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.  

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. 

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. 

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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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 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.

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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.