Finding a solution to Pakistan’s ‘log kya kahenge’ syndrome
I am sure that most of you are well aware of Disney’s Oscar winning animated feature Frozen . What you are probably not aware of, however, is the fact that it could easily have been the creation of a Pakistani production house because Mir Zafar Ali, one of the animators behind the film, is Pakistani.
In the past few decades, Pakistan has witnessed a major brain-drain; we have seen many talented individuals move to greener pastures in search of better employment prospects in their relevant fields of interest. Of course, there are those who haven’t given up on their dreams because of the lack of growth in careers that inspire them. In an attempt to prevent this ‘brain-drain’ many have confined their career choices to only a selected few. Doctors, engineers, teachers, bankers, lawyers, accountants and civil services are all occupations that are enthusiastically encouraged, but anything beyond them is considered a fantasy.
There is a lack of opportunities in unconventional fields and many social stigmas attached to these fields too, as lacking stability, a steady income, invariable working hours, not so prestigious. And then there are parental concerns too about practicality, marriage and supporting their families. In a country where the “loge kya kahenge” factor also plays a large role while making career decisions, immensely talented young individuals keep looking for a platform to showcase their talent and fulfill their dreams one day. The youth is in dire need of moral support, expert advice and economic incentives, not only to live their dreams but to dream bigger.
Djuice’s “Apportunity” is one such platform for students, tech start-ups and app developers in Pakistan to create and present their own apps. In 2011, Telenor Pakistan launched this competition to support students and mobile application developers from Pakistan to create mobile apps and get them published online. These apps are published on Nokia Ovi Store, Apple AppStore, and Android Marketplace for people around the world to download and enjoy. The aim is to promote apps development in Pakistan and to encourage young individuals to showcase their talent in the online and e-commerce arena.
Most recently, Apportunity 2014 received 110 submissions in 11 distinct categories from 28 cities across Pakistan. ‘Team Amplifiers’ won the competition for developing ‘Project AMP’ which they describe as a “solution to transform a mobile phone and a Bluetooth headset into an economically programmable hearing-aid device”. The winning app was represented at Digital Winners Global App Developer Challenge 2014 in Oslo.
Apportunity 2015 is bigger and better than ever before, giving applicants the freedom to pursue their dreams, create new applications with support and mentoring from djuice and Apportunity’s partners that include reputed technology companies. The Apportunity contest offers exciting prizes and the winner in the ‘Education’ category gets a chance to win a colossal sum of $13,000 in order to kick-start their dream ventures. And that’s not it; along with the cash prize they are given the opportunity to attend the Global Digital Conference in Thailand in September 2015! Submissions in the education category may pertain to toddler or advanced education, learning facilitation for the disabled, distance education or any other area of focus in education.
All those, not inclined towards education, don’t be disappointed because there is also a cash prize of $8.000 for other categories. Other categories include entertainment, health, Internet of Things (IoT), communication and governance. National winners in any of the other categories can win up to Rs200,000. The national runner up wins Rs150,000 and Rs100,000 is the prize money for the third position. Winners for each category wins Rs50,000. Basically there is something for everybody! Participants can sign up for Apportunity 2015 by logging on to the djuice website.
This is your chance to cease the opportunity you were looking for. It is your gateway to presenting your App at national and international platforms, and having your App hosted at the Telenor Apps Store, and you can monetise it through In-App purchases!
This is a great opportunity for talented individuals to come up and show the world that Pakistan has some amazing minds and we have the power, knowledge and ability to compete with world-class achievers. This is your opportunity to show your parents, society, peers, teachers and most importantly prove it to yourself– that you can’t just fix technology, you can create it.
We should all appreciate this initiative of recognizing local talent and be a part of it. Personally I’m very excited to showcase my talent. Aren’t you? May the best app win!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.