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Showing posts with label Chitral. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chitral. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]


ISLAMABAD: Twenty two-year-old Karishma Ali is used to a lot of firsts.

She was the first girl from her hometown of lower Chitral to represent Pakistan in football at both the national and international levels.

She took part in the Jubilee Games in Dubai, UAE three years ago and also represented Pakistan’s women football team in the Australian Football International (AFL) Cup.

Ali is also the first from Chitral to be featured on Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 list.

Now, she has her eyes set on realizing her dream of seeing more girls participating in sports. For this purpose, she established the Chitral Women’s Sport Club (CWSC), the region’s first.

She says it all began when she kicked her first football at the age of nine. “I didn’t properly play football, but I became a football lover back then when I was a little kid,” Ali told Arab News. “I remember watching the World Cup with my father in 2006 and fell in love with the game.”

Ali’s decision to foray into sports was supported by her family, particularly her father, who always pushed her to excel in the game.

In Pakistan, women’s participation in sports is abysmal, mostly due to cultural restraints, patriarchal and conservative attitude, and a lack of infrastructure. For her part, Ali says she factored in all these conditions before taking the leap.

“In Chitral, there was no facility and there is still no facility for girls — which is why I am working on it,” Ali told Arab News, adding that she “never had the opportunities to play football.”

“The only time I would get to play football in Chitral was when I would go on a picnic with my father or rarely with my classmates. The boys would be playing, I would come and kick, they would stare at me, laugh and bully me but I never cared — I still went for it,” she said.

And while she had the backing of her family – and the support of coaches and mentors after moving to Islamabad at the age of 13, leading to her eventual placement on the national team – Ali says that, initially at least, the community was not receptive to the idea of girls playing sports.

“A lot of people do not appreciate the inclusion of girls in sports, so for me I thought starting [this club] and making it for girls under the age of 16 would be crucial,” she said, adding that the sports club “is not just about sports or football.”

“We are trying to teach girls about their rights, we are trying to educate them about health,” she said.

Last year, the CWSC hosted a seven-day camp for 70 girls from across Chitral and surroundings villages, resulting in the first all-women football tournament in the area.

Ali’s aim is to not just encourage athleticism, competition and confidence among young girls, but to also demonstrate how the sport can empower women and be a source of pride for the country.

“Last year [starting out] was very hard, when I told people I wanted to do this in Chitral, people thought I was crazy,” she said. “People never appreciated that I was playing sports to begin with, so to want to invite others in… I was bullied and threatened.”

However, Ali found strength in her usual source – her father. “[He] said to me: ‘You have taken this step for so many girls and, now, if you give up, that means the end of sports for every other girl back home. You decide whether you can be brave and keep fighting or people will forget you. Remember, if you stand up people will remember you, people will get inspired and get their girls involved’,” she said.

And they did.

From among the 70 girls who enrolled in the club, several live in villages and would commute for three to four hours every day just to participate.
“They would not miss the training session even for a single day and would wake up at 6am to reach the ground, play sports and go back,” Ali said of the girls, teeming with pride.

This year, Ali’s camp hosted nearly 200 girls, more than doubling last year’s attendance.

For her party, Ali, who has earned herself the “Pride of Pakistan” award that recognizes tremendous contribution made by Pakistanis, wants the same for other girls, too.

“I remember when I was a kid watching the World Cup with my cousin, I’d told him I want to play for the national team, but there was no such concept of girls playing football. When I got to the national team I sank into this confidence,” she said.

“I think of the little girl back in the village and myself in the national uniform and that fills me with happiness. We have amazing people, we have girls who want to play sports and for Pakistan and I want to be a good ambassador for them,” she said.

Published on Arab News, 10 July 2019




Sunday, July 21, 2019

EEEI, #Chitral concludes ECD Female Teacher Training Program

EEEI, #Chitral concludes ECD Female Teacher Training Program

EEEI, #Chitral concludes ECD Female Teacher Training Program


By Gul Hamaad Farooqi

CHITRAL: A private education institute marked the successful completion of an Intensive Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program organized at Seen Lasht, Chitral.

Chitral participants of ECD reeving certificates after completing two weeks training. Photos by Gul Hamaad faroqui


15 women teachers participated in the 2 week program consisting of 125 hours and received hands on training in how to engage 3-5 year old children in an active learning environment so as to enhance their social, physical, emotional, cognitive, creative and moral development. These participates, belonging to various villages in Chitral were involved in learning about the brain, child development, preparing effective teaching aids, learning poems and stories, creative and artistic activities, etc. – all in an effort to make learning interesting and engaging for children. They presented practical lessons whereby helping each other to enhance their capacities.

The trainee teachers eagerly participated in the program with enthusiasm and were actively engaged. The visiting Consultant from Toronto, Canada, Ms. Yasmin Khan who travelled to Chitral to share best practices was very impressed by the eagerness and commitment of the participants. A local trainer with ECD experience, the Principal of the EES, Mrs. Gul Hawa was part of the faculty and local visiting ECD trainers, Ms. Rashida Rahim Baig and Ms. Farhan Mussarat Khan were invited to share their expertise.

According to the Director of EEEI,  Zohran Shah, this ECD training program, is part of a Five Year Strategic Plan of EEEI which aims to provide quality Early Childhood Education at the village level through its PARVARISH Program. The PARVARISH program will also endeavor to empower educated women in the villages to use their education for gainful employment while serving their own communities. 6 pilot ECD canters will be set up this year by the graduating teachers with management support from EEEI and financial provision from Dr. Mir Baiz Khan.






France provides €50.2m for rehabilitation of #Chitral, #Dargai hydro-power plants

France provides €50.2m for rehabilitation of #Chitral, #Dargai hydro-power plants

France provides €50.2m for rehabilitation of #Chitral, #Dargai hydro-power plants


ISLAMABAD: The government of France has provided a soft loan of €50 million (Rs9 billion) and a grant of €0.2 million (Rs36 million) for the rehabilitation of Chitral and Dargai hydropower plants.

Secretary of Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Noor Ahmed, French Ambassador Marc Baréty and Country Director of the French Agency for Development (AFD) Jacky Amprou signed the Credit Facility Agreement worth €50 million and the Grant Agreement worth €0.2 million.

A statement released by the French Embassy said that the funding will allow the modernisation of the two hydropower plants as well as the upgrading of their generation capacity from 20MW to 22MW for Dargai HPP and from 1MW to 5 MW for Chitral HPP.

The main objective of the project is to provide adequate facilities for the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy to meet current and future needs of Chitral and Malakand regions. It will also result in industrial, agricultural and economic development of the regions.

France, through the French Agency for Development, is providing technical and financial support in the energy and urban development sectors of Pakistan, where €610 million financial support has been committed since 2016.




Friday, July 19, 2019

Pakistan’s #Kalash minority group faces influx of rowdy tourists

Pakistan’s #Kalash minority group faces influx of rowdy tourists

Pakistan’s #Kalash minority group faces influx of rowdy tourists


In a remote valley in Pakistan, dozens of Kalash minority women dance to celebrate spring’s arrival. But, as a gaggle of men scramble to catch them on camera, the community warns an influx of domestic tourists is threatening their unique traditions.

Every year the Kalash – a group of not more than 4,000 people confined to a handful of villages in the north – greet the new season with animal sacrifices, baptisms, and weddings at a festival known as Joshi.

As celebrations kick off, tourists with cameras and phones jostle to get close to Kalash women, whose vibrant clothing and headdresses contrast starkly with the more modest attire worn by many in the conservative Islamic republic.

“Some people were using their cameras as if they were in a zoo,” said local tourist guide Iqbal Shah.


Known for their pale skin and light-coloured eyes, the Kalash have long claimed ancestral links to Alexander the Great’s army – who conquered the region in the fourth century BC.

They worship many gods, while drinking alcohol is a tradition and marriages of choice are the norm – unlike in the rest of Pakistan where unions are often arranged.

However, the community is far from a liberal beacon. Members of the community often wed in their teens, with women poorly educated and expected to perform traditional roles in the home.

Stories about the Kalash are nonetheless frequently fabricated, and this has been amplified in recent years by the proliferation of smartphones and social media.

Defaming the community

One video viewed 1.3 million times on YouTube, proclaims the Kalash “openly have sex” with partners of their choosing “in the presence of their husbands”.

Another calls them “beautiful infidels”, saying “anyone can go and marry any girl there”.

“How could that be true?” asks Luke Rehmat, a Kalash journalist.

“People are systematically trying to defame the community. They are fabricating stories … when a tourist comes with such a mindset, he will try to experience (it).”

In the main Kalash village of Bumburate a hotel manager estimates that about 70% of Pakistani tourists visiting his establishment are young men, who often inquire about where to “find girls”.

According to the tourists who spoke to AFP – most of whom were men travelling in groups – their primary interest in exploring the Kalash Valley was to learn about a new culture.

“We want to be part of this festival but it doesn’t mean that we want to mix up with girls,” says tourist Sikander Nawaz Khan Niazi from Lahore.

But friction has been increasing in recent years. In Bumburate, posters now call on visitors to seek permission from villagers before photographing and signs warn tourists not to harass women.

“If they don’t respect us, we don’t need tourists,” says Yasir Kalash, the vice president of the local hotel association.

“If they respect … our culture and traditions, we must welcome (them).”

Regulating tourism is a cumbersome but vital task for the Kalash, with money from the industry increasingly providing an important source of revenue for the community.

The Kalash – who once inhabited a vast territory stretching from the Himalayas in Kashmir to northern Afghanistan – are now one of the smallest religious minorities in Pakistan, according to Akram Hussain, the director of a local museum.

A recent survey puts their number at just 3,872, living in three remote valleys.

“We are going to die if we are not supported,” says Hussain.

The Kalash, who once inhabited a vast territory stretching from the Himalayas in Kashmir to northern Afghanistan, are now one of the minorities in Pakistan.

Kalash traditions, Hussain argues, can be expensive. Weddings and funerals require families to kill dozens of animals for the festivities, driving them into debt, forcing them to sell off land and leave their ancestral homes.

Cases of conversions to Islam of Kalash women have also been reported, while the increase in tourism has pushed some in the community to shun traditions like Joshi, according to several residents.

Others have begun wearing veils to hide their faces from the prying eyes of outsiders.

“We don’t wear veils as it is not our custom, but some wear them because people take pictures of them from all sides and it makes them feel ashamed,” says Musarrat Ali, a high school student.

The ongoing erosion of the culture at the hands of outside forces is tragic, says Sayed Gul, an archaeologist from Bumburate.

“They don’t want to participate just because of these cameras and this insensitivity,” says Gul.

“If these things are continuously happening … maybe in a few years, there are only tourists, there are no more Kalashis to participate and dance in the festivals.” – AFP 



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Increasing suicide incidents among girls in #Chitral - 3 girls commit suicide in Chitral this week

Increasing suicide incidents among girls in #Chitral - 3 girls commit suicide in Chitral this week

Increasing suicide incidents among girls in #Chitral - 3 girls commit suicide in Chitral this week



CHITRAL (MVT 16 July 2019 by Gul Hammad Farooqi) : In an alarming development, three more girls have committed suicide in Chitral.

Local sources said a girl ended her life by consuming poison in Shaghor area on Tuesday. Police said Shazia Bibi was heartbroken over poor marks in the recent matriculation examination. She consumed poison due to which her condition worsened. She was taken to District Headquarters Hospital, but she could not survive.

The sources said that on Saturday, a girl, Safeera Bibi from Torkhao, Wasich, also committed suicide by jumping into Chitral River. The relatives and rescue personnel continued search for the body, but it could not be recovered till filing of this report. The sources said Safeera was good in her studies and got good marks in the exam. The reason behind the suicide was ascertained. Other sources said the girl apparently had some stress-related issues.


A day earlier, another girl, Razia Bibi, from Pengaigol village of Darosh ended her life by shooting herself down with a pistol. Sources said the girl was suffering from epilepsy and she had also attempted suicide earlier.

Social circles have expressed concern over so many suicide cases in Chitral and the government’s failure to stop this trend. According to various reports, the main reasons behind the suicides during the last couple of years is competition in examinations, poverty, lack of facilities, physical disorders and sometimes forced marriages. Employment opportunities are very limited in Chitral and most of the dwellers are doing private and other odd jobs in downtown districts and other provinces to financially support their families and make a living.

District Police Officer (DPO) Mansoor Aman had opened a women reporting centre at Chitral Police Station so that women could lodge their complaints with women police officers. Female police were dedicated for the purpose to register complaints by women. But that centre could not change the situation.

There are hundreds of vacant posts of doctors, including that of psychiatrists in Chitral. People of the area have demanded the government to fill all that vacancies and appoint psychiatrists on priority basis to provide counselling, physiotherapy and other treatment facilities to patents who are suffering from stress-related illness.



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