In the beginning of the year, Daastan hosted its first story writing competition that set the precedent for other seasons of the program that would follow. The first season was an unimaginable hit, with almost 100 entries from all over Pakistan. Daastan got to uncover some major talent and later on also published a book as a tribute to the top 5 position holders, titled “A Journey to Stardom”, which documented their struggles as a writer in a community which tends to overlook the artisans present in it. October of 2016 saw Daastan pitching for a micro fund of 2500 USD which it went on to win for season 2 of “The Stories Untold”. The fund was offered by the PeaceTech Lab under the banner of PeaceTech Exchange (PTX). PTX is a workshop-based competition which enables peace sustaining enterprises to contest and win the offered amount by pitching their idea and establishing how it will help underdeveloped regions utilize technology for the advent of peace, social inclusion and conflict resolution.
A War Within:
With funding under its belt from Peacetech Lab, PTX, Technology for Peace Initiative (TPI) and United States Institute of Peace, Daastan launched season 2 of “The Stories Untold” with the theme “A War Within”. This time around, we encouraged writers and participants to look deep into the conflicts and pressures faced by individuals on a daily basis, and chart out whole territories on how to deal with them, both as an observer as well as the victim. It was the perfect opportunity for every person who had felt caged at any time in their life to put that feeling to words and come out stronger and accomplished. The competition was split into two modules, which allowed Urdu writers to send in entries as well, helping us reach a part of the community we hadn’t been able to touch before. We also partnered with “The Ancient Souls” from across the border to expand our entry base, as well as the “Young Women Writer’s Forum Pakistan”.
Results of the competition:
As expected, the participants blew us away. We received more than 150 entries from all over the world of such high quality that it was a great difficulty to shortlist them. The qualifying rounds consisted of top 30, followed by top 15 and then the final winners. Each shortlisted candidate’s work was published digitally on Qissa, and the top ones also lived the dream of seeing their work go into print. The certificates and prizes distributed, along with publications, amounted to a grand total of 100,000 PKR.