Malaika’s motto: A kachra free Islamabad

Meet the founder of the initiative “5 Mailay aur unkay Thailay”

Featuring Malaika Riasat, a full-time fashion designer who works for environment as a volunteer and believes it is everyone’s responsibility to serve their community and environment.

Malaika Riasat, founder and activist of 5 Mailay. A single mother of a 13-year-old girl and continuously trying to instill environmentally friendly activities.

She started the initiative 5 Mailay Aur Unkay Thailay, which is a collective of passionate Islamabadi’s working to inculcate civic responsibility in people through safe drives.

“5 Mailay Aur Unkay Thailay is a 15 months old, self-funded project, aiming at reducing the carbon footprint. This started as a safai drive with my friends in the market. We started organizing these at least once a week after spotting a place that needs some cleaning up”.- Malaika


Read on as we discover Malaika’s journey.

What inspired you to dedicate so much time and energy to caring for the environment?

Malaika is in our Malika tunic. Shop it in stores and online for Rs.2298/-


I was 10 when my mother died due to cancer and since then it has stayed with me to help and improve our environment conditions and do something for the community at large.

I believe primary reason for most of the diseases these days is due to deterioration of our environment. Plastic is found in everything we eat and drink. It killing us with every bite and breath we take.

Malaika is in our Sportsy 2-Pc. Shop it in stores and online for Rs.3498/-


Could you elaborate on why your initiative is called “5 MAILAY AUR UNKAY THAILAY” and what is the goal behind it?

5 Mailay Aur Unkay Thailay – loosely translated as 5 unclean (people) and their garbage bags – is a collective of concerned citizens dedicated to finding a solution for the problem of littering and trash accumulation in the city of Islamabad, Pakistan. In August 2018, a group of friends got together and decided to try to tackle the growing problem of littering in Islamabad. What was supposed to be an afternoon’s activity steadily grew into a weekly cleanup event, gathering more and more supporters as time passed. The name of the collective was deliberately chosen to challenge the norm in our society, which considers trash collecting as a profession only for the socio-economically disadvantaged.

The word ‘mailay’ is considered derogatory, and those who work as cleaners (on the streets, in offices, and in private homes) are considered unclean. By adopting the term for our collective, we want to upend this reductive way of thinking, and not only bring respect back to the profession, but also impress upon people that the ones generating unchecked amounts of trash are far more ‘unclean’ than the ones engaged in cleaning up after them.

Malaika is in our Sportsy 2-Pc. Shop it in stores and online for Rs.3498/-


What is your ultimate goal?

We are working towards educating younger kids at schools to manage their waste and recycle. Make compost out of biodegradable and recycle plastic and other materials. Educating younger generation is of utmost importance.

P.S. the pictures have been taken at a park that Malaika and her team helped clean up recently!

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