All it takes is faith in oneself, sincerity to ideals and an unimaginable amount of hard work and perseverance to show the way to others, and to bring out the latent good in others – the innate goodness in people. I was at the distribution ceremony of the first Pink Rickshaws to be handed over to two deserving candidates yesterday, and what I witnessed was heart warming to the core – at one point becoming a tear jerker.

 When Zar Aslam initiated the Pink Rickshaw project, she started on a wing and a prayer, and not a single penny in funds. Such an audacious, ambitious idea had she, and so daunting the task in so many different ways, I thought it would be impossible and could think of only hurdles – I have to admit. Yet, during a year or so since the conception of the idea, so many people came together, out of nowhere it seemed, to help bring a good idea to fruition, that it humbled me.

 Hence, today I write not about her, but the men and women who opened their hearts and pockets, gave their time to this exciting project. What has amazed me personally is the number of men – not just women, from every class and background who have supported the idea of mobility, independence and a means of earning a livelihood for women who are struggling otherwise.

 Starting from the responses on the roads of Lahore, when young boys and older men give you the thumbs up, to overwhelming amount of positive responses on twitter, you get to see the real Pakistan. A Pakistan different to the one in our own perceptions; a Pakistan in the international perception, where only an obscurantist, misogynist society exists.

 Of the hundreds of responses over the past months, I can remember only two negative ones. But of the people who helped on the ground, the stories are better still. First, the manufacturer of the rickshaws came forward and lent the rickshaws to get the idea rolling, without any surety of when the payments would see the light of day. Next, the provider of the anti-theft tracking system tracked down Zar and offered to provide the trackers free of cost for a good cause. Others gave donations to fund the rickshaws. I have already mentioned in a previous article where an Indian woman donated to buy a rickshaw – such is cross border good will for the cause of women. Hence, this project is made of the goodness of people, not donor agencies.

 Of the recipients I met yesterday, one, Perveen, is a widowed grandmother and a mother only of daughters. She was already driving a terribly broken down rented rickshaw to make ends meet. Her income is now set to increase as she now owns a pink rickshaw - she is now an owner, operator, an entrepreneur. She touched everyone’s hearts when she said strangers had helped her when her family wouldn’t; when she said strangers had supported her decision to drive a rickshaw when her family hadn’t.

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 The other, Roopa, is a single woman of thirty eight with actually no family in Pakistan who lives in a girls’ hostel and was being sent meager amounts just to get by, by married sisters abroad. Not only was she in tears, she made us all cry, so happy and grateful was she to be able to finally earn for herself.

 More than anything else I’ve witnessed recently, people’s genuine enthusiasm and help firmly demonstrated to me first hand that not only are there more good people around than bad, but that there is more good in people than bad. The good just comes out when there is a trustworthy avenue they can see. Of course we have seen this in Pakistan time and again, not least in the much bigger cases of Mr. Edhi and Mr. Imran Khan. People gave, and continue to give with open hearts. But there’s one thing very different in the case of the Pink Rickshaw: this project requires you to give without judgment; this project is not simply about helping the poor or the needy; this project is about being able to see and to desire women to become independent too. It challenges all the preconceived supposed conservatism of our society. At the end of the day, it demonstrated to me, first hand, how the majority of our people (whether on the road, whether manufacturers and private individuals, or whether on Twitter) are humane, thinking, progressive and good hearted – yes, the vast majority.

 And this is what makes my heart sing today.