Get A Chance to Attend The APYE Program!

Get A Chance to Attend The APYE Program!

This year in August, Daastan’s founder Syed Ommer Amer was selected to go on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand. He was 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 APYE Program

The APYE is a two-weeks intensive program that aims at increasing awareness among youth about global problems. The program helps 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).


. The program helps 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 Maj. Aziz Bhatti

A Tribute to Maj. Aziz Bhatti

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. One such story is that of Maj. Aziz Bhatti.

The Tale of Maj. Aziz Bhatti

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.

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 to be featured on Daastan Naama. Our team was constantly being asked questions to find out what it is that needed to be done to become a part of #OneOftheFifty. Speculations bloomed about who these celebrated authors were, how they were selected, and what is it that they were a part of.

The #OneOftheFifty:

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 the work of these authors would be uploaded to the app in the style 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 also contributed by Ali Usman Bajwa.

Want to have a trove of literary goodness on your phones? Download the app now! Sign up with Daastan and get updates on all our upcoming literary activities.

Daastan Goes Digital

Daastan Goes Digital

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. How artists 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. We look for opportunities to attain greater reach for those who we have already published. It was one such drive which led us to do the next big thing for Daastan.

Seeking the Digital Avenue

The internet presence of Daastan started from Facebook. From there, it went on to take over all of the major digital media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. 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, our team made it a point to strengthen our digital presence, providing professional and aesthetic upgrades to Qissa, and Daastan’s website for each new venture as it came along. And so, after having mastered the internet through most of the digital 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 the phones rather than PCs.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, Daastan 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: Daastan’s Outcast Magazine

Trailblazers: Daastan’s Outcast Magazine

Coming back with another exciting feature of the Trailblazers series, where we focus on writers and 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.

Fatema Bhaiji And Our Outcast Magazine:

Before she joined our fellowship, Fatema 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”. Our phenomenal writer 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 Makes Rounds:

With this booming introduction, Fatema came to join the Editorial department of our fellowship program. Halfway through the program, Fatema came to the team with her idea of forming a queer lit magazine. A 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, graduates were encouraged to pursue projects on their own with full support from Daastan. Despite all the criticism, Daastan stood strong. And so, the Outcast magazine ‘came out’ – its website was launched a month after the idea was rolled out, and its first digital issue came out 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, who conducted an extension of our Stories Untold Season 4 on their forum. The LGBTQ+ community were encourages 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. The first issue was released 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

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