I am Karachi day adds colors to Karachi

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I Am Karachi presented, the first ever I AM KARACHI Awards to honor the contribution of the city’s dedicated and unrecognized heroes at Frere Hall on the occasion of the second official I AM Karachi Day on March 26th 2016.

The inaugural I AM KARACHI AWARDS have established themselves as the only civic responsibility and diversity awards exclusively for residents of the city. I AM KARACHI Awards recognize visionary individuals who have shown inspirational resilience, hope, pride and determination.

The award function was headlined by a spell binding rock-symphonic version of the national anthem by Sounds of Kolachi with the talented youth of Karachi. Award winning pop stars Sara Haider, Zoe Viccaji and traditional singers were also showcased at the event.

President of IAMKARACHI Jameel Yusuf S.St, described IAM KARACHI DAY as a “celebration of the success of the city’s resilient spirit” and announced that the awards will be given out throughout the course of the year.

I AM KARACHI DAY ceremonies were hosted by Karachi icons Deepak Perwani and Atiya Khan who discussed the necessity of a diverse culture in a mega-city like Karachi. This was followed by Vice President of Society for I AM KARACHI, Mr. Amin Hashwani who announced the official launch ofa city wide I AM KARACHI Sports Festival that will begin next month. Founding member Ms. Rumana Hussain also announced the launch of a new wave of I AM KARACHI ‘Walls of Peace’ – where young artists cover hateful graffiti with their artistic creations to reclaim public space.

In an unprecedented display of support academics, business leaders and celebrities attended the function to show their love to the city and those honored. Awards were distributed by notable figures including: Ronak Lakhani, Zubaida Mustafa, Talat Hussain, Ishrat Hussain and Fuzon.

The event was a grand equalizer with citizens from all areas and strata uniting to mark the occasion, as could be seen in a visualization activity where residents of Karachi could mark their homes on a giant map.

Commissioner Karachi Asif Hyder Shah praised spirit of citizenship and said only if the citizens of Karachi will stand united, only then there is there hope for a prosperous Sindh and eventually a flourishing Pakistan.

The celebration follows a ‘Karachi Matters Week’ drive to boost citizen participation conducted across the city. Partners of IAK and volunteer groups had conducted over thirty workshops, art projects, and social innovation activities to encourage thoughtful dialogue for a unified social outlook in various neighborhoods.

IAMKARACHIDAY is a celebration of the city and part of a larger city-wide movement that aims to inculcate hope, pride and ownership in the citizens of Karachi by reclaiming public spaces through sports, arts, culture and dialogues.

The event was managed and executed by Polaris with PR & Social Media by Mindmap Communications.

HOPE AWARD – KAIFI Khalil

Kaifi’s story is one of overcoming adversity through hope and passion. Hailing from Lyari, Kaifi used his passion for music to block out the negativity surrounding him. He grew up taking care of himself and found solace in music.Along the way he was introduced to Nida Butt and Hamza Jaffri’s MAD School, where he received formal musical training free of cost from renowned musicians.

OWNERSHIP AWARD – SOHAIL Khan

Sohail Khan is a young change maker from Bengali Para in Korangi who founded a school in his neighborhood after noticing a lack of access to quality education for children in the area. Upon realizing that most people in his area were sending their children to work for daily wages he took matters into his own hands. His school now enrolls over 100 children from Bengali Para. He runs the institution along with continuing his own studies.

INCLUSIVITY AWARD – IMRAN Ghanchi

Having contracted polio as a young boy, Imran felt his exclusion acutely. He was unable to study past elementary school because there were no provisions to make movement easier for disabled students. In 2007 Imran bought a rickshaw and made modifications to it in order to be able to drive it commercially. His work led him to get in touch with the Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, where he is now part of The Rickshaw Project as a supervisor. With The Rickshaw Project Imran became part of a team that trained individuals with disabilities as rickshaw drivers, helping them apply for commercial licenses.

RESILIENCE AWARD – MAHIRA

Mahira is well known throughout Lyari for her courage and resilience. She began to provide tuitions to girls in her community, tutoring them until they were ready to enroll in formal schools. She spent four years of savings, to set up a tuition center for girls and then went on to her next goal: a café for women in an area where community spaces for women were mostly unheard of. Her efforts resulted in her receiving threats from various gangs and political parties in Lyari, but Mahira refused to cow down in the face of intimidation. She not only created a community space for women, but also ensured that it thrives. In 2013,Mahira founded Woman is a Nation, an organization which focuses on women’s education with the larger aim of providing civic knowledge, skills and opportunities for women to become positive influencers in their community.

DIVERSITY AWARD – ATIF bin ARIF

The man behind Super Savari Express is Atif bin Arif, who noticed the city’s residents had become woefully unaware of the rich and diverse cultural heritage it possesses. He began the guided tour which aims to display the city’s diversity, stopping at temples, churches, and mosques belonging to minority groups in the city, as well as other historical sites and cultural institutions. Gaining access to these, however, was not easy. In this climate of fear and insecurity, Atif had to knock on various doors to in order to get the necessary permissions required for the citizens of Karachi to experience their own city.

PRIDE AWARD — SABINA Khatri

She isn’t just a teacher for the children who attend the Kiran School in Lyari, but also a mentor and a parent figure for these children, championing their potential to be high achievers. Established in 2006, the Kiran School enrolls bright young minds from Lyari, preparing them for admission to prestigious schools in the city. Her work is not limited to just educating the children. While the mornings are reserved for children, in the evenings Sabina conducts classes for their mothers, going through material their children will be taught so that they are able to help with homework. Her philosophy is that if the children of Lyari are able to gain access to better opportunities and education, they will be able to improve their own circumstances.

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