followers on Facebook alone. It has one of the most positive comment sections I’ve ever stumbled across on the Internet. People from all walks of the earth send love, prayers, and sometimes physical donations to better the lives that Brandon has introduced to his audience.
The first time Humans of New York was used as a means of positive donations was earlier in 2015, after Brandon interviewed a young boy from Brownsville, New York. Vidal, the student, said that his principal has been the most influential person in his life. Humans of New York managed to raise over $1 million dollars for the Mott Hall Bridges Academy and set up scholarship programs for future students.
Brandon is at it once again this summer as he recently visited Pakistan and is currently touring Iran. Humans of New York managed to not only raise almost $2 million dollars in 72 hours to battle bonded labor, but humanized a country that is portrayed in a primarily negative light in the international news.
We see a young boy giving advice on how to swim, a young girl talking about her brother scaring her with monsters, and a mother trying to do her best to raise her daughter. We smile as they smile, we relate, and our hearts cry when we hear of their pain. They are suddenly not a country on a map, or a news headline about the dangers of Pakistan. Instead, they are our brothers and sisters, our neighbors—family members we didn’t know we even had until Brandon shared their stories.
To change the world, you must change the hearts and minds first. Brandon has accomplished this perception of Pakistan within a month’s worth of posts.
Humans of New York took it a step further again when calling on the world for help to end the bonded labor, or legal slavery, that is currently happening in Pakistan. Fatima, a woman who founded an organization against bonded labor in Pakistan, shared her incredible story as well as the stories of those suffering from bonded labor. Fatima has put herself, her health, and her life at risk in order to save her people. Brandon, as he did with Vidal, created Fatima’s story as a platform to spread the positivity that Humans of New York has the capability of evoking. Fatima’s organization now has almost $2 million dollars in aid due to donations across the globe.
By bringing this incredible social media platform to Pakistan, the world stood to help its brothers and sisters that are having their human rights violated without having to go through governments or non-profit organizations. Brandon connects people around the globe soundlessly, almost effortlessly, and we are blessed to watch this technology revolution have one of the most beautiful effects on the world so far.
Below, read Fatima’s response to the outpour of love and support from Humans of New York and its followers.
Also below, read Brandon’s statement on Pakistan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN
As a Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English, my first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself Chief Editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin.