By Sajid Bajeer and Suleman Hashim
PakVoices, a project of Bytes for All, Pakistan, supported by Free Press Unlimited organized an event on the occasion of International Women’s Day March 8 in Tharparkar in collaboration with Social Welfare Department of the district and in Gwadar as well.
On the occasion, PakVoices celebrated the achievements of women of remote regions and call attention to the problems facing them.
Both events were attended by women from various fields of life including teachers, girls studying in centers, academic experts and representatives of development sector.
In Tharparkar, children performed tableaus on various regional and national songs. They also delivered speeches highlighting the history and importance of the day.
PakVoices conveyed the message in a statement that this initiative aims at giving voice to the people of remote regions of the country in the national stream and women are on top of its mainstreaming agenda. Furthermore, PakVoices geographical focus includes South Punjab, Tharparkar (Sindh) and Makran Coast of Baluchistan to address the anti-women attitudes and practices.
Women of these neglected parts of Pakistan are reeling under the impact of poverty, illiteracy and discrimination, besides the backward social practices and stereotypes. Pak Voices highlights these problems; spreads awareness about the solution of these issues hence plays enabling role for women’s uplift.
While addressing the gathering, well-renowned educationist and guest of honor Apa Kamla Poonam said that women of Thar Desert are more aware of their rights than a decade ago and they would take rights from male dominating society. However, she admitted that it would take some time given: “Still many women tolerate the violence and this encourages more violence against them.”
In Gwadar, women from all walks of life participated in the event organized by PakVoices indicating the wind of change is blowing in the Coastal region too.
Speaking on the occasion, advocate Shazia Mehrab appreciated PakVoices initiative to hold community gathering on Women’s Day as it provided an opportunity to raise awareness regarding the issues and barriers hindering their progress.
A noted local teacher Fazila Baloch emphasized the significance of the education demanding level playing field for women in all professions.
Women complained that they have been sidelined in the mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as they are not being considered for jobs. They said the women of Gwadar are at par with men and can make their contribution to the successful implementation of the project.
PakVoices citizen journalist Janaat Abdul Hameed briefed the participants about the PakVoices initiative. She explained that PakVoices is a community project focusing on the basic issues at the grass root level including the challenges facing the women of Makran Coast. She said that PakVoices provides a platform to all in general and to women in particular to highlight real issues that are rarely reported from the remote areas by the mainstream press.
Representing PakVoices in Tharparkar Varkha Sidhwani, coordinator PakVoices, briefed the audience about the initiative of PakVoices explaining its proactive role in highlighting issues of governance and its efforts to call attention to women’s issues.
Sajid Bajeer reported PakVoices event from Tharparkar, and Suleman Hashim covered Women’s day event in Gwadar.