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.
IAK Award Winners 2016
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.
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.
Mahira is well known throughout Lyari for her courage and resilience. She began providing tuitions to girls in her community, teaching them until they were ready to enroll in formal schools. She spent four years of her 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(WIN)’, 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.
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.
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.