Win a Chance to Represent Pakistan Internationally through Daastan!

Win a Chance to Represent Pakistan Internationally through Daastan!

This year in August, Daastan’s founder Syed Ommer Amer was selected to go on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand to take part in the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange program– a platform which brings together top young leaders from all around the Asia Pacific region. The program was organized by Urban Youth Academy (UYA) and powered by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Program

The APYE is a two-weeks intensive program that aims at increasing awareness among youth about global problems and help them develop and enhance skills to combat those problems by taking initiative. Combining activity-based learning, immersion from local communities and leadership training, APYE encourages youth to take action furthering the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Daastan in APYE-2019

The theme for this year’s APYE was Sustainable Tourism and with 116 delegates from 15 countries, the competition could not get any tougher. The participants were divided into groups and had to devise applicable solutions to address some of the most pressing problems faced by Thai villages and their inhabitants.

Daastan’s CEO, Ommer Amer, leading a group of six dedicated and hardworking individuals from different countries came up with an innovative digital toolkit to help local businesses market themselves. For their unique idea, they bagged the 2nd prize at the APYE. From a cultural perspective, the experience was rich and enabled Ommer to take part in many interactive activities such as Canal Cleaning Drive, Mini marathon and Thai Cultural Dance.   

Your Chance to Shine in APYE-2020

After the success at the intercultural exchange event, Daastan decided to go one step ahead and partner with APYE to provide an all-expenses paid trip for next year’s programme. We’re looking for dedicated entrepreneurs, aged 18-28. You should have a basic understanding of SDGs in Action and posses critical thinking skills. Fluency in English and strong leadership qualities are a must and specialized skills such as ability to code, design, paint, write, sing, play, build and plan using digital technology would secure you an edge!

You will be able to learn and train with the 2nd prize winner of APYE and leader of his group: our very own founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer for 2 days. Learning from his experience and sharpening your social entrepreneurship skills. The challenge is to win the first prize at the APYE for Pakistan! The schedule for the 2-day training is as follows:

Day 1:

  • Intro to APYE
  • Identifying Problem and Interview Ethics
  • Mock Interviews of local leaders
  • Prototyping solutions

Day 2:

  • Project Exhibition
  • Project Pitching
  • Results

Regular fee including all expenses per delegate is around $2500. However, participants trained by Daastan only have to pay a non-refundable fee of 25,000 PKR— all other expenses including air fare and lodgings will be covered by us. Moreover, you can avail an additional discount of 5000 Rs by registering by 30th Sep, 2019.

Do you have what it takes to become APYE’s champion?! If so, gear up to bring the first prize home and register now by filling out this form. For more information, you can check out our Facebook event page or leave a comment down below.  

A Tribute to the Pride of Our Country, Who Laid Down His Life for Ours

A Tribute to the Pride of Our Country, Who Laid Down His Life for Ours

Among the most fearless, most resilient creatures on earth are the soldiers of a country that fight and bleed for the protection of their beloved homeland. Over the course of 72 years, Pakistan has been no stranger to war. Today our history books are filled with countless sombre and often gruesome yet heroic accounts of our brave soldiers. We hear about them from our grandparents, watch and read through their lives, priding in their bravery; basking in their glory

The Tale of One Such Sacrifice:

One such life story is of the receiver of the Nishaan-e-Haider, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed. His is a name familiar to every man, woman and child of Pakistan. He is a national hero; an awe-inspiring leader who led a limited number of soldiers to carry out a fierce defense of the Burki area of the Lahore sector in the 1965 war with India. Despite being outnumbered and under unceasing fire from the enemy, Maj. Aziz Bhatti launched a strong, impenetrable defense against the Indian Army. Dismissing offers to rest or even see his family members in Lahore, our hero soldiered on. During an intense exchange of artillery fires between the two armies, he was hit by an enemy tank shell and embraced Shahadat.

The valiant soldier stood undaunted in the face of the raging enemy and laid down his own life to protect countless others.

Bringing his Story Back to Life:

This is the aspect of his courageous story that we are familiar with. But what most don’t know is who Maj. Aziz Bhatti was, without the title. Who he was as a person, a son, a friend. When, earlier this year, his brother Sardar Ahmed Bhatti reached out to Daastan with the intention of publishing a biography he had written about his brother, we were honored to be chosen for the task. Written from the perspective of a loving brother, the book gives an insight into previously unknown events of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life, his relationship and closeness with his brother, his life in Hong Kong as a boy before and during World War II and several unpublished, memorable pictures.

Daastan’s Role:

As a platform bent towards literary revival, Daastan strives to bring lost stories to life; stories that are worth being told and preserved. We are proud to be the means of bringing forth this heart-warming account of Maj. Aziz Bhatti’s life away from the border, to the public. The book titledRaja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Herois available on Qissa’s website and has received over-whelming responses and appreciation from all over the country on our social media.

Book Launch:

To honor the story of Pakistan’s son, a book launch ceremony is being held on the 12th of September from 14:30-17:30 at the Pakistan Academy of Letters, hosted by Daastan. On this Defence Day, as we look back to the lives of our warriors, let us seek inspiration from their courage and glean wisdom from their actions. Join us on the 12th to remember the sacrifices Maj. Aziz Bhatti has made for the protection of this beloved homeland. As we stand with the Shaheed’s family, we stand united under the slogan that kept him standing for so long, holding his own– unbroken, relentless–in front of the enemy: Pakistan Zindabad!

You can order your copy of Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: My Brother, My Hero here.

Achievement Award Presented to Mehrban Ali: Pakistan’s Youngest Writer to Achieve 50 Books

[Press Release]

On 8th July, 2019, a literary event was held at the Hyderabad Press Club, honoring the works and achievement of the young writer Mehrban Ali. At only 31 years of age, Mehrban Ali has authored a startling number of 50 successful books. His works explore religious themes and record the lives of many Islamic and historic personalities including Shams Tabraiz, Hazrat Fatima, Baba Bullay Shah, Hazrat Hussain, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal. His works also encompass the events of Islam’s most prominent battles and some religious phenomenon such as the interpretation of dreams and astrology.

Mehrban Ali is a motivational speaker, a social worker and a writer. His works can be found on his website as well as on his YouTube channel where he publishes religiously informative videos. At a young age, Mehrban Ali is a social entrepreneur and has paved the way for the upcoming young generation. 

The event was attended by many renowned names of the Sindhi and Pakistani literary industry including Naseer Mirza, Shafih Warsi and Ali Gul. Attendants wore representative Ajrak shawls and gave their views about Mehrban Ali’s work. They encouraged the young writer’s efforts and congratulated him on his achievement of writing 50 books. Mehrban Ali was acknowledged as an entrepreneurial force in the industry and a motivation for young writers all around Pakistan. His works are a milestone, especially in the Islamic literary industry and are available in both English and Urdu to reach bigger audiences.

Speaking to the audience, Mehrban Ali said that his books contain the message of love, peace and brotherhood. His works are research based and inspired by the teachings of his grandfather and great grandfather.  The audience greatly appreciated his address. Guest of Honour Salamat Feroz– a well-known Sindhi musician- termed the ceremony to be a spiritual event. At the end of the ceremony, Mehrban Ali was presented with an achievement award for being Pakistan’s Youngest Writer to achieve the publication of 50 books.

Vietnam echoes with the word Daastan!

Vietnam echoes with the word Daastan!

At the very start of the year, Daastan’s Founder Syed Ommer Amer received the very important news of having been selected as a fellow for the National SDG Bootcamp, which was happening at the National Incubation Center Islamabad. Daastan was among 22 other social enterprises chosen to be a part of the bootcamp. The workshop was concluded with a National Dialogue event titled the SDG Changemaker’s Summit, in which the winners of the bootcamp were selected, and Daastan had the honor of being one of them.

National SDG Bootcamp Winners Pakistan : Deaftawk and Daastan

What is SDG Bootcamp?

The SDG Bootcamp was a 4-day, first-of-its-kind, entrepreneurship bootcamp which happened in collaboration with DEMO and UNDP Pakistan. It selected social enterprise founders who were helping the nation achieve Sustainable Development Goals and took them through a journey of extensive training so as to enhance their pitch for funds, social impact, financial models and outreach.

Daastan Represents Pakistan in Vietnam:

After being placed as winner, Ommer was enrolled in a 3-month online program which was aimed to empower social entrepreneurs and help them establish a strong brand, along with preparing them through extensive training for the Regional Summit which was going to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam. In April 2019, the finalists and national winners of the bootcamp were flown out to participate in the Youth Co:Lab Asia Pacific Summit, codesigned by Citi Foundation and UNDP Asia Pacific, to accelerate the social enterprises and youth startups in the region of Asia Pacific.

Daastan had a lifetime opportunity, and was presented in front of more than 1000 delegates from over 20 countries. Ommer communicated how Daastan was empowering the literary community by helping writers monetize their work, and revamping the literary industry at the national level. If you are a writer who wants to get the most out of their work, you can always sign up with us on Qissa.

Syed Ommer Amer, Founder Daastan pitching on stage in Hanoi, Vietnam

With this opportunity, Daastan went global and is now actively seeking as well as collaborating with international partners, which will help the team realize their dream of using literature as a means of earning for writers and encourage social community building, in addition to paving the way for a new tomorrow free from stigma, illiteracy, conflict and intolerance. 

So, Are You #OneOftheFifty?

So, Are You #OneOftheFifty?

During the mid-summer of 2018, before Daastan Naama app was made available to the public through Google Play Store, an extensive marketing campaign was conducted on social media websites. The campaign, recorded under the hashtag of #OneOftheFifty, gained so much popularity and garnered an astonishing amount of traffic. People from all around the world wanted in on the new hit thing that was Daastan Naama, and would reach out to the team constantly to find out what it is that needed to be done to become a part of it. Speculations bloomed about who these celebrated authors were, how they were selected, and what is it that they were a part of.

The Campaign:

Creative posters were designed which had the picture and name of the author, along with the title of their work which was to appear in Daastan Naama. The posters were titled with hashtags of #Top50AuthorsYouDontKnowAbout and #OneofFifty, which created a buzz in the whole community of Daastan over what was coming. Eventually it would become clear that not only would the work of these authors be uploaded to the app, but in fact, it would be done so in the way of poetry recitals and podcasts. This innovative twist on sharing their work brought it to life, and that too in their very own voice.

Daastan Naama:

Each author in the spotlight had something unique to add to the app. The very first one was Ms. Kayenaat Hameed Khattak, an English poetess whose poem “God is Great” was chosen for the app. The next author was Ms. Dania Shah, whose Urdu humorous prose “Muhabbat ki Shadi” found its way up, followed by Urdu prose of Ms. Durre Shahwar Ali. Other English poets featured included Ms. Waneeza Zia, Ms. Momina Latif, Ms. Maryam Mr. Hassan Naqvi, Mr. Saad Ahmad, Ms. Maryam Arshad, etc. Mr. Morgan Melhuish, from the United Kingdoms, also contributed an English poem. Another very curious and pleasant feature was the addition of two Pashto poems by Ms. Spugmai Alee Khattak, and also a poetry piece in Punjabi by Mr. Abrar Nadeem, an award-winning author and script writer for PTV. A Punjabi play was contributed by Ali Usman Bajwa.

Ali Usman Bajwa contributed his Punjabi Prose for Daastan Naama

Want to have a trove of literary goodness on your phones? Download the app now!

Our Daastan, Now on Your Phones

Our Daastan, Now on Your Phones

The members of Daastan are immensely proud of the way the company has scaled beyond even their wildest imaginations. It has been such a pleasure to watch the way it inspires not only them but thousands around the country to do more, step a little ahead of the game, and bring to the stage all the creativity that was hidden in them for ages before they tapped it. Daastan doesn’t just excel at the play of words, but rather it is a digital hub of activity. It is always on the lookout for carving out niches which can help the creatives get more involved with us, and also attain greater reach for those who we have already published. It was one such drive which led us to what was to become the next big thing in Daastan.

A New Avenue:

The internet presence of Daastan started from Facebook, from where it went on to take over all of the major social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and such. What followed was Daastan’s very own website, and then, Qissa’s self-publishing portal. All of these mediums were received enthusiastically by our followers, and praised heavily in the public by the critics. Over the years, the team behind Daastan made it a point to strengthen their digital presence, providing professional and aesthetic upgrades to Qissa, and modeling space in Daastan’s website for each new venture as it came along. And so, after having mastered the internet through most of the avenues that are offered, only one was missing – a mobile application.

Daastan Naama:

It struck the team that most of their readers’ time online is spent on our phones, not PCs, and that to increase our readership and make the work of our writers readily available, we must also provide it on their phones – much like any other eBook they would be reading. And so, the team dived headfirst into bringing this idea to reality. In July of 2018, Daastan Naama finally hit Google Play Store, bursting with literary goodness that was now available just a touch away. The app’s interface was divided into two portions. One featured all the fiction published under the banner of The Stories Untold. The second was an interesting feature which had the poetry and other works of almost 50 authors, vocalized and brought to life by their own voice.

Daastan Naama, the answer to your literary needs

If you haven’t checked it out yet, download it on your mobile phones from Play Store now!

Trailblazers: The Revolutionary Writer with A Bow

Trailblazers: The Revolutionary Writer with A Bow

Coming back with another exciting feature of the Trailblazers series, where we focus on individuals of our family who spread their wings and took off towards heights previously unthought of and uncharted.  In this feature we will be writing about another graduate of the second batch of our Literary Fellowship program, Fatema Bhaiji.

Her Journey through the World of Words:

Before she joined our fellowship though, she had already made herself known and left a mark on us, by participating in and becoming one of the top finalists of The Stories Untold season two. Her story, titled “Holding her Hand”, was in perfect accordance with the theme of our story writing competition, “A War Within”. Fatema, in her book, addressed very boldly the dilemma of having feelings for an individual of the same gender, the havoc it causes on our emotions and inner stability, all the while living in a society which in no way tolerates this. Her book was put up for crowdfunding, and through the help of our community, was brought to print.

Outcast Magazine:

With this booming introduction, Fatema came to join the Editorial department of our fellowship program. Halfway through the program, while she was also pursuing her engineering degree in Sri Lanka, she came to the team with her idea of forming a queer lit magazine targeted towards the South Asian community that zeroed in on increasing the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community through art, poetry and stories.
In the beginning of the fellowship, the graduates were encouraged to pursue projects of their own and full support on behalf of Daastan was promised to them. When the time came, despite all the criticism and hate that was thrown at the team for powering a magazine of a community otherwise ostracized by all, Daastan stood strong. And so, the Outcast magazine ‘came out’ – its website was launched a little over a month after the idea was rolled out, and its first digital issue came out just a month later.

Fatema Bhaiji was invited as Panelist Speaker at the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum in Kathmandu, Nepal

Acclaim and Applause:

Outcast Magazine was later on endorsed by a global platform, i.e. Commonwealth Writers, and conducted an extension of our Stories Untold Season 4 on their forum, encouraging those from the LGBTQ+ community to put to words any abuse they might have faced, directly or indirectly. Outcast went on to announce a Micro Fiction competition of their own in collaboration with Daastan and White Falcon Publishing, and released their first issue in print the very next year. Fatema was invited to many events as a speaker, one of which was “Salzburg Global Forum” held in Nepal and powered by UNDP.

Fatema Bhaji on launching the queer literary magazine, Outcast, in Pakistan

Fatema Bhaji talks on the importance of creating media in which South Asian LGBT people could connect to, which led to the creation of Outcast, a queer literary magazine based in Pakistan.Fatema Bhaji was a participant at the latest program of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum – Advancing Legal and Social Equality in South Asia, held in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 24 to March 1, 2019.

Posted by Salzburg Global Seminar on Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Making Waves Once Again, at the Telenor Youth Forum – Landing a Spot in Top 10

Making Waves Once Again, at the Telenor Youth Forum – Landing a Spot in Top 10

Since its inception, Daastan has had a very positive history with Telenor’s different initiatives for entrepreneurs and startups. The company was selected as a part of the Telenor Velocity business accelerator program in the year of 2016, and had the opportunity to closely work with them throughout the course of the year that followed. Since then, we have been featured multiple times on the social media channels of Telenor’s various programs for our different achievements.

Telenor Youth Forum:

In August 2018, the sixth edition of Telenor Youth Forum was held in Islamabad. This initiative is held in collaboration with the Nobel Peace Center, bringing together smart minds from all over the world to develop digital solutions that curb inequalities, and in turn empower societies. The platform focuses on encouraging ideas that have high social impact and which support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forth by the UN for international development. The previous winners of Telenor Youth Forum have included renowned figures such as Saad Hamid, a digital evangelist, Fatima Rizwan, founder of TechJuice.com, Haroon Yasin, founder of Orenda & receiver of Queen’s Young Leaders Award and Sajawal Waseem.

Founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer, receiving the shield for ranking Top 10 in Telenor Youth Forum

Our Journey Through the Forum:

Over 3500 participants with unique ideas applied for the top spot in the platform, and pitched in front of various highly qualified individuals of the industry. Daastan’s founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer’s presentation elaborated how there was a severe dearth of opportunities for the citizens of our country to showcase their work, and all that Daastan had done in building a digital infrastructure for the literary industry of Pakistan. With Daastan’s digital portal Qissa, and its newly launched mobile app Daastan Nama, the company had been successful in reaching hundreds of creatives and helping them bring their work forward to be shared with the world. Daastan was ranked top 10 in the competition, and was featured on many of Telenor’s platforms for its achievement. 

Rooting Out the Local Talent by Launching Our Very First Punjabi Writing Competition

Rooting Out the Local Talent by Launching Our Very First Punjabi Writing Competition

Daastan’s vision for the revival of literature was never limited to the widely used language English, nor was it bound to our national language Urdu. In fact, when Daastan launched its Qissa self-publishing portal, it was one of the very first forums to recognize the need for an online tool that allows users to upload their works in regional languages such as Pashto and Punjabi. After that, the team worked hard to bring on board specialists that would help us realize the dream of thousands of writers, and breathe life back into the literature of such languages, that were heaving its last breaths. And so, Daastan finally upgraded its tool into one that accepted most of the regional languages of Pakistan.

Likh Punjabi:

To further this idea, Daastan in collaboration with Punjabi Parchar, launched its very first Punjabi Writing Competition by the name of “Likh Punjabi”. Punjabi Parchar is a hub of intellectuals from the Punjabi community, that works exclusively for the preservation and promotion of Punjabi literature, art and culture. The editor of Punjabi at Daastan, Ali Usman Bajwa, helped bring them on board with us – and he also took lead on Likh Punjabi and became project manager for the module. Such a competition being held in the language which is very dear to his heart was his lifelong dream, and in Daastan the team is willing to work day and night to bring the dreams of their family to reality.

Dream Turned Reality:

Likh Punjabi became an excellent initiative to revive and rebrand Punjabi literature. It helped us reach the legendary authors who, even in this day and age, refused to part with their ancestral language. Due to this movement, we got the opportunity to work with Punjabi authors, helping them digitize their stories and tales, and preserve their work so that it could reach lands as far and wide as they wished.

Qissa Acquires the Membership of a Business Person

Qissa Acquires the Membership of a Business Person

Daastan has had the honor of knowing, providing services to, and publishing various distinguished personalities from all across Pakistan. All of them have been working in one or another innovative way to help our country summit mountains, helping our knowledge and economy move forward by leaps and bounds. To be trusted by these individuals and to be able to fulfill their criteria of an effective service is the reason that Daastan has grown exponentially. The latest in the list of such personages was Hassan Mueez – a business man who was also highly educated from a school that was held in very high esteems not only in Pakistan, but all over the world.

Hassan’s Journey:

Belonging to an otherwise underdeveloped area of Punjab, Burewala, Hassan had the extraordinary passion of reading and writing. From the start, it seems, he knew how to get ahead, and it was this quality of his which eventually lead him to pursue and complete his master’s degree from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). After his graduation, he moved back to his hometown and started his very own business, launching a rice factory by the name of Al Majeed Rice Factory.

His Secret to Success:

The book that he chose to publish digitally through Daastan, on our Qissa portal, fell in the genre of self-help and was titled “Fear Management”. A strong believer in the word of God, Hassan introduced a way to handle and even get the most out of our fears, proving to both ourselves and the world that we cannot be held back by something that resides only in our minds. The book approaches the topic with a practical mindset, providing accurate explanations regarding where these feelings stem from and how to outsmart them. Hassan’s book was later also published on Amazon Kindle.

Fear Management, authored by Hassan Mueez, and published by Daastan
Rounding Up the South Asian Literati through Stories

Rounding Up the South Asian Literati through Stories

Come the summer of 2018, having just successfully conducted a ground breaking season of The Stories Untold, Daastan teamed up with a few others who were also in the race to bring quality literature to their readers. Since its inception, Daastan and Qissa had scaled, and eventually launched a writing competition which was dubbed Literati. The team was once again taking not only Pakistan by storm, but were also slowly but surely taking over the world too. And so, to bring another round of thought-provoking stories that made one bite their nails with the anticipation of what was coming next, which would eventually lead to an unavoidable heartbreak on the part of the reader as the story would slowly draw to a close, we opened the award for participants from all over South Asia.

Literati Micro Fiction:

Literati was brought to the public in collaboration with White Falcon Publishing, a company that provided the services of self-publishing much the same way as us and encouraged quality literature to find its way to the surface, but across the border in India. Another collaborator of the micro story writing competition was Outcast, a queer lit magazine which was founded by a graduated Literary Fellow of Daastan. The authors of the micro fiction award were given a time period of one month, in which they were to write short stories with no more than 2500 words on the themes of “The Fifth Rivulet” and “Mosaiced Souls”. The themes themselves were enough to get any true storyteller thinking and dreaming in their world of imagination, spinning and weaving tales which would eventually find their way to our screens.

Daastan, in collaboration with White Falcon Publishing and Outcast Magazine, launches Literati Competition

The Result:

The award was closed a month after its launch, and all the partners were delighted to received more than a hundred submissions of gripping and awe-inspiring literature. The submissions were all carefully reviewed, and the top 20 were selected. These finalists would receive the exciting prize of seeing their work go into print, along with exclusive opportunities to further their career as a writer.

[Results] We are pleased to announce that the management team of LITERATI 2018 comprising of Daastan, White Falcon Publishing and Outcast Magazine congratulates the finalists.We received around 100 submissions from all over South Asia and after carefully reviewing each submission, we are pleased to announce that we now, finally have the TOP 20.These authors will be getting their stories published in PRINT, sponsored by WHITE FALCON PUBLISHING. We have lot of awesomeness coming up in next few weeks.It was a pleasure having you all. We will be back next year in June 2019. Till then adios.#Daastan #WhiteFalconPublishing #Outcast #Literati #SouthAsianAward #MicroFiction #PrintPublishing #WritingEvent #Competition

Posted by Daastan on Sunday, August 5, 2018

Ours is a mission to put a book in every hand, join us now to to become a part of our community of readers and writers.

Our Journey from a Handful of People – to Twenty Thousand Strong!

Our Journey from a Handful of People – to Twenty Thousand Strong!

Only three short and sweet months into the launch of Qissa, Daastan’s Facebook family grew to ten thousand strong. It was a momentous achievement for us. Not only were we touching the lives of thousands of people offline, but our reach had also crossed the 5-digit mark. The team that worked day and night felt invincible, and were aiming for heights that grazed the highest of mountains and then went a bit further. Along with the feeling of happiness though was attached a feeling of responsibility. The executives of the company understood that from then onward, each post that they would make and every little thing they would share with their community would have to be one which contributed positively in the life of all their readers.

What our Facebook Featured:

And thus, began the second phase in the journey of Daastan growing its Facebook family. The page not only served as the central social media hub for Daastan, apart from its websites, but was also used as a breaking-news room for the company. It would feature all the news of happenings from both inside and outside Daastan, letting their community know about each of their achievements. The crowd funding campaigns that Daastan became famous for, and which helped bring the work of their authors to print, were also all held on Facebook.

It served as a way for the company to interact with their community, and eventually social media representatives were hired that would post questions and anecdotes that helped keep the conversation flowing. Daastan also utilized this resource by sharing each and every opportunity that came their way through their friends, and made it a platform to watch out for if someone was on the lookout for openings. Daastan coined its very own hashtags such as AchievementUnlocked, which was later adopted by many companies for sharing their accomplishments with their social media gang. And so, a couple years after the first monumental breakthrough in the numbers of followers, Daastan saw that their reach had doubled to twenty thousand. Looking back now, it seems that it wasn’t only their numbers that grew so remarkably, but also their impact. 
Want to keep up with all the exciting news and opportunities? Follow us on our Facebook page!

Trailblazers: The Girl Who Penned Her Way to Stardom

Trailblazers: The Girl Who Penned Her Way to Stardom

It was William Shakespeare who said that, “Some are born great, while others achieve greatness”. For the young girl Lareb Soomro, we at Daastan believe it might be both.
Being able to bring our author’s writings to print, and in turn their long pinned after dream to reality, is one of the most fulfilling feelings we have ever as a company witnessed. From our Founder to our Editors and Designers, we all hold our breath and stare in awe as each piece finds its way to the racks of Qissa. Every once in a while, however, there comes along an author whose story of having gotten where they are now and achieved all that we can see is so grand that the feeling of awe becomes tenfold.

Book Launch of Lared Soomro, held under Literary Evenings Vol. 2

Our Previous Stars:

We first felt this way when our youngest author from Peshawar got crowdfunded to bring her book to print. This year we have Lareb Soomro – a 15-year-old teenager who has had the honor of being the fastest crowdfunded author of Daastan from Sindh. She raised an amount of 15,000 PKR in a record-breaking time of only three days, which would bring her book “The Secrets of Spring”, co-authored by Sajal Shaikh, to print.

The Author’s Journey:

Lareb’s story of greatness didn’t start when she published her book, in fact they began the day she came into this world. She was born in the small town Larkana, which is filled to the brim with history of resilience and courage, and she became another who would contribute to the legacy. She was born with a genetic defect that required her to go into surgery in the tender age of 3 months. And after she grew up, in her early teens she faced and survived a road accident that left scars on her face. She was haunted by criticisms and taunts, which followed her all the way to her passion of writing, for which she was continually discouraged. She stood strong in the face of everything, and finally published her book through Daastan, proving that she had everything that it took to aim for the skies.

Rising to Stardom:

The book made her a celebrity. She was interviewed by 14 news outlets for her story, and even offered the role of a news anchor at Larkano News HD. She believes in facing her demons face first, and encourages all her readers to find solutions for their problems instead of giving up.

[TRAILBLAZERS] Presenting you second episode of trailblazers where we showcase Daastan's social impact on community. See how we are challenging the status quo and providing authors the platform through which they can chase their dreams.Our second trailblazer is Lareb Soomro from Larkana, Sindh who was born with a genetic defect and underwent a facial surgery at the age of three months.In her early teens, she survived a fatal road accident which left permanent scars on her face. Despite of immense social pressure, taunts and criticism she pursued her passion to write and ultimately published at age of 15 to become Sindh's youngest published author.Her debut book 'The Secrets of Spring' is a horror novel which showcases the creativity of a teenage girl. Using Daastan's platform, Lareb was able to raise 25,000 PKR in a week through pre-orders to publish 100 copies of her work.Her book made her an overnight star. 14+ news outlets covered her story. She was also offered a role of TV anchoring in her hometown, Larkana by Larkano News HD.Her story explains that there is nothing out there which is NOT possible. We can always get what we want, provided that we put in enough effort and show resilience. Life is unfair and we must get used to it.Our #EmergingStar Lareb is currently writing the second part of the story which will be out in 2019. If you believe in what we do and want to support us then place an order of her hard copy @ https://www.meraqissa.com/book/342Price: 500 PKR#Daastan #EmergingStar #TrailBlazer #LarebSoomro #Larkana #Sindh

Posted by Daastan on Thursday, July 5, 2018

Want to be Daastan’s next sensation? Sign up and make a profile on Qissa and upload your work right away to get the process started!

Shining a Light on Mental Health – Qissa Brings to Print Its First Book on Schizophrenia

Shining a Light on Mental Health – Qissa Brings to Print Its First Book on Schizophrenia

With Qissa nearing its second anniversary soon, and having published more than 200 books in 13 genres, written by authors spread out all over the world with active participation from 17 countries, Daastan happened upon a gem of a find. It came in the shape of Ms. Ramsha Babar, a doctor to be who had written a book about mental health, or more specifically schizophrenia, and wanted to publish it via Qissa.

Qissa Becomes the Hub of Previously Unvoiced Stories:

Over the years, our major focus in terms of the content we published had been to ensure that the whatever work we received was, first of all, of premium quality. Along with that, another one of our chief concerns was to publish content that challenged the wrong conventions in our society and delivered stories of the exceptions who not only stood their ground against these horrors, but also helped others by raising their voice and spreading awareness about it. It was due to this very reason that Daastan recurrently launched The Stories Untold with themes that forced people to pause and think about our maligned traditions that transgressed against basic human rights. Qissa featured books about the abused, the ostracized, and the discarded, to humanize them and in turn help them make a place for themselves in this society

Humanizing Schizophrenia:

With her book Broken Winged Birds”, Ms. Ramsha helped us further our cause. The book, inspired from her personal life, highlighted the symptoms and behavior of a person suffering from the dreadful condition of schizophrenia, and above all brought to light the fact that they could be treated and cured. The protagonist, after seeing visions and losing consciousness for a few days, finds herself in a mental health institution, only to discover that her family has given her up for lunacy. The book is a roller coaster ride in which all the essential components of one’s life; religion, science, society and the stigmas regarding mental health we have to wade through every day, are brought to the front and seamlessly woven into a tale of education and awareness. Her work is carefully written combining technical medical knowledge with literature.

The novel, after raising 20,000 PKR, was brought into print just a few months after the author got in touch with us. It was later on featured on platforms such as Doctor’s Tribune, and The Humorists, who applauded the effort of the writer and her work. 

If you have an expert’s opinion on a topic and want to share it with the world, reach out to us at Daastan and we will help propagate your voice to the masses.

Daastan’s Core Team Turning Heads and Inspiring Awe

Daastan’s Core Team Turning Heads and Inspiring Awe

If there is one thing that Daastan’s founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Ammer, has always praised and even boasted about, it has been about how he is blessed to have a team that is exceptional in all their skills, singular in passion, and absolutely awe inspiring when it comes to helping Daastan get ahead in all areas and mold it into a company that surpasses all expectations associated with it. Mr. Ommer attributes Daastan’s continuous success to his brilliant team, that never fails to amaze him and has never let him down.

Ms. Mahnoor Naseer:

The first core member we will celebrate here is Mahnoor Naseer. Mahnoor’s journey with Daastan began when she applied to be a part of the debut batch of the Literary Fellowship. Throughout the fellowship, she showed more than enough potential, and on graduating she proved it too, when she launched a global digital platform for artists to share their work, called “The Ancient Souls”. She helped Daastan set up their operations across the border in India, and eventually rose to the level of Editor in Chief with her constant struggles to aid Daastan on its journey towards legendary heights. An electrical engineer by profession, she has never let her degree limit her to one field of expertise and has self-taught herself to be a storyteller, a poet, and a transcriptionist. Recently, she has had the honor of being selected as a Citizen Historian for the 1947 Partition Archive, which is a non-governmental and non-political organization working on the preservation and archival of the stories of people who were displaced in the 1947 partition.

Ms. Mahnoor Naseer

Ms. Momina Latif:

The second member to be brought to the spotlight is Momina Latif, the design lead at Daastan, who is also Co-founder Jadugar and co., a company which provides corporate design solutions to products and brands. She is the brains and creative head behind most of the book covers published through Qissa, and has provided Daastan with some sensational social media designs over the years. She has been selected as a mentee for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a program held in London which gives professional training to help develop women’s small, and medium enterprises into growing sustainable empires. She will be receiving training from the world’s best entrepreneurs in the world, who will teach her how to unlock her hidden potential and scale to newer heights.

Ms. Momina Latif selected as a mentee in Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Ms. Sidra Amin:

The last, but essentially the most important one, is Sidra Amin. To sum her up in just a few lines would not be possible, but to name a few of her accomplishments – she is the Co-Founder Daastan, the person who has put piece upon piece together to bring the company where it stands now. She is also Co-Founder Words and Metaphors, KPK’s first spoken word platform, as well as Co-Founder Peshawar Book Club, which holds monthly meetings and discusses each book chosen in depth. She is a mechatronics engineer by profession, and an expert at surprising everyone with all that she can achieve. She has lately been interviewed by Dergi, a lifestyle magazine which has a reach of more than 5000 across social media. In the interview, she talks about her inspirations, and how to create the magic that we see sparking off of her. She has also been invited as a speaker of the WomenWill panel at BizFest Peshawar.

Ms. Sidra Amin, invited as a speaker in Peshawar BizFest 2018