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Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by Lone Shooter, Feb 26, 2012.
15 Of The Most Inspiring Women In Pakistan
By Sana Rais
Pakistan has many immensely talented women working both at home and abroad to make the country and the world a better place. We have compiled a list of some of the most inspiring women in Pakistan.
1. Roshaneh Zafar
Roshaneh Zafar (@RoshanehZafar) is an active social entrepreneur with an impressive list of credentials. She was an Ashoka Fellow and worked extensively at the World Bank on Water and Sanitation issues. After meeting with Muhammad Yunas and seeing the impact of Grameen banking, she started the Kashf Foundation in Pakistan in 1996, and is the Managing Director of the Foundation. She also started Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited.
“Believing that the Grameen model could help empower women both economically and socially, Roshaneh ignored warnings that a microfinance program focusing on women would not work in Pakistan.” The initiative has since then proven to be a success, and Kashf Foundation provides microfinance, job opportunities and training for women and supports over 500,000 women and families in Pakistan. Roshaneh Zafar has received several awards including Skoll Award for Entrepreneurship, Tamghai Imtiaz and Vital Voices Economic Empowerment Award, among others.
2. Jehan Ara
Jehan Ara (@jehan_ara) is the President of Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES (P@SHA). Se has a considerable amount of experience in communications, media and marketing in several countries around the world, and has put this knowledge to use in transforming P@SHA into a center for industry innovation and growth. She is sought after for events and talks, and regularly supports tech innovation forums.
An optimist, she is passionate about product and service development, new ideas and empowering youth and women in Pakistan. She has helped kick start several initiatives including the Pakistan branch of Women on the Web, Take Back the Tech, and Women’s Virtual Network, all of which aim to have some impact on improving women’s social situations and supporting their entrepreneurial
3. Kalsoom Lakhani
Kalsoom Lakhani (@kalsoom82) founded Invest2Innovate, also known as i2i, in 2011. Invest2Innovate connects budding entrepreneurs with investors and support, in line with their belief that “entrepreneurs have the power to change the world.” They have an i2i accelerator, which provides support to startups and matches them with i2i Angels, their investors.
Kalsoom Lakhani is active in a number of forums: as a founder and Editor of CHUP blog, co-ambassador of Sandbox, co-chair for Blended Profit, and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. She worked as Director of Social Vision before she founded i2i, and has considerable experience in building support and networks for startups and young entrepreneurs in Pakistan.
4. Ghulam Sughra Solangi
Sughra Solangi overcame significant odds and a difficult situation to become “an exceptional example of what an oppressed woman can achieve through sheer determination and strength.” Married off at 12 and divorced at 18, she struggled to educate herself at home and despite social and cultural obstacles, went on to get her High School Certificate. She became a teacher and realised that people were not sending their daughters to school for two reasons: lack of funds and social customs. Following her belief that changing attitudes is as important as economic development, she began Marvi Rural Development Foundation.
The Foundation has projects that support literacy, health and well-being, development of community organisations, income generation and ending violence against women. She has had significant success in developing her village Solangi, Khairpur District, and developing new villages every year in Sindh. She became an Ashoka Fellow in 1999, and for her achievements she received the International Women of Courage Award in 2011.
5. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai became known worldwide after being targeted and subsequently shot by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012. Already a vocal campaigner for education in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai is now one of the most prominent advocates for education in the world today.
She wrote anonymously for a blog detailing her life and education under the Taliban in Swat for the BBC for years before being targeted and having to leave Swat and Pakistan. More recently, she addressed the UN on her 16th birthday, and launched the Malala Fund, which supports education for girls around the world.
6. Maria Umar
Maria Umar (@MariaUmar) is the founder of Women’s Digital League (WDL), which is an online portal that provides digital services. WDL aims to tap into what it calls “a vast dormant workforce which is either discouraged from working outside or has trouble finding work opportunities.” Maria Umar was inspired by the possibilities inherent in such a service, after she had to work from home following maternity leave, and was using oDesk.
WDL is different from oDESK and other sites because it focuses on women, who for various reasons are unable to work outside their homes, and also women in rural areas who lack the required equipment and training to work online. WDL provides these services, and enables women to work online on “data entry and data conversion tasks” and “tasks like wordpress, writing, graphic designing” for various clients.
7. Saba Gul
Saba Gul (@sabagl) is the founder of popinjay, which was previously known as BLISS. Popinjay is a non-profit organisation that works with artisans in Pakistan to produce handmade and high quality handbags. It focuses on empowering these artisans, especially women, as the website states that they “offer our artisan women practical training, fantastic wages, dignity and a path to self-sufficiency. By connecting them to global markets, we bring them a fair value for their work.”
Saba Gul is a graduate of MIT and a self-proclaimed “engineer-at-heart” with a talent for social entrepreneurship and finding solutions to enduring poverty through empowerment.
8. Sabeen Mahmud
Sabeen Mahmud (@sabeen) is the President of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE ) in Karachi. She started PeaceNiche and one of its very first projects, T2F, which is also known as The Second Floor Café. T2F is a space for people to come together to partake in events and discussions revolving around activism, innovation, arts and culture.
She stated in an interview: “It is my biggest dream to change the world for better through internet, design and other communication technologies & T2F is a part of that dream.” PeaceNiche has several projects under its belt, and T2F is just one of them, which aims to find peaceful solutions to social problems through dialogue and debate and inspiring events.
9. Rabia Garib
Rabia Garib (@rabiagarib) has a passion for education and tech innovation. She used to run CIO Pakistan and was a co-founder at Rasala Publications, but is now focusing on being the Chief Wrapper at ToffeeTV, which she founded with@taleazafar. She is also an Eisenhower Fellow and a recipient of the LadiesFund Trailblazer Award.
ToffeeTV focuses on providing children with learning and entertainment in Urdu. Furthering education is a particular interest of hers, as is the medium of music for promoting it. Rabia Garib has promoted the local IT industry and the way it helps to shape Pakistan’s global image and often explains the following: “The future of any country is its children (who then become the youth) and the preservation of its language, culture and heritage. If you aren’t already focusing on localized content development for education, your future will be shaped by others.”
10. Sheba Najmi
Sheba Najmi (@snajmi) is the founder of Code for Pakistan, a “non-profit building a non-partisan civic innovation ecosystem to improve quality of life across Pakistan.” Describing her project, she explained: “I want to put forth this idea of Gov 2.0 which has caught on all over the world; which is to use apps and data to reframe the relationship between local government and citizens.”
She has extensive experience in design management, product strategy, product management, developing entrepreneurship and startups, and civic engagement. Starting out as a TV anchor and reporter, she previously worked as a Fellow at Code for America and at Yahoo. She also works as a Growth Hacker at Tradecraft, a Consultant at the World Bank, User Experience Design Consultant at Cloudwords, Inc. and is on the Board of Advisors of Go-Fig Solutions.
11. Sophia Hasnain
Sophia Hasnain has considerable experience in telecommunications and innovative Internet technology. She is currently working as a Trends and Transformations Consultant and has previously worked for Telenor in Pakistan, and Deutsche Telekom AG. She also launched Pakistan’s “first real-time online Lottery in Pakistan with 5000 retail terminals.”
Her focus in consulting is on innovative products, and she helps companies to “take a leap, start innovating, become leaders of their markets, bring their products back into focus; manage the product, manage the customer experience, manage the growth and grow the revenues.”
12. Fawzia Salahuddin
Fawzia Salahuddin works at Alchemy Technologies as the Director of Technology and Project Management. A certified Project Management Professional (PMP), she has proven leadership skills and extensive experience in managing both people and products.
She specialises in various aspects of team management including client management, and establishing goals. She has previously worked for several software companies and also does voluntary work where she mentors managers and budding leaders.
13. Erum Khalid
Erum Khalid has worked as the Director of Technology at Alchemy Technologies and as a Project Manager at Folio3. She has worked extensively on software development, software engineering and design, and project management.
She is a graduate of the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, where she has also worked as a visiting faculty member.
14. Maliha Khan
Maliha Khan works at Folio3 as the Director of Engineering for Social Media and Consumer Web Applications. She has over a decade of experience in developing web and mobile applications, where she has managed, designed and marketed them.
She completed her degree at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, and has worked at various organisations including PixSense Inc., and Clickmarks (Pvt) Ltd. Maliha Khan took part in an MIT Summer Research Program and has been behind the development of several innovative apps such as Your Place, Fashion Playtes, and Brilliant Earth.
15. Fariha Akhtar
Fariha Akhtar (@farihaak) is a software engineer, and is well known as an avid blogger and activist. She writes regularly about issues relating to Internet and digital privacy, growth in the tech sector and app development. She is also known for her live blogging.
She has been a part of TakeBackTheTech, a campaign to use technology to end violence and abuse towards women. A self-described humanist, and deeply interested in issues of women’s rights and online activism, she “came up with lots of ideas for creating awareness about privacy and security online,” along with providing information and advice about Internet privacy and protection.
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Ustaad jee: Karachi's selfless roadside teacher - Blogs - DAWN.COM
Ustaad jee: Karachi's selfless roadside teacher
ERUM SHAHID — PUBLISHED about an hour ago
Some people are born selfless; having little or no concern for their own self is an intrinsic part of their existence.
I have often wondered about this, committing to a life that only serves others, only giving and never taking; and I understand now how difficult it is to truly act in someone else's interest. With no worldly return, just the spirit to keep doing good and more importantly, to never stop.
Everyday on a pavement at the centre of a road under an old giant tree in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi, 66-year-old Mohammad Shaukat Niaz Siddiqui gathers children of ages 6-10 around him to teach them for free.
Now referred to as Ustaad jee by his disciples, the elderly fragile man has dedicated his life to the underprivileged for the past six years.
Ustaad jee with his students.
The students force their parents to take them to Ustaad jee everyday.
Ustaad jee teaching mathematics.
He teaches everyday from 3pm to 6pm, excluding Sundays. And he is loved. So much that many of his students who weren’t allowed to study, forced their parents to send them to Ustaad jee.
“Ustaad jee kay paas parhnay main buhat maaza ata hai, main zidd karti hoon toh Abu anay daitay hain,” said Ruksana.
Shaukat softly tells me how sad it makes him to think about the children in Pakistan who are incredibly talented, but sadly their talents, creativity and thirst for knowledge has been suppressed because they are forced to work; to be victims of child labour.
He teaches subjects like Urdu, English, Mathematics and Religion. Once an avid writer of drama scripts in his younger days, he now finds bliss in teaching the needy.
He gives equal attention to every child.
He also teaches ethics.
A student takes leave after the lesson.
Ustaad jee is now a cardiac patient, but he does not miss a single day of teaching.
“Due to my heart problem, I face a lot of trouble and unease when I walk on my own to get here everyday, so I take lifts from my friends here. But I cannot quit my mission just because of my health issues. I’ll teach to them as long as I physically can,” says Shaukat.
His journey as a teacher and as a human being is truly enlightening. His simple daily endeavour is a reminder of just how far simple goodwill can go towards healing a fractured society. In spite of the difficulties, his spirit has not once wavered.
A student holds up a picture of Ustaad jee from his younger days.
Teaching the Quran.
His soft voice spoke volumes about his character, while his firm conviction to serve others utterly restored my faith in humanity.
When asked whom he would credit for his selfless will to educate others, he replied,
“My mother, she always taught me to serve others even if there were no resources. She said that there was no greater pleasure other than serving someone who would not promise you anything in return.”
—Photos by author
Erum Shahid is a student of Media studies at IoBM, Karachi.
Lone Georgian female photographer takes on Lahore
A lone female photographer from Georgia travelled to Pakistan despite being warned by family and friends to take some really stunning photos.
Teo Jioshvili, 29, an aspiring travel photographer, went to Lahore, Pakistan last year and found it to be very safe.
She said, “I backpacked to one of the most dangerous countries on earth… and had a great time.”
Jioshvili said that despite what people had told her about the security situation in Pakistan, she found the people to be very friendly.
Lone Georgian female photographer takes on Lahore - The Express Tribune
Indus River dolphins in Pakistan.
Sindh Wildlife department rescued a dolphin on April 7, 2015. PHOTO COURTESY: WWF-PAKISTAN
The Indus River dolphin was even hunted in the past as people extracted oil from its body parts for medicinal purposes. Today, barrages have restricted the dolphins’ habitat, as water scarcity and low flow affect the creature’s free movement from downstream to upstream of the barrage. An increasing number of threats have confined the dolphin to the main channel only. Presently, the Guddu and Sukkur barrages host the largest population of Indus River dolphins. Therefore, in 1974 the government of Sindh issued a notification designating these areas as “protected areas”. This 200 kilometre stretch is also known as the Indus Dolphin Game Reserve.
WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD), is actively engaged in rescuing dolphins stranded in canals and releasing them back into the main stream. Communities are sensitised to report stranded dolphins so they can be rescued before it is too late. Since the 1990s, WWF-Pakistan and SWD have rescued 116 dolphins. In 2014, with the help of local communities, three stranded dolphins were saved and released into the mainstream. On April 7, 2015, WWF-Pakistan and SWD jointly rescued a male dolphin stranded in Patt Feeder Canal, Guddu Barrage, through the help of locals. The dolphin was later released in the mainstream of the Indus River, downstream of Guddu Barrage.
Estimating the population of the Indus River dolphin at an interval of five years is of great importance to streamlining conservation management initiatives. WWF-Pakistan has so far conducted three comprehensive surveys in 2001, 2006 and in 2011. The study conducted in 2001, led by Gillian T Braulik, revealed about 1,200 dolphins exist in the Indus River between Jinnah and Kotri barrages. This was followed by the 2006 and 2011 studies, both supervised by Braulik, which revealed a total abundance of 1,442 dolphins and 1,452 dolphins, respectively. Furthermore, the 2011 study revealed two distinct river sections with maximum dolphin population: Taunsa-Guddu and Guddu-Sukkur river sections holding 91% of the dolphin population found in the Indus River. As a result, Uzma Noureen, coordinator of the 2004 Indus River Dolphin Conservation Project, which aims to conserve the biological diversity of the Indus River, ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and find ways to curb pollution, says, “The area between Taunsa and Guddu which represents the second largest population of Indus River dolphin needs to be declared a legally protected area for dolphins.”
WWF-Pakistan rescues stranded dolphins trapped in canals.
WWF-Pakistan through another project titled Improving livelihoods of fishermen communities of Central Indus Wetlands Complex through Effective Natural Resource Management is empowering fisher communities to promote conservation by establishing community-based organisations (CBO) in the area. With 10 CBOs established in Sindh and Punjab, the message of conservation has spread among local communities who now value the biodiversity of the region. One of the CBOs, Indus Welfare Foundation (IWF), established on the west bank of Taunsa Barrage, is raising awareness among communities to reduce their dependence on natural resources and conserve the Indus River dolphin. The president of IWF, Javed Iqbal, says communities are sensitised to protect the endangered dolphin by all means, as it is a source of livelihood and helps promote tourism and other job opportunities.
Good quality farming in Pakistan
Munawar Shakeel: Cobbling his way to five award-winning books
Rizwan Safdar — Published in Dawn
The poet at his cobbler's shop - photo by author
In the small suburban town of Rodala, located in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, there sits a cobbler in the main bazaar, Munawar Shakeel, who has been repairing the shoes of the villagers for three decades now.
But in recent years, his customers are less interested in getting their shoes repaired and more interested in listening to his verses on the sweet and bitter realities of life.
Munawar is a poet.
He is the author of five Punjabi poetry books, and with the poor and downtrodden as the subject of his poetry, he is considered a major voice of people living in suburban areas.
Born in 1969, Munawar lost his father during his childhood, and he was unable to receive any sort of formal education. Even then, he started composing verses as early as the age of 13. Ultimately, his first book Soch Samandar was published in 2004.
Munawar tells me that cobbling is his family profession. He says: “I make Rs250 to Rs300 daily by selling newspapers at local shops, and repairing shoes. From this money, I set aside Rs10 daily for getting my books published.”
His second book Pardes Di Sangat was published in 2005; third book Saddiyan De Bhait in 2009; fourth book Jhora Dhap Gawachi Da in 2011; and fifth Akhaan Mitti Ho Gaiyaan was published in 2013.
They are all award-winning books.
Munawar is a member of literary groups like the Royal Adabi Academy, Jaranwala and the Naqeebi Karvan-e-Adab. He has also received awards from organisations such as Ashna-e-Saandal Bar, Pakistan Writers’ Guild, and Punjabi Sevak.
“I make Rs250 to Rs300 daily by selling newspapers at local shops and repairing shoes.”—Photo by author
Talking about his poetry, he said that the elite and middle classes of the society have always subjected the lower classes to discrimination, and there is no one to raise a voice against the miseries and discrimination they face.
“I want to speak for the lower classes through my poetry, and those things which cannot be said directly, I want to say them through verse.”
Innu kinne paani ditta, innu kinne boya aey
Patthar de jo seene uttey, boota ugya hoya aey
[Who watered it, who sowed it,
The plant that grew on a heart of stone]
Munawar says that as a child, he most wanted an education but the early death of his father and the scarcity of resources had made it impossible.
“Thus, I purchased books myself and started reading. The habit is so ingrained now that I can’t sleep if I don’t read for four hours daily after work.”
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The poet consciously chooses only to write in his mother tongue Punjabi.
“Punjabi is the mother tongue of Punjabis, and it is their right to be taught in this language. It is the job of the government to promote Punjabi and all regional languages.”
He thinks that for being a good poet, it is necessary to feel the pain of the humanity, which should reflect in the poetry.
His sixth book Taanghan, consisting 112 of his ghazals, will be available in markets by the end of this year.
“There is glory in hard work. I have no shame in repairing shoes, but I want people to be more aware, and I want them to read books so we can also stand in the ranks of developed nations.”
Munawar Shakeel’s teacher in literature, Ghulam Mustafa Azad Naqeebi, says people in suburban areas are not short of ability, but they often get left behind due to a shortage of resources.
According to the teacher, Munawar's poetry throbs with the pain of the downtrodden people. It is far from the traditional metaphors of love and intimacy, and closer to the needs, wishes, and difficulties of the common people.
Note: If you wish to purchase Munawar Shakeel’s books, send an e-mail at email@example.com with your name, address, and phone number.
This article first appeared on Faisalabad Sujag and has been reproduced with permission. Translation by Bilal Karim Mughal.
Video: Pepsi Pakistan’s new ad, highlighting recycling, is a hit on social media
The advertisement has been shot at a variety of locations including a fair, a cricket ground and a beautifully lit village,
The ad stars prominent Pakistani personalities such as actors Hamza Ali Abbasi and Sanam Saeed. (Source: YouTube)
Set to Abida Parveen’s Noor-e-Azal, Noor-e-Khud, Pepsi Pakistan’s new advertisement during the festive month of Ramazan has become a hit on Facebook and Twitter.
Shot at a variety of locations including a fair, a cricket ground and a beautifully-lit village, the ad stars prominent Pakistani personalities such as actors Hamza Ali Abbasi and Sanam Saeed.
The ad shows the actors stopping people from throwing empty Pepsi bottles away to use as lights in a village.
For every 1.75 litre bottle that one purchases in Pakistan, Re 1 would be donated for this eco-friendly project. The heartwarming campaign promotes Pepsi Pakistan’s “Lighting up Lives” initiative.
Freshly prepared kebabs ready to be savoured.
Chapli Kebab takes its name from the Pashto word Chaprikh, meaning flat. Minced beef or lamb meat is marinated with green chillies, tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs such as coriander and mint and a touch of spice to make this delicious, juicy meat patty.
A succulent Chapli Kebab, scooped up with a hot piece of Kandahri nan and dipped in a yogurt-based chutney, unleashes a bomb of flavour likely to satisfy the most ardent of carnivores.
While Peshawar may be the kebab capital of the world, the Chapli Kebab is thought to have originated in Takhtbhai, Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Today, kebab chefs are divided among two schools - one who associate themselves with Takhtbhai and others who practice the Peshawari method.
In the capital, an obvious place to go looking for this juicy carnivorous treat from the Khyber is the Peshawar Mor. Some of the kebab shops here have been selling Chapli Kebabs for over three decades.
Alam Khan is both the owner and chef at Alam Chapli Kebab and he believes in frying his kebabs in lamb fat rather than vegetable oil. His vat is placed outside the shop on wood-fired stove.
“Being a traditionalist, I believe Chapli Kebab is best cooked in lamb fat and never over a gas stove because the smoke from the wood lends flavour to the kebab,” he says.
Expert hands slide an uncooked Chapli Kebab into oil.
He has been operating his shop in Peshawar Mor for almost 12 years and the art of making kebabs has been in his family for generations.
“My father and grandfather were kebab chefs in Peshawar. Ours is the original Peshawari method,” he said.
According to him, kebab chefs in Peshawar are more likely to use meat from a cow and in Mardan, buffalo meat is more commonly used.
Chef Alam Khan prepares the vat at his shop in Peshawar Mor.
Among the shops in this bazaar, his recipe is the spiciest and retains the salty flavour of melted lamb fat. He also gives a special tomato based chutney with the kebabs, which resembles Mexican salsa and is a perfect accompaniment to the Chapli Kebabs.
July 27, 2015
The ‘Written word: The Epitome of Islamic Art’ exhibitionbeing held at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi features34 paintings by 10-12 Pakistani artists.
Unveiling quintessence of Islamic art
Three-day exhibition showcases calligraphic pieces by rising and established Pakistani artists
Bringing into sharp focus the significance of Arabic calligraphy, a three-day exhibition was inaugurated on Sunday at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Taking place in the capital for the first time, ‘Written word: The Epitome of Islamic Art’, brought to life Pakistani participants’ artistic maturity through a multitude of paintings.
“There are about 34 paintings showcased here by 10-12 Pakistani artists. This exhibition is a celebration that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr,” Curator Ayesha Imtiaz told Gulf News.
The series of displayed paintings was completed by both established as well as rising artists in this field, she added.
“The exhibition’s oldest masterpiece is called 'Allah' by one of Pakistan’s worldwide artists Gulgee,” Asif Ali Khan Durrani, Ambassador of Pakistan, told Gulf News.
“There are many admirers of calligraphy in the UAE, which is a field that continues to rise to prominence in both countries and this is why we decided to launch this initiative,” he added.
When asked about one of the exhibition’s main goals, Faisal Aziz Ahmad, deputy head of mission, Pakistani Embassy in the UAE, said: “Calligraphy constitutes a big part of our heritage and is something that is of mutual interest between Pakistan and the UAE, which is why we have decided to launch this project.”
Setting the stage to take the written words beyond just paper and pen, the display is designed to take visitors through a range of calligraphic artworks such as ‘Beauty of the Arabic Script’ by Aisha Kamal; ‘Abstract Calligraphy — The Merciful’ by Bukhari; ‘Sunset at Ravi River’ by Abid Khan; and ‘The Pathway’ by Wajid Yaqoot, among others.
Mohammad Abdul Wahid Khan, press counsellor at the Consulate General of Pakistan in the UAE, said: “We really want to showcase Pakistani artists’ growing talents to the wider public, particularly to a country that is so rich in Islamic art,” he added.
The three-day project is in collaboration between the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Art Hub, he explained.
Launching an art display revolving around flowers on UAE’s National Day, December 2, is one of the initiatives in the pipeline, which will serve as a congratulatory gesture from the Pakistani Embassy, Imtiaz added. “This is still under negotiations and nothing has been confirmed yet,” she said.
Running from July 26-28, ‘Written word: The Epitome of Islamic Art’ is open daily to the public from 6-9pm at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Unveiling quintessence of Islamic art | GulfNews.com
Pakistan's first female firefighter inspires legions
By Web Desk
Published: July 9, 2015
“I was told during the training that I would become the first lady firefighter of Asia, which made me extremely jubilant and it was like my dream had come true,” narrates Perveen. PHOTO: VEHARI SUJAG
Jumping off a red truck and darting into a blazing building while wielding only a water hose and some fire-retardant clothing as cover, is an image that is traditionally associated with men in the Subcontinent. But Shazia Perveen is about to change all that as Pakistan’s first female firefighter.
Shazia, 25, who hails from Vehari District in Punjab, joined the Rescue 1122 emergency services as a firefighter in 2010. Fighting fire with frightening conflagrations in a field feared even by most men, her co-workers acknowledge her determination.
Rescue 1122 claims that Perveen is the first female firefighter in Pakistan, and perhaps in all of Asia.
Read: Rescue 1122: Volunteers trained in rescue management
For Perveen, however, the job has always been a dream despite its inherent dangers. So when the Rescue 1122 Women’s Department opened up, she jumped at the chance. The prospect of working along with men too did not phase her enthusiasm
“Some women avoid and hesitate to work with men. That is where I differ with them and think that we, women, can work shoulder-to-shoulder with men,” says Perveen.
But it has not been an easy road to her dream. After recruitment, she had to undergo extensive training at the Punjab Emergency Service in Lahore. “Amongst the 600 people there, I was the only woman who completed the training.”
Her training included learning to swim, jump, fight fire, and climbing up roofs with the help of ropes.
Read: Security dynamic: Army, Rescue 1122, Edhi Centre conduct emergency drill
She recounts how a large number of people left their training in middle because they couldn’t take it anymore. But she persevered, and even ended up inspiring some of her fellow male trainees to keep on going. But what kept her going?
“I was told during the training that I would become the first lady firefighter of Asia, which made me extremely jubilant and it was like my dream had come true,” narrates Perveen.
A full fledged firefighter, Perveen helps out firefighters where women are trapped.
“At the outset, people would laugh at me when they saw me working with male workers. But afterwards, when I saved their precious properties during fires, they started admiring me,” she recounts.
Having managed to wriggle into a world of men, Perveen thinks that that women can tackle any job and take up any profession of their choice.
Lauding Shazia’s passion, District Emergency Officer Doctor Farzand says Perveen is a trustworthy worker and we get to receive good feedback for her, which is because she never compromises on her work.
“Ours is a men’s society. But Perveen works adamantly against such matriarchal thinking,” he says.
“It is believed that women are only able to start fires, whereas I have disproved this old adage and now I extinguish fires,” says Perveen
The article originally appeared on Vehari Sujag
Pakistan-born, Komal Ahmad, develops phone app to feed almost 600,000 homeless people
WEB DESK: It was 2011. Komal Ahmad had just come back from Navy summer training and was attending the University of California at Berkeley to start work on her undergraduate degree.
While she was walking near campus one fall day, a homeless man approached her, asking for money to buy food because he was hungry. Instead of giving him cash, Ahmad invited the man to lunch. As they ate, he told her his story. He was a soldier recently returned from Iraq and had a bad turn of luck.
“He’d already gone on two deployments and now he’s come back, he’s 26 and on the side of the road begging for food,” Ahmad said. “It just blew my mind.”
It bothered her so she decided to do something about it. Within a few months, Ahmad set up a program at UC Berkeley that allowed the school’s dining halls to donate excess food to local homeless shelters. That program then expanded to 140 college campuses across the US in about three years.
Ahmad, now 25 years old and CEO of a nonprofit service called Feeding Forward, is looking to expand even more into what she calls on-demand food recovery.
Through a website and mobile app, Feeding Forward matches businesses that have surplus food with nearby homeless shelters.
For complete story:
Pakistan-born, Komal Ahmad, develops phone app to feed almost 600,000 homeless people | AAJ News
Sikh girl tops matric exams in Pakistan
August 2, 2015
KARACHI: Manbir Kaur created history by becoming the first Sikh girl to top the matriculation exam in Pakistan.
Fifteen year old Manbir Kaur, a student of Shri Guru Nanak Devji High School at Nankana Sahib, scored 1035 marks out of 1100 to emerge topper.
She has been receiving messages of congratulations from people of all communities in Pakistan.
Her father said that her daughter achieved what even boys of the community could not and her hard work has paid off.
Manbir’s accomplishment is being seen as an inspiration for girls of the community fighting social prejudice to gain education and eventually and become economically independent.
Nice work from pakistani team
Best of luck
Pride of Pakistan —Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
* In lieu of Independence Day on August 14, all of August the Daily Times will highlight individuals that continue to make Pakistan proud. Our first interview is with the dynamic Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker and journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Through your work as a journalist, a documentary maker and a filmmaker, you raise your voice for many social issues. What are you most passionate about?
Whether it's in the form of print, documentaries or animation, I go after stories that give a voice to those that are not usually given the opportunity to speak for themselves. There is always more to the story than what makes it to the evening news, or what graces our headlines the next day; those stories are the ones that need to be explored in order for us to understand conflict as a social and real thing, rather than an abstract idea. The amplification of voices and the ability to connect audiences, prompt dialogue, and initiate social change are the reasons I do what I do. I view my films as active stories that come to life when they are viewed and discussed - the film is oftentimes just the first step in a much vaster and fruitful conversation. As long as my films make people uncomfortable and force them question who they are, I will continue to shed light on matters that have long been shunned and ignored.
From winning an Oscar to an Emmy, to the Hilal-e-Imtiaz to many others, what is the inspiring force behind your achievements and how has your success impacted your work?
Telling stories is a part of who I am; I have been doing it since I was a little girl. I don't think no has ever been a part of my vocabulary and I believe that if you work hard and strive for excellence, the world will appreciate your product and your efforts will be recognised. These achievements have solidified my drive to highlight more and more issues that affect marginalised populations who are caught in difficult circumstances. Receiving the Academy Award for Saving Face opened up a lot of doors for me. There was definitely a rise in expectation but this was met with an even greater increase in opportunities. People began to trust my ability to tell socially relevant stories and this gave me a lot more access to marginalised communities.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
'3 Bahadur' is Pakistan's first animated film, which is giving our children local mentors and heroes to look up to. This is one of my proudest achievements!
‘3 Bahadur’ was a story based on three brave and resilient children. Your film went on inspiring and winning the hearts of many children and adults alike. We, at Daily Times, continue to be inspired by you. Who do you consider your heroes in life?
I've been lucky enough to have many mentors in my life, but my father has always been my biggest inspiration. He raised me to never take no for an answer, and this message continues to guide my work today. There are many more people who have inspired me. When I first started at New York Times, my immediate boss over there, Ann Derry, she was a huge influence on me and continues to be a very good friend of mine. At HBO, I have an amazing mentor, also another woman, Lisa Heller who has been instrumental in helping me grow.
What does it mean to be Pakistani for you?
I am proud to be part of a country that knows resilience and finds hope during times of immense hardships. Pakistanis have an incredible spirit and I hope that people can see this side of Pakistan more.
With your Oscar-winning documentary, Saving Face, you exposed the issue of acid throwing on women in Pakistan and dedicated your award to those women. How can women in a society like ours gain independence?
‘Saving Face’ is a story about two women and the choices they make. I wanted to show what happens when one woman chooses to fight for justice and another chooses not to. You need to have a certain type of heart, a certain type of stubbornness, a certain type of desire to get justice, and in Saving Face you see that. You see the stark choices women make and the results of them. I was very inspired by the story of Zakia, a woman who was attacked by her husband when she asked him for a divorce. Zakia took the brave step of pressing charges against her husband and took the risk of moving out of his home with her daughter and son. Aided by her children, Zakia underwent treatment and fought her court case simultaneously.
I have two documentary films coming out this year: Peacekeepers, a film about Bangladeshi policewomen who are serving as peace-keeping forces in Haiti with the UN, and A Girl in the River, a film about one girl's journey to forgiveness after her father tried to kill her in the name of honour. I am also working on 3 Bahadur Part 2 which we will hopefully release next year.
What is your vision for Pakistan?
I grew up in the city of Karachi, the most diverse city in Pakistan with a population of 20 million people. As a child, I remember being able to see the multitude of identities in the city, from celebrating Christmas, to partaking in Diwali, to wishing people Happy Nauroz and Happy Easter. Our religious and ethnic identities were secondary to our firm belief in being Pakistani's first. Today, this fluid interpretation of identity has been replaced by a deep-seated fear of the, 'other'. The definition of a, 'Pakistani', is narrowing every day, with more and more people being treated as second-class citizens. I hope that Pakistan today, once again, finds our common humanity other than our superficial differences. *
"I have seen how film can transform lives and how it can impact legislation, how it can impact the communities that struggle every day"
Pride of Pakistan —Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy