Pakistani baby reaches fame at just 40 days old

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sara, the little Pakistani baby at the centre of a £700 offer from James Caan

ITV: Sara, the Pakistani baby

This little girl has been one of the most recognisable faces in the media in the last week. This is the Pakistani baby, only 40 days old, who was the subject of a £700 offer from entrepreneur James Caan. Her village was destroyed in the Pakistan floods and Caan offered her family money to give her a “better life”.

 Amid deserved outrage, Caan has apologised. He said he was being lead with his heart, and not his head. But what is “a better life”? This baby must be among the poorest people in the world. She doesn’t even have a home, and was born directly into the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters recorded. She lives a poverty that most of us can only imagine. 

And the money offered for her was also a very large amount for people struggling, hungry, homeless. In terms of Caan giving her a better life – she would certainly have a richer life – but then, money doesn’t buy happiness.

Not having money however is a sure-fire route to unhappiness, and this girl will have less access to education, travel, technology, the arts and a wealth of other resources that Caan’s brother (for whom he was hoping to give Sara – the little girl – to) would surely have been able to give her. So was it selfish of her parents to want to keep her? To deny her those experiences? Or does the bigger fault lie with Caan for assuming he is in position of enough superiority to be able to offer to buy her in the first place? 

The trouble with this story is that it is almost a pre-emptive admission of failure. Caan was in Pakistan to work with a range of charities and rebuild Sara’s village. The £250,000 project will build 150 new brick houses in the hope that should another disaster strike, the village with withstand the challenges.  Caan’s attempt to take the child out of that community is an expectation that things are not going to get better for the villagers. With the weight of international media and donations bearing down on it, the village of Jan Lunda is in a better position than many communities in Pakistan in terms of reconstruction.

 And yet, despite all this, he still thinks she would have a better life away from her family and her community. It’s not a ringing endorsement.

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