Stories Untold made rounds over social media recently. Our story writing competition was based on the tragedy of Zainab. Writers poured their hearts out to express their feelings on the incident in order to spread awareness regarding the issue.
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. The trauma they must endure for the rest of their lives is unimaginable. The horrendous act of the perpetrator shattered the happiness of a sound family. It wasn’t one life we lost that day, rather a part of the whole nation seemed to have died along with her.
The Stories Untold : I Am Zainab
At that time, many of the organizations stepped forward to improve the situation and all they could to help. Daastan, after careful consideration decided to launch the fourth season of its signature writing competition, The Stories Untold. The theme of “I am Zainab” was chosen to honor the life that was lost.
Through Stories Untold, we wanted our writers to address the grave issue of child abuse. Moreover, we encouraged them to write about any form of abuse – physical, sexual or emotional. We wanted storytellers to highlight effective ways in order to educate children and protect them from such experiences. Another purpose of this theme was to encourage our community to write stories which would serve as guidance and educational material for their children, helping them learn about this social evil and ways they could protect themselves against them.
The Response to our Competition:
Despite the social stigma surrounding the topic, we received a lot of entries, out of which we selected a dozen as finalists. The authors of these stories were put into contact with a professional psychologists. We made sure that the message of their stories would spread and be followed. Daastan went through various such screenings to make sure the stories would be child friendly and could serve as a genuine guide for both parents and children.
The finalists selected were all published digitally through Daastan. Top 5 stories are to be printed with Qissa so as to help spread this message as far and wide as possible.