Stories about ngo

Lesvos: From a tourist heaven to the ‘refugee island’ of drowned boats and lifejackets

I recently had the chance to visit Lesvos, a tiny Greek island located a few kilometres from the Turkish Riviera. This picturesque island, which was once a tourist heaven, is now commonly referred to as the refugee island, given the high influx of refugees since 2014 following the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Whilst there as a volunteer, much of my time was spent realising how borders can sometimes prove fatal.  As I visited the shores of Skala, I could see Turkey through my binoculars. While many refugee boats arrive weekly from Turkey, at one point in 2015, an average total ...

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The women of Kohistan suffer in silence as they search for water that doesn’t exist

Hazoora, a 24-year-old native of Kohistan (an arid piece of land located near Thatta), complains that her hair is falling due to transporting heavy cans of water on her head since she was eight-years-old. She travels approximately one to eight kilometres every day to fetch her share of water, and her body aches from carrying six to seven buckets of water daily for domestic needs. Even her pregnancy did not put an end to her ordeal since water is not a commodity one can live without. This is not just Hazoora’s plight, but the plight of thousands of women living in this ...

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Why isn’t anything being done about the 10,000 ghost madrassas in Sindh?

Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, has always been an epicentre of progressive political parties which keep a close check over the spread of religious militancy and violent extremism in their constituencies. Even though Sindh has been a secular and progressive region, where Sufi traditions have never let the militant mind-set prevail, the province still supports tens of thousands of madrassas (Islamic religious schools). There’s just one problem: many of these supposed madrassas don’t actually exist. A meeting, between the officials of Sindh, held in May at the chief minister’s house in the provincial capital of Karachi, was told by the inspector general ...

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“There will be no Eid here. Eid makes no difference to me”

“Eid makes no difference to me. I only wait for rain.” He answered. Standing under a rare tree shade Ali Murad Sathio waited for his turn to get water from the pump. Yes, it was true. He did not care for Eid – or any event, for that matter. It had been a few years since he stopped caring. Still, whenever someone mentioned Eid, his thoughts travelled back to the fateful Eid days, three-years-ago. His beautiful mother had prepared him for Eid day. She had managed to cook one sweet dish which was as delicious as the nectar of the heavens. Or at least that was how ...

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Udaari: Child abuse is disturbing, but it exists in Pakistan, PEMRA!

In a country where TV channels romanticise rapists and glorify them as misunderstood bad boys and heart breaking heroes; where rape scenes are beautifully choreographed and turned into pieces of art, comes a drama revolving around the issue of child abuse, Udaari.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT-TTof9v74 It is written with great sensitivity and moral courage by Farhat Ishtiaq: the maestro who gave us Humsafar and Diyaar-e-dil. It’s produced by Momina Duraid and the Kashf foundation, an NGO aiming towards the economic empowerment of low-income women. It showcases Imtiaz (Ahsan Khan) who marries his friend’s widow Sajida ‘Sajjo’ (Samiya Mumtaz) and starts developing evil intentions towards his own niece, Meeran (Urwa Hocane) and ...

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Hijrat: A step back for Pakistani cinema

Since Pakistan’s cinema industry began its journey towards improvement and development, directors began sharing unique stories through their movies. Where Na Maloom Afraad, Waar, Karachi Se Lahore, and Manto amongst others boosted the revival of Pakistani cinema, it also provided a platform for directors to display their immense talent. However, the recently released Hijrat, directed by Farooq Mengal, failed to make the same impact as it fell short in a number of areas. Simply put, the acting in Hijrat is plain, flat and mediocre. It felt as if the actors were reading the script without emotions, completely detached from their assigned characters. Moreover, the romantic scenes failed ...

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What happens when NGOs are not free from political influence?

We satiate the hungry, we heal the dying, and we are the ones who shield the weak. It plagues us and it plagues us deep. The deleterious complacence that we work hard to sustain them, we sweat and bleed – the blue elixir – those earthlings in the poorer half of the world live on. We – the development enthusiasts – are a bunch of cocksure men who presume that their exalted profession accepts them from all kinds of answerability. The sensitivity of our profession though, is such that we infect when we err and kill when we blunder. Disturbed by ...

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She stopped the Taliban from shutting down her school by offering them tea

Suppose the Taliban barge into your house or place of work, and threaten you. You would be acutely aware of the fact that your life is in danger. They could put a bullet in you before you would be able to scream. You would know what the odds of your survival are, and you’d be completely cognisant of the fact that there is no way to escape the situation. You would be tempted to do one of two things: 1. Cower under the table or lock yourself in the bathroom and pray to God you don’t die today. 2. Or, stand your ...

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“After my relatives raped me 30-40 times, it didn’t hurt anymore”

“It’s been years. I don’t feel the pain in my vagina anymore.” “But why didn’t you tell anyone?” “I was shocked. Ma used to see me bleed, but she never did anything. So, I thought it’s something to be done regularly. I was 7 then. I am 20 now.” “Since then? Till you moved out? Every day?” “Almost, till I planned to move out.” As we were sipping on some nimbu chai (lemon tea), I looked into her eyes. She had no expressions. She didn’t really care much about it. I grabbed her pack of smokes. We shared one. I noticed a faint smile on her face. “You ...

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My sister was a victim of honour killing and I demand justice!

Feudal lords have ruled over Sindh and Balochistan for centuries now. These land-owning stalwarts proudly protect their out-dated customs and traditions, without any resistance. Why? Because no one has the power or the will to stand up against them; and this has cost us many innocent lives. Recently, the case of Tahira Khoso made it to the news; she was shot in the head, in the presence of her father, brother and uncle in Jacobabad, as part of an honour killing ritual. Her husband, Waqar Umrani, shot her in cold blood after some domestic dispute took place between the couple. Umrani ...

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