#WeToo is Daastan’s Story Writing campaign based on Sexual and Reproductive health issues. The aim behind this campaign is to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in Pakistan. In many countries including Pakistan, discussing Sexual and Reproductive health issues is considered a taboo. Seeking medical help is out of question for many. A huge amount of people living in Rural areas lack even the basic knowledge regarding SRHR. Story writing is a powerful tool to help spread awareness. We are thankful to our writers who always participate enthusiastically in our campaigns and invite you all to be a part of our cause.
What is SRHR and #WeToo?
#WeToo is the name of our story writing campaign. It derives its meaning from the context of #metoo – sexual harrasment campaign. #WeToo focuses on how men and women are not allowed to share their sexual and reproductive health issues simply because it is considered shameful. SRHR stands for Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. Sexual health is the physical, mental and social security of men and women. Sexual rights are the rights associated with one’s sexuality,sexual privacy and pleasure. Each one of us has a right to make descisions for ourselves. Marriage does not give your partner the right to dictate your sexual life and this needs to be accepted and respected.
Reproductive health rights are the basic rights to decide for your reproductive capability. Deciding when and if to have children is your right. Couples should be allowed to mutually decide and carry out family planning. Seeking medical help and consultation and not being discriminated against for doing so is also part of your reproductive rights.
Details of #WeToo
We are looking for authentic stories that highlight the harsh realities we face in Pakistan. Domestic abuse, marital rape, having no consent in family planning, being harrased online by threats to leak your private information or pictures on the internet are all around us. We witness these stories on a day to day basis but in whispers and private chats. By bringing these stories to the forefront, we want to show support to the victims and make the perpetrators feel threatened. We hope to educate our public on what their rights are so that next time they are being shamed, they know how to defend themselves.
Word limit for the story writing competition is 1500-2000 words. You can have a look at the themes and submit your stories on this link. If you support our cause and want to be a part of something meaningful, sign up with us today and play your part. Every voice matters!
Covid-19 has transformed our daily routine. From going out for groceries to important business meetings, it is all new to us. Staying home during lockdown has proven frustrating for some yet brought out good in many too. Having time to reflect has boosted creativity and performance in a lot of us. While many offices find it hard to manage their teams online, Daastan has had to face nearly no change at all! Yes you read that right. We have had to change none of our working habits, rather improved even more. Want to know the secret to our growing success? Keep scrolling!
Combating Covid-19 – Da’Knights On A Mission!
Team Daastan, better known as Da’Knights, work in a virtual office since day 1. Our team of diverse and talented individuals are spread across Pakistan. From Islamabad to Peshawar, Lahore and Hyderabad, our team operates from all corners of the country. We know its unusual, we know it seems unrealistic, but trust us when we say this, our team is more supportive and helpful then any office in the country. Online meetings were our norm. Through automation and digitalization, we have equipped our team in all spheres of work. So when lockdown happened, we were ready to take action!
Daastan’s Work From Home Approach
Perhaps the only difference we faced during the present Covid-19 is a shift from ‘work-from-anywhere’ to ‘work-from-home’. We talked to our CEO Mr. Ommer Amer about how he manages a virtual office. Read his comments below:
Q. How does Daastan manage remote-working? Has it ever affected your performance or been a hurdle for growth?
We use digital collaboration tools to track and plan work. Furthermore, since our team is relatively small, we follow a flat communication structure. Everyone assigns each other tasks and speaks directly. A central database with task lists segregated on a weekly, quarterly and annual basis helps in keeping everyone aligned to company’s goals.
Umm, yes, sometimes it does become an issue because of power outage or internet connectivity but since we keep everything planned and structured, it doesn’t cause much problem.
Being far from each other, how do you make sure your team maintains work harmony?
We have a very strict hiring process where we make sure that people who really live and breathe literature are chosen for the roles. We take passion, punctuality and honesty very seriously. Anyone lacking any of these three traits will never make it into the team. Once they land in, then it’s just a matter of time when a debate on a book starts and then we all jump in like voracious readers.
Tell us the challenges you faced while establishing a virtual office.
Our early years were super tough, primarily because I had limited experience in running an actual business and ensuring that we generate cash and pay team. Creating value for which people pay is a challenge. We tried to manage things using google docs and excel sheets, sometimes on emails. We tried tonnes of stuff but everything failed. Some tools were good but the team couldn’t adapt to them and what our team would adapt with was either too expensive for us to afford or too cumbersome to scale. Finally, after many iterations, we settled with Hubspot, ZohoMail, Weekdone and Timedoctor.
What are the benefits of working in a virtual office?
It is cost effective and easily scalable. What I really love is that it brings accountability and transparency in the company’s culture. Everyone knows what others are working on and how much they are contributing in the company. It’s a win win for everyone.
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Covid-19 has had a huge impact on human life. Health and economy however, are not the only key areas that are suffering. In a country like Pakistan where we were already struggling to increase literacy rates, Online schooling has further aggravated the situation. The private/public system divide is sharper than ever. Social media is flooded with parents asking each other to find the perfect solution for home-schooling their children. To make this quest easier for you parents, Daastan has come up with a number of online-schooling options that majority of the parents suggested online.
Top 4 Online Schooling Platforms In Pakistan
Our research team took rounds of social media. We read posts from parents, fished through the comment sections and came up with a small list of what appears to be the most authentic online schooling options available for you. In no order, here are the 4 online teaching platforms that you should try for your kids!
Robo Minors offer coding courses that enable your children to think critically, learn problem-solving and take actions independently. Machine language is an essential skill for the next generation. Equip your children with relevant knowledge and skills to prepare them for tomorrow.
2. Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids provide a Free teaching programme designed to promote learning in a fun manner. Targeting children aged 2 to 7, Khan Academy courses are diverse and cover the wide range of interests your child could possibly develop.
IXL offers learning programs from Pre-kindergarten to grade twelve. They have a variety of skills for each standard. A comprehensive curriculum is designed to make sure your child develops a good understanding of all fields of knowledge.
4. Educational Resource Development Center (ERDC)
ERDC, based in Karachi offers learning programs for children and training programs for parents and teachers. Through training parents and teachers, they allow them to better understand the educational needs of today’s children and help them teach their own kids at home during quarantine.
This is a resource for all those seeking to educate their children at home. However, we must not forget the fact that our children will have no bright future in a country where 50% of the population remains un-educated. We understand that parents are concerned about the education of their children, but we by no means imply that this is a viable solution. Families who cannot afford online schooling must be catered to, in order to ensure a bright future for our country.
For more resources and information regarding education, learning or publishing, Join Daastan today and be a part of our community. Let us grow together!
Good writers are always known for their writing skills. Many writers have tremendous stories to tell but only a good story-teller with a polished writing style will find their way to the reader’s heart. The Pakistani publishing industry is growing at an incredible pace. However, as publishers, we come across beautiful stories that lack communication and skill. It is always the hardest task to reject a brilliant story that is not well-written. For this very reason, Daastan has worked out a perfect plan for you to improve your writing skills! Grab a pen and paper, and start the exercise today!
Your Go-to ‘Writing Skills‘ Work-out Plan!
1. Warm Up the brain!
Your mind needs experiences to store new information. Human beings learn from the social memory that they build through interactions with others. Your writing skills require the same warm up. Read! Before jumping off to experimentation, make sure you have the required equipment. Read as much as you can and learn different writing techniques. Reading more will help you differentiate between a good book and a boring one. Identify what keeps you glued to the book and then use that trick to catch your reader. Is your brain active enough now? Great, because its time for you to jog!
2. Onto The Jog..
This is your time to build up that stamina. Hold on to all you have gathered from reading and start applying. Begin with the grammar skills. Tiny mistakes can leave a lasting impression. Your warm-up stage will help you a lot here. Since your memory is fresh with the reading, you are exactly at the right jogging track! (Pun intended) Secondly, don’t forget to look out for your imagination. Your reader needs to explore the universe created within your story. For that, you need to explore it first. Map out your story, characters and situations. Measure each tiny detail intricately. You are the creator of your story. Make sure you leave no loopholes. If you begin with an idea in your story, do not leave it hanging. Reach a conclusion and inject it into your reader.
3. Squat Out Your Expression!
Learning to write well? Why not show it off? Once you have a grip over your grammar, its time to pull the reader deeper into your universe. Work on your descriptions. Talk about each and everything you can to paint the most realistic image. Use your creativity and characterize your surroundings. Make the reader immerse themselves in your story. If you talk about the wind, describe how cool or hot it is. Is it dancing or swinging softly? Use the auditory senses and talk about the whistling sound your wind is making. In short, let your reader feel and view what they are reading.
4. Stretch And Chill
The last stage of your exercise is the most crucial one. You can’t leave your warmed-up body just like that. You need to stretch and let it cool down. Similarly, your draft needs stretching. Proof read your text over and over again. Check for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and discard any unnecessary details. The more you read your draft the better you can fix it. Imagine being the reader and explore your story. Make the most of this stage because once you publish or submit your manuscript, you immediately leave your impression.
Great Job, your writing skills are coming in shape! Try out this easy and simple workout plan to get fit in what you do best. Once your manuscript is ready, Daastan will help you design, publish and market it. So start working out today and reach out to us for technical assistance at any time. We are just a click away!
Pakistan’s publishing industry is growing at a fast pace. Among the few things that limit our development, resources for writers is at the top of the list. Daastan is working tirelessly to produce and provide resources for writers so as to better equip them in writing. Through extensive research, our team has produced a number of programs that can help writers in writing and publishing their work. From brainstorming to financial support – we have got your back!
Resources for Writers
Here are 3 main resources for writers that we are currently offering :
1. Book Writing Course
We offer a customized book writing course as per your needs. In a one-to-one session, twice or thrice weekly, we help writers with all the basic and advanced book writing skills that they require. It may start from scratch with basic writing and grammar skills, or simple editing and story narration skills, depending upon individual needs. We cater to all sorts of writers with whatever level of learning they may choose.
2. Book Resources/Book Recommendations
At Daastan, we firmly believe in reading to improve writing. Good writers are always good readers. However, one thing good readers are always short of, are book recommendations. Through our Instagram, we feature weekly book recommendations with the hashtag#recommendaweekend. Secondly, we are building a book resource with the best book recommendations for readers of all types. The book resource will cater to three bands of readers, Level 1 being beginners and Level 3 – mature readers. The resource will also be divided into genres so that readers can choose the best suited book for themselves.
Another vital resource that Daastan offers is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the process through which Daastan appeals readers to pre-order your book before it is printed, to cover the printing expenses. With Pre-order money, the book goes into print and the writer does not have to worry about printing costs. Daastan has currently published a dozen books through crowdfunding. If your manuscript is ready, nothing can halt your book from getting published!
If you are a writer who is looking for the first step to begin your journey as an author, we are the perfect choice for you. From writing to funding and publishing, we take care of all your needs. Sign up with us today and never stop dreaming!