Throughout the month of July, Daastan carried out an awareness campaign for Sexual and Reproductive health Rights. Through a Story Writing Competition, we took initiative to start a healthy discussion on the topic. Discussing SRHR has always been a taboo in many parts of the world and we wanted to break that chain.
We began the campaign by introducing the issue through a Facebook Live session with founders of Stories to Action.
Iris Pi and Sanne Thijssen along with Summaiya Naveed and Samin Alam from Daastan conducted the live. They explained what SRHR is and how people could participate in the #WeToo campaign to make a change. This was followed by a detailed blog on SRHR published by Daastan to further explain the issue and give a clear idea of what kind of short stories we were looking for. Gladly, the hardwork paid off and we received some amazing stories this month.
Story Writing Competition Winners!
We received stories both in English and Urdu language. Some stories were exceptionally well put but unfortunately, could not meet our criteria. Some stories drifted away from the themes. However, there were 9 such stories that were exactly the stories we were looking for. Writers put in great effort and talent and we are so happy with the response we received!
Here are the writers of our top 8 Stories that we will be publishing on Qissa and submitting to Stories to Action!
Our Favourite Picks
Among these stories, here are a few excerpts that really stood out for our team. We believe they deserve special recognition!
Pappu is what they call you. That’s not your name though. Merely a title, and it’s not unique either. There’re probably a dozen more living in the same city. A dozen boys like you. Boys who are ‘Allah log’ or ‘saaen’ of their mohallas.When you don’t have a broad chest and strong arms and you’re weak and clumsy, always looking down with a harmless smile on your face, you kind of earn these titles, first in your school and then in your whole village, until a time comes when they forget your real name, calling you ‘Pappu, Pappu’ all the time.You don’t mind it, or ‘take offence’ as they put it sometimes. You’re weak, remember? You can’t stand up and shout curses like all of them. You’ve been taught to behave. For if you don’t, they’ll break your legs.Also, how many Pappus have ever taken offence? They’ll just cry sometimes. But then, some boys fight and win, some others – not so boyish – just stand and cry, even if it’s not their fight. And they all grow, though differently.
At her lack of response he continued,” I have been raised in a society where men don’t talk, sure we joke about physical intimacy but no one educates us, when a guy gets married he doesn’t know much, he is told that his ability to sire children decides his manliness, and he believes that. The idea that he might have some problem is unbearable, so like everything else in this society we blame the woman. It’s easier, it’s the norm, it’s such an unconscious action that you don’t even realise it. I didn’t know I was doing it until recently, I realized how I blamed you and was so proud of myself for still loving you, for not holding anything against you.
آدھے گھنٹے بعد شہاب کی جنونی کیفیت کچھ کم ہوئی تو اس کے حواس قدرے بحال ہونے لگے، کپڑے پہنے اور سو کا نوٹ اسے دے کر بولا، ”بھاگ اب یہاں سے، اور خبردار باہر کسی سے کچھ کہا ورنہ میں چوری کے کیس میں اندر کروا دوں گا۔
پیسے لے اور باہر سے روٹی کھا لینا اور خاموش رہنا سمجھا، لے یہ ایک اور کیک لے اور ٹھنڈے پانی کی بوتل بھی، اور ادھر نظر نہ آنا پھر اور خاموش بھی رہنا۔“
We congratulate all the winners and thank all those who submitted their stories. The purpose of this story writing competition was to bring such issues to discussion. We thank you all for playing an important role in bringing social change in society!
Stay tuned for further updates on the winning stories. As promised, Daastan will be publishing these stories online on Qissa. If you support our cause, you can join us today and play your part!