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

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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

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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

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. 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
Qissa Goes Groovy; An Internationally Renowned Music Artist Joins Us

Qissa Goes Groovy; An Internationally Renowned Music Artist Joins Us

In May of the year 2018, we were joined by an internationally acclaimed scholar and content creator on Qissa. Over the years, due to Qissa, we had gotten the opportunity to meet and professionally cater to hundreds of intellectuals from all across Pakistan, and a year into operations, we even started welcoming those from abroad. It always was and still remains a moment of pride for us when well-known and celebrated personalities trust us with their life’s work, and give us the opportunity to supply to them any services they might need.

“Inspired Discourses”:

Such was the case of Mr. Aadil Farook, a non-commercial music artist celebrated worldwide for his work, and one who already had an international publication, brought his work to Qissa. He listed his book titled “Inspired Discourses”, an exceptional piece of writing that renewed for the readers the traditions and heritage of Islamic intellectuality, bringing it into the spotlight to be debated over and discussed again. His writing brought forward the abundance of rich Islamic knowledge, in all schools of thoughts including but not limited to legality, theology, philosophy, as well as mysticism. His literary achievements were not limited to this book, rather he was also an author of two other books of Islamic poetry. All of his books have received excellent reviews from all around the world.

Inspired discourses by Aadil Farook

The Author’s Journey:

His artistic abilities were not limited to writings. In fact, he was also known for his 6 songs and 1 instrumental composition which had been aired on top FM stations across Pakistan, and could easily be compared in quality to the legends of music themselves. Mr. Aadil owned a website on his own name that he ran himself, and was eventually nominated for the British Muslim Awards, a highly prestigious award that honored the successes of Muslims residing in Britain. His list of achievements also includes translations of two books, authored by a mystic and Sufi, from Urdu to English, making it widely available for the world. Due to his exceptional accomplishments, he has been likened to Allama Muhammad Iqbal. 

From the High Mountains of Kashmir to Sun Beaten Valleys of Punjab, We Capture the Stories of All

Our journey as one of the only reliable and quality assured self-publishing platforms in Pakistan has been an extraordinarily rewarding one. We have been the choice of so many brilliant storytellers from all across the country, and even beyond, as authors from over 17 countries across the globe have chosen Qissa to publish their work till now. Our platform now features stories in more than two languages, and 13 genres. The way Qissa scaled and became global in the span of just a couple years stunned us, and heartened us even more, to keep pursuing our dream of providing publishing services that were easier, faster, cheaper, and helped us materialize the dreams of our writers.

Our History:

During all this time, we have also had the opportunity to discover young potential, and have published storytellers as young as 19 years old from KPK, and 15 years old from Sindh. Both the writers received extra special marketing from the forum of Daastan, and so reading their stories, many others were inspired to make history as well.

Youngest Author from Punjab:

Another such whiz-kid was Ms. Sameen Irshad, who published her book “My Were-Story” at the age of 14, becoming the youngest author published through Daastan from Punjab. Her novel was 50,000 words long, and for a teenager it was extremely well written. The novel was based on the fantasy genre, featuring real life and legendary myths of werewolves. The team campaigned extensively for her crowdfunding, bringing her story to print.

A 14 year old, Ms. Sameen, authors a 50,000 words novel – My Were- Story

The Next Khalid Hosseini:

Next in line came the youngest author of Kashmir, a 22-year old lady named Ms. Ayesha Siddique, who wrote a story based in Afghanistan titled “The Freezing Point”, with eerily accurate imagery and use of Pashto language for someone who had neither visited the country, nor could speak the language. Her novel was remarkable in its writing style as it brought to mind the approach of the best-selling author Khalid Hosseini. It was a heart wrenching coming of age story, that highlighted the way terrorism and extremism had ravaged what was before a country that housed beauty that left the mind reeling. The author’s work was brought to print through crowdfunding, and her experience with Daastan was so amazing that she immediately set about to writing a second book, which she envisioned to publish on Qissa again, when it was ready. 

Ms. Ayesha becomes our youngest author from Kashmir
Jostling the Crowds by Staying on Top of the Start Up Game: The Wining of Preston University Startup Cup

Jostling the Crowds by Staying on Top of the Start Up Game: The Wining of Preston University Startup Cup

Over the years Daastan has had the honor of being the recipient of many different awards given by both big and small sources. The achievements have included but have not been limited to qualifying as far as the top 25 in the Pakistan Startup Cup, being featured in Inventory of Digital Technologies for Resilience in Asia- Pacific, and winning the SATHA Innovation Award – to name just a few. Each accomplishment brought with itself resources or opportunities that laid bare the way to the next, and so the list of trophies kept on increasing.

The Preston University Cup:

One such award that found its way to the hands of our team, was the Preston University Startup Cup. In the May of 2018, Preston University Islamabad organized its 6th successive national Inter University business plan competition called “Preston Entrepreneurial Challenge” and opened its gates to almost a hundred students from all across Pakistan to bring their innovative idea to the forefront. The teams that applied for the prestigious award not only included private university students, but also those belonging to public universities to ensure everyone got a fair chance to exhibit their product or idea. Of 237 entries, only 31 were selected for the grand finale and invited to the university. The event itself had various challenges so that one clear winner could rise to the top. Daastan stood singular among all, and was awarded Preston University’s first ever Startup Cup.

Daastan’s Founder Mr. Syed Ommer Amer, holding the Preston Startup Cup

Daastan Stands Tall:

The purpose of this event was to provide a platform to the rising entrepreneurs of country, and help them exhibit their ideas to some of the most expert minds in the domain so they could provide technical guidance, as well as to investors for seed money. Daastan exhibited Qissa, and pitched in front of jury members from both private sectors such as SA Consulting Private Limited and government sector, like Ignite. The contest was sponsored by more than ten different brands and businesses. The chief guest of the competition was President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Amir Waheed, and the event was organized under the distinguished leadership of Mr. Shuja Humayun, the Director Entrepreneurship at Preston University.

Want to keep yourself updated about Daastan’s latest achievements? Follow our Facebook page!

Utilizing Stories to Teach Life Lessons – Daastan Joins Hands with Al-Huda International

Utilizing Stories to Teach Life Lessons – Daastan Joins Hands with Al-Huda International

The establishment of Daastan was not just a step towards bringing the writers of Pakistan a way to get themselves recognized, but rather also a resource which we wanted to utilize to help improve the educational sector of Pakistan. Ours was a mission that focused on spreading knowledge and for this goal, the team always welcomed any opportunity to engage in and positively modify the currently sorry state of education which is, more often than not, experienced by students all over Pakistan. Our Founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer, also has an exceptional track record when it comes to writing pieces that not only enhanced the knowledge of the children who read or interacted with it, but also quite enjoyed themselves while they were learning. A previous example of this was the animated series Teetoo and Tania, aired on PTV, the script of which was written by Mr. Ommer himself.

Daastan x Al-Huda:

Therefore, when we acquired the chance to partner with Al-Huda International in Wah Cantt, we were more than excited to get on board. The team of Daastan generated tailored content, which aimed to enhance the learning experience of the 700+ students enrolled in the school. We wanted to promote learning through storytelling, which would thoroughly capture the interest of the student listening to it and help them relate to and therefore learn from the story being read to them.

Mr. Ommer on Color Day in Al Huda Int. Wah Cant., narrating his story

Painting the World with Words:

Daastan ran its first prototype of the said vision of proliferation of knowledge through stories, on more than a hundred students. The tale which was read to them was titled “Bakhshu Mian”, and the story was written and read by our founder himself. The story was a treasure trove which highlighted the importance of being grateful for the blessings endowed upon us, such as our eyes which help us see the light and colors. The recital was aptly written for the theme which was being celebrated in the school, which was “Color Day”, and taught the students moral values that helped them recognize their privileges over others, such as the blind people, and be thankful to Allah Almighty for them.

Want us to revamp the teaching structure of your school? Drop us an email at merasawal@daastan.com and let’s start transforming the future together.

The Ground Breaking and Stigma Shattering Fourth Season of Stories Untold

The Ground Breaking and Stigma Shattering Fourth Season of Stories Untold

Zainab’s Story:

Following the horrific misfortune that befell the beautiful little six-year-old Zainab Ansari belonging to Kasur, Punjab, a wave of fright and panic went through all of Pakistan. Each person was recounting the report of that tragedy the family of the little girl had gone through, and the trauma they must endure for the rest of the lives, all because of the horrendous acts of the perpetrator. It wasn’t one life we lost the day we as a nation failed Zainab, but rather some part of the whole nation seemed to have died along with her.

The Stories Untold Season 4, themed I am Zainab

I Am Zainab:

At that time, many of the organizations stepped forward to improve the situation and do whatever it is they could to help. Daastan, after careful consideration of how to help our nation which was going through a moral crisis, decided to launch the fourth season of its signature writing competition, The Stories Untold, in honor of the life that was lost, by labeling the theme as “I am Zainab”. Through their stories, we wanted our writers to address the grave issue of child abuse, and encouraged them to write about whichever form of abuse they chose, whether physical, sexual or emotional. We wanted the storytellers to not only highlight, but write about effective ways through which the children could be protected from such experiences. Another purpose of this theme was to encourage our community to write stories which would then serve as guidance and educational material for their children, helping them learn about this social evil and ways they could protect themselves from it if ever faced with any such scenario.

The Response to our Competition:

Despite the social stigma surrounding the topic, we received a bucket load of entries, out of which a dozen were selected as finalists. The authors of these stories were put into contact with a professional psychologist, so as to ensure that the message that their stories would be spreading was an accurate one and could be followed through as real advice. The team of Daastan went through various such screenings to make sure the stories would be child friendly and could serve as a genuine guide for both parent and offspring on what to do in these situations.

The finalists selected were all published digitally through Daastan, top 5 of which would also go into print so as to help spread this message as far and wide as possible.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2081433495403685
The Highlights of Stories Untold Season 4
Entwined into Qissa’s Tree are Internationally Acclaimed Botanists

Entwined into Qissa’s Tree are Internationally Acclaimed Botanists

Qissa has seen and been an avenue which promoted a fair share of fiction writers over the years, and we have been very grateful for the way it has grown. However, when we started Daastan, we didn’t have only the storytellers in mind who we wanted to publish. In fact, ours was a dream to propagate knowledge and ease the way through which one might find a way to share with people what they had learned over years of schooling, or special bits of information that a person accumulates due to being passionate about a certain field. One thing which we really looked forward to welcoming on Qissa was academic writing, which helps the readers explore whichever subject they wished and wanted to learn about in detail.

A Sapling was Planted:

Qissa already featured a research work, a guidebook which helped equip the freshly graduated with skills they might need for finding a job. Another such publication that found its way to the bookshelves of Qissa was a work titled, A Practical Guide to Herbaceous Flora of District Lahore, Punjab”. As the title suggested, it was a book containing detailed morphological descriptions of the herbs and flora of the area of Lahore, in the easy and navigable alphabetical order. It contains basic but vital information about a plethora of herbal species, which is specially aimed to help the ‘Hakims’(Homeopaths) of the region broaden their medicinal plant base and acquire thorough knowledge on its uses. The authors include Ms. Mehwish Jaffer, a PhD Scholar who has to her credit six international and national scientific papers. Her co-author is Ms. Shabnum Shaheen, who has to her name six international monographs and books, 68 research publications, and has won a gold medal in an international conference of Botany.  It was an honor for the team when they chose Qissa as their platform for publishing, and we hope that such intellectuals and distinguished individuals will keep making Daastan their first choice for any publishing related services they might require. 

Book cover, A Practical Guide To Herbaceous Flora of District Lahore, Punjab
Qissa Receives Attention from the Specialists of Different Fields; We Became the Choice of a Geneticist

Qissa Receives Attention from the Specialists of Different Fields; We Became the Choice of a Geneticist

Literature has always been an area which helps bring together people from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter if you grow up to be a rocket scientist, a dentist, pursue a career that is service related, or don’t undertake higher studies at all, if their lives inside the writer a storyteller who has the ability and creativity to see through the veil that covers our reality, they will find their way to art. Art and literature enable people to be truly themselves, and sometimes, even more – without any prosecution or judgement from the world.

The Purpose of Qissa:

It was this higher reality that we wanted to provide the people who became a part of our platform. We wanted to give them the motivation to spin words into tales, without having to worry about any of the procedure that follows when you want to get these stories out to the public. And we knew we were on the right path when, despite rejection and demotivating factors in the industry itself, we received an overwhelming response from the community. From their support, their love, and their eagerness to be a part of our platform, we understood that they wanted us to go on and expand operations as much as we could.

About the Author:

As Qissa gained popularity, we started receiving the attention of highly qualified people from many different fields. One of the authors who joined us, Ms. Hafsa, was a geneticist who believed in finding a fix to problems no matter how deep she needed to dive in to root them out (and at times, her search for solutions took her gene deep). Her book “Hossana”, is a collection of prose poems with illustrations, that was crowdfunded and brought to print through our community. It features different languages, and different genres. The book is divided into sections: the first one raises questions that go bone deep and rattle one’s perceptions about life. The second provides answers, helping us reconcile with reality – and the last is titled messages, connecting us irreversibly with the author who helped us along this journey of thoughts and knowledge.

If you are an author who wishes to get published, drop us a message on Daastan.

Hoisting the Flag of Literature All Over Pakistan

Hoisting the Flag of Literature All Over Pakistan

After diving headfirst into the Olympiad culture and sponsoring numerous talent hunting competitions in the span of just a few months, Daastan started attracting the attention of the big names in the community and getting invited not just to help groom the talent, but also share our experience and inspire those who might want to walk down the same path. And so, with this, we zeroed in on providing sponsorship, technical and media related support, and marketing to the literature exclusive festivals and happenings across Pakistan. The team would then help those interested find their way to their first self-published works through Qissa, empowering them to monetize their hobby and – if they chose so – to make a career out of it.

A Seminar on Feminism:

The first of such events was a seminar titled “Feminism in Language, Literature and Marketplace”, organized on Women’s Day, where Daastan’s founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Ammer, was invited as a guest speaker. Ommer shared the success stories of Ms. Laiba Sehrish Nawaz – the youngest published author of Peshawar, Ms. Lareb Soomro – the youngest published author or Sindh and Ms. Faiza Kayani a police commando who defied all odds to chase her dream and published her first book through Qissa. He also spoke about how Daastan was enabling women voice their opinions through their stories, and also gain financial independence by training them to generate revenue from their writings and connecting them to resources which can help them do so.

NUST and LUMS Literary Fests:

Just a couple weeks after that, we sponsored not only the National Literary Festival by NUST in Islamabad, but also one of the biggest campus based literary festivals in all of Pakistan, i.e. the LUMS Literary Festival 2018. Through Daastan, the literary festivals received judges to adjudicate all their competitions, discounts on all books published on Qissa, the chance to talk to our team and learn more about utilizing digital tools to help them carve their out their niche in the industry. Not only this, the winners of the LUMS Literary Festival received wild card entries to the finalists of the on-going season of ‘The Stories Untold’, through which the authors would all go into print for free through Daastan.

If you want us to sponsor you event, or provide support, send us an email at merasawal@daastan.com.

Drawing out Local Talent:

This led us to powering events which were showcasing local languages, such as the Punjab Festival 2018, where our delegate Ms. Diya Khan who is a Daastan Literary Fellow and a teacher by profession, represented Daastan. The festival was organized by Punjab Institute of Languages and Culture, to promote the Punjabi language and its culture.

Panel discussion at Punjab Festival 2018

Our vision is to publish 100,00 manuscripts, are you with us in this fight to make our country more literate? To keep yourself updated follow us on Facebook.

Making Ourselves Known and Drawing Attention in Olympiads

Making Ourselves Known and Drawing Attention in Olympiads

Daastan may have started small, but in no way was it destined to remain that way as the years rolled by. When the team started out, one of their primary missions was to help train raw talent from across the whole country and maybe even beyond, and enable them in setting up their literary ventures through the Qissa portal – or help them polish their skills to perfection, making them industry-fit and ready for hiring. We at Daastan, have always felt it as one of our responsibilities to reach out and give opportunities to anyone who has even a smidge of talent, along with a ton of passion.

Sponsoring the EME Olympiad:

It was to uphold this very ideal that Daastan jumped forward at the mention of giving support to the first competition which reached out to them i.e. the EME Olympiad. A delegation from team Daastan consisting of Ms. Sidra Amin, Co-Founder, and Ms. Mahnoor Naseer, Editor-In-Chief were invited to judge the Speed Writing as well as the Poetry Slam competition. The two exceptionally talented ladies were honored to have been given the opportunity to witness such exceptional work by some of the participants. The delegation also consisted of Ms. Syeda Aleena Bukhari, a Literary Fellow graduate and a part of Urdu Editorial Board at Daastan, who was there to judge and score the participants enrolled in Urdu based literary competitions. Daastan provided a sponsorship of almost 50,000 PKR to EME Olympiad, along with social media support.

Daastan joins hands with EME Olympiad

PIEAS National Olympiad x Daastan:

A month later, we had the opportunity to collaborate with and provide funding to the PIEAS National Olympiad. One of the biggest Olympiads being held in the twin cities, with participation from more than 30 Universities from all over Pakistan. The team of Daastan saw more than 800 participants competiting each other and showcasing their skills. Their literary modules were judged by a delegation of Daastan, consisting of Ms. Areesh Fatmee, Director PR Daastan, Ms. Syeda Aleena Bukhari, Urdu Editor Daastan, and Ms. Aaina Batool, published author at Qissa. Daastan also offered print publishing to the winners, along with marketing on social media to provide additional support to the event.

Ms. Syeda Aleena Bukhari (left) and Ms. Aaina Batool with Team PiON.

The IST Youth Carnival:

In the same week as the PIEAS National Olympiad, Daastan also collaborated with the IST Youth Carnival. Our published author Ms. Iqra Saeed set up a stall there and spread awareness on the literary industry and self-publishing scenario in Pakistan, and Daastan also provided judges to adjudicate the short story competition.

Daastan’s stall set up by Ms. Iqra Saeed at IST Youth Carnival

If you are organizing an Olympiad or Carnival at your University and require sponsorship, drop us an email at merasawal@daastan.com.

Empowering as We Go – Daastan Joins Hands with Pakistani Lady Bloggers

Empowering as We Go – Daastan Joins Hands with Pakistani Lady Bloggers

Pakistani Lady Bloggers was a woman only platform that started its journey as a Facebook group, and went on to become a huge platform that launched its very own website and became known and celebrated by a lot of people across the country. The concept behind it was a fairly simple but still a profound one; the administrators wanted to develop a place where the ladies of Pakistan who wanted to join in the blogging world could take real time advice from veterans of the field who were also female. It provided a professional safe space for women to collaborate, seek advice, and learn the foundations of building and running your blog. The group also had a website of its own that shed light on how to build a proper platform online, to gain views and create content, and also ways to monetize their work.

Daastan’s Role in Women Empowerment:

Daastan has always been a huge believer in giving opportunities to the fifty percent of Pakistan that is usually left behind. From the core team that handles operations at Qissa and Daastan, to the writers who join us to get their work published, the founder and co-founders have always encouraged female presence in their workspace and have, at times, gone out of their way to ensure that the environment at Daastan is comfortable enough for anyone who might be willing to work there. Along with this, Daastan has always prided itself in the fact that multitudes of stay at home females have found Qissa to be the best forum to publicize their work and also generate revenue from it. To join our community, all you need to do is sign up and make a profile on Qissa.

Our friends at PLB hosted a spectacular event in Lahore, and was also joined by Ms. Qudsia Jamali who is our team member.

Daastan x Pakistan Lady Bloggers:

It was for reasons such as the ones mentioned that Daastan joined hand with PLB, as their community decided to shift their profiles to Qissa to further better their availability of opportunities, and enhance their visibility. It was an honor for Daastan to be chosen as the space that would enable hundreds of women to build their own empire. 

PLB-Daastan Collab – Step 1: Sign up for MeraQissa

The Pakistani Woman is proud to announce its collaboration with Daastan in empowering Pakistani female bloggers and writers of all ages and all backgrounds. TPW hosts a Facebook community dedicated to the cause of bringing together female writers of the country in way that helps them excel and learn from each other. If you are a Pakistani female blogger/writer, and looking to join our thriving community, send us a join request at https://www.facebook.com/groups/pakistaniladybloggers/Signing up for MeraQissa account is a MANDATORY step if you want to avail what PLB-Daastan has in store for you, some of which are:- better writing opportunities- better recognition of your skills on a larger scale- professional help in publishing your own book- fellowship programs to groom your literary skills- chance to attend literary events- freelance writing opportunities** strictly a women-only group

Posted by The Pakistani Woman on Monday, May 7, 2018

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