The best way to equip ourselves for future endeavors is training our youth so that they understand the importance of innovation and leadership. Team Daastan has always believed that opportunities for growth and exposure bring out the best in people. And we love being able to put in our part in shaping the future.
When our youth has a firm knowledge of the needs of their people and are equipped with talent and skills, they can find workable solutions to social problems. By doing so, they bring about change and betterment in society. Fortunately, in the last few years we have witnessed an increase in opportunities for learning—taking the shape of competitions, conferences and workshops. These youth empowerment ventures are doing some great work and creatingsocial entrepreneursout of promising individuals.
Markhor—a Youth Leadership Conference
At the forefront of this youth empowerment movement are organizations like Markhor hosted by Youth Impact. They enable individuals to learn and grow by putting them in the middle of real-life situations. Markhor is Pakistan’s “premium wilderness-based youth leadership conference” which combines various learning experiences to offer a wholesome and holistic experience.
At the 5-day conference, you spend your days learning about social entrepreneurship and then applying those teachings to solve real-life problems. Right there, at the spot! What better way to learn then to put your learnings into practice and internalize the experience? The conference aims towards self-exploration, social activism, instilling the Markhor spirit, creating sustainable change through social entrepreneurship and encouraging creative thinking.
Daastan’s Role in Training the Youth
In an adventure-packed wilderness experience at the beautiful Makra Peak, Shogran, Markhor provides its participants with a board of keynote speakers, successful social entrepreneurs, international CEO’s and philanthropists. These professionals share their experiences, recount their hardships and impart snippets of useful knowledge that will help the leaders of tomorrow succeed in their future ventures.
Daastan’s CEO, Syed Ommer Amer was invited as one of the speakers of the panel to talk about story telling. We all have a story to tell but most of the time, we do not articulate it well-enough. The words that form so beautifully in our mind, come out incoherent when we’re speaking in front of large groups of people. Add to that the usual time limit that is imposed to speak and the pressure builds exponentially!
Syed Ommer Amer, who is an award-winning social entrepreneur and an excellent public speaker, told participants how to master the art of telling your story. He has spoken at various national and international public forums and is a staunch supporter of youth activism and empowerment. Through Daastan, he has been able to provide opportunities for more than 5000 writers. He has helped writers get their word across borders, monetize their work and create a fan base for their future works.
For this event, Daastan collaborated with Youth Impact, which is a non-profit organization combining various forms of learning such as Outdoor Education and Society Programs to bring out the best in youngsters and shape them into purposeful leaders.
Books are better teachers than any school curriculum. They let us peek into lives– real and unreal—go to places we’ve never been, face situations we’ve never encountered and come out stronger and wiser. 5 years ago, Daastan took its first step towards realizing its goal of educating the masses through books. We wanted to make a book lover out of every individual whose life we touched and see a book in every hand. Today, Daastan has progressed with leaps and bounds and continues to expand its mission.
One such instance of furthering our vision was when we partnered with Books and Beyond in what turned out to be a highly successful series of book club events.
Daastan Chasing their Vision by Partnering with Books and Beyond
To develop interest and increase membership of Books and Beyond- a literary club from Hyderabad- Daastan decided to sponsor their second of many book club meets held at Khanabadosh Writers’ Café in Hyderabad. The book club discussed Manto, Dostoevsky, Existentialism and Socialism.
Daastan provided the attendees with literary souvenirs such as bookmarks and tote bags with phrases like “Books not bombs” and “Knowledge is power!”. The purpose of the freebies was to impart positive vibes to the members and encourage them to attend even more book clubs, thereby increasing their love for literature and reading. The gifts from Daastan were well-received and all in all, the book club was a smashing success.
About Books and Beyond
Taking birth in the soulful city of Hyderabad, Books and Beyond is a literary club that started in 2016. Its goal is to bring both amateur and seasoned readers together in a single space and break through reading barriers in Hyderabad. They are also expanding into bigger cities like Karachi. Run by a hardworking team of bibliophiles, Books and Beyond works to promote reading culture among students, revive the lost interest in reading, hold in-depth discussions between like-minded people and encourage writers to share their writings.
Under the leadership of Huda Bhurgri and Khushbakht Memon, this literary club has organized various successful events. The events include book club meetups, open mic sessions and digital discussion groups.
The Founder of Books and Beyond, Huda Bhurgri
Our very own #Oneof50, Ms. Huda Bhurgri is a power woman! She is the founder of Books and Beyond and a social enterprise Soormi, that works towards women empowerment. Her love for literature and a dream of equality drives her to hustle harder every day and amaze us with her achievements.
Ms. Huda, along with her friend, Ms. Khushbakht Memon, founded Books and Beyond in 2016 when both of them felt a void in Hyderabad’s literary space. They believed that Hyderabad was home to a number of book lovers but the diminishing reader body of Hyderabad left little room for them to openly talk about books with like-minded people. With a solution in mind, these ambitious ladies started holding book club meets in a safe and healthy environment and made a special space for Hyderabad’s literati. And thus, Books and Beyond was formed. Daastan is proud to have been a partner of such an innovative literary initiative. We love putting in our share in literary and social enterprises and increase book love all across Pakistan!
If you’re an enterprise looking to partner with us, drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and Sign Up with us!
#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!
What is a writer’s dream? Is writing an ultimate goal for a writer? Well, typically speaking, writing does fulfill a writer. But the dream is always way bigger and higher. Rhizomatic Literaties’ book launch, for example, is one one such dream. Becoming a published author, receiving acclaim for your talent and being known for your book is the actual dream. Similarly, our three talented leads of Rhizomatic Literaties did not settle for less.Rhizomatic Literaties is a special book for Daastan because it is composed of numerous entirely diverse minds that take you into a journey of exploration. You can read the book at meraqissa.com. Have a look at Rhizomatic Literaties Book Launch here.
On 7th March 2020, Daastan arranged Rhizomatic Literaties‘ book launch at Plan 9 Tech Incubator Arfa Towers, Lahore. Literary enthusiasts from all fields joined us to celebrate this milestone in our journey. Our panel of discussion engaged the visitors in a healthy talk over struggle and most importantly, literature and publishing in Pakistan by sharing their own stories. Ms. Amanda from Australia was our guest of honor who moderated the panel discussion.
About Rhizomatic Literaties
We take immense pride in Rhizomatic Literaties which is one of our masterpieces as per the unique and outstanding nature of the book. The idea behind this book was to bring together the hidden talent of Pakistan’s literary industry to put them on the forefront. Secondly, this book also speaks for the nature of our publishing industry that is inclusive and non-discriminatory. We promote writers from all sections of society. The 12 different narratives that make up this out-of-the-box book, showcase the diversity and celebrate the power and beauty of women in Pakistan.
Have Your Own Book Launch With Daastan
It is our mission to bring together writers, literary enthusiasts and all people who are eager to act as an agent in order to push forward, the wheel of our publishing industry. Start writing now and launch your book with Daastan. We believe you can! Sign up at Daastan and begin your journey today.
It is true that political, social or religious differences must be accommodated. Borders are drawn to avoid conflict and allow people to live in a peace. Geographical divisions may seem like a progressive idea today. However, decision makers do not and can not speak for all people. Amidst these divisions, ties of love, friendship and generational attachments have to be torn. These barbed wires that mark borders, scratch and wound those who have to cross them over.
We can’t possibly mend the 73 year old political enmity, but we can surely rise above these institutional differences and talk about our narrative. The narrative of the marginalized ones. Perhaps the most marginalized in the division of sub-continent were all those whocould not cease to love and feel for their lost comrades.
An Attempt at making Peace Across Borders
To establish and spread the narrative of the literati in both countries, Daastan from Pakistan and White Falcon Publishing from India, initiated a Letter writing movement. We invited writers to send in their letters to express their concerns for regional peace. Writers could write in prose or poetry. Daastan received letters in Urdu, English and Hindi, following the main theme: regional peace.
We, atDaastan, received letters from all across Pakistan. We were amazed by the energetic response by the talent in our country. All these letters were extremely emotional and beautiful. Our team was deeply touched by the effort put in by the talented writers from all around Pakistan. The aim behind this movement was to simply acknowledge the fact that no matter how these divisions have shaped our history and geography, love and friendship can break all walls. These letters and their writers are legitimaterepresentatives of peace from both countries. The powerful voices that echo from our television screens, can not mute the narrative of peaceful co-existence.
We aim to keep connecting readers and writers in an attempt to grow and engage in literary activities. If you share our love and passion of literature, sign up with us at Daastan and let us grow together!
Daastan had something interesting in store for the New Year
New year new me? A phrase we re-use each year to keep reminding ourselves of the importance of change in our lives. New year is surely the best time to inspire yourself, rearrange your goals and maximize your potential. It is this energy of a newly born year that helps uskeep growing and aiming higher. We at Daastan, could not miss the chance to turn this new year into a great opportunity for all! In collaboration with Youth Impact, we arranged a Goal setting Workshop to help young leaders acknowledge their role and strive to bring social change in our society.
On 4thJanuary, Daastan and Youth Impact arranged the workshop at the National Incubation Center, Islamabad. The event was aimed to inspire and promote young leaders. Inspirational talks were held where Daastan’s founder Mr Ommer Amerwas one of the speakers. He discussed the effective ways of setting goals in life. Mr. Ommer Amer took this opportunity to share his own journey of a very similar path, when five years ago when he found Daastan with the vision of putting a book in every hand. The significance of mapping down your goals and managing yourself in a way to achieve those goals was highly emphasized.
Shaping young minds
The workshop was attended mostly by university students who were aspiring leaders and had brilliant energy. These young energetic students were determined to become agents of social change in Pakistan by using their respective skills and talents. We interacted with these amazing people and helped answer their queries regarding goal setting. The workshop concluded with a fun activity. Goal setting worksheets were distributed and participants were guided in thinking and understanding by learning ways of setting goals and working towards becoming the leaders they aspire to be.
We believe that having a clear idea of what one wants is the first step to achieve your goal. Once you recognize your goals, you should manage your time, resources and skills to work towards the agenda you have set for yourself. Young people who are extremely talented and have enormous potential often lack management skills which hinders their growth. It is for this concern that we step out to help the future leaders in setting up those goals and giving them a direction thereon.
Our vision for the future
We hope to keep inspiring and creating avenues for such activities by involving the asset of our nation; our youth. In no time will all important platforms in our country be filled with the next generation and we hope and aspire to help you discover your true potential. If you relate to these young leaders and wish to become a part of any future activities, sign up with us at Daastan and grab your opportunity!