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  • Tausif Mulla

Berger Paints used Pakistani Truck Art to Help Find Missing Children

In 2019, Berger Paints, a company that makes water-based paints, partnered with Pakistani truck art to use the artwork as part of their search for missing children.

In Pakistan, where truck art adds color and humor to the roads, some truckers have replaced the traditional vivid paintings on their vehicles with realistic portraits of missing children, hoping to bring them back. Driven by the truckers' desire to do something about a recent surge in kidnappings and a lack of progress by the government in solving them, they began displaying portraits of missing children on their trucks.

Truck art scene in Pakistani cities and beyond

A truck art scene has been thriving in Pakistani cities since 1978. Artists paint, sculpt and install works of art on trucks. This movement started in Lahore has spread to different cities like Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, and many more. Artists use the tradition of truck painting as a platform for expression. They paint graffiti-style pieces of art to protest against social issues or celebrate their love for hip-hop music or culture.

Art is a creative medium and many artists use it as a tool to spread awareness about important societal issues. As a part of its Truck Art Child Finder campaign, the popular art medium is used to inform the public about how to report such crimes. It was launched in 2019 by Roshni Helpline and international paint manufacturer Berger Paints. So far, seven children have been rehabilitated through the program.

(Image Source: Arab News)

Roshni Helpline 1138 is a toll-free helpline launched to help the victims of child trafficking. Every year in Pakistan, over 3,000 children go missing and many more are kidnapped for the purpose of being sold to childless families or placed on the streets to beg. The idea to use truck art to find missing children came from filmmaker and rights activist Samar Minallah, who believed the familiar art form would have more outreach than missing person posters that could be easily ignored.

According to Minallah, truck art is a popular and beloved medium among Pakistanis. He quoted “when it comes to missing children, the "talaash-i-gumshuda" (search for those who have gone missing) signs painted randomly on walls won't suffice.” According to Minallah, one of the biggest challenges the project faced was persuading the drivers to use their vehicles for unconventional purposes.

Approximately 3,000 phone calls were received, of which 500 resulted in serious leads. As a result, seven children were successfully reunited with their families, and the trucks proved to be an effective way to reach remote areas where traditional media is ineffective.

Berger Paints is a company that has been in the business for more than 40 years. The company was originally known as Berger and Company, but it changed its name to Berger Paints in the 1960s when it expanded its product line and added modern paint formulas to serve homeowners. It is a captivating case study about how one brand solved a huge problem in society.

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