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A space for rural artisans

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By A. Jafri
Tue, 04, 21

Hundred stalls of women entrepreneurs from across the nation, which included some delicious food stations as well, made for a perfect family weekend.....

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Rural women artisans from all over Pakistan – from the mountains of Kalash to the deserts of Thar – came to the city to showcase and sell their work at the first ever Karachi Night Market at Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim Park. It was held as part of the All Fruit, Flower and Vegetable show, which was organised by KMC and Horticulture Society of Pakistan. Free and open to the public, citizens of Karachi were invited to support these courageous women and serve it as a gift to the community. Hundred stalls of women entrepreneurs from across the nation, which included some delicious food stations as well, made for a perfect family weekend.

The event was a two-day affair which was inaugurated by Commissioner Karachi Naved Ali Shaikh. The event also had a special sufi musical performance by Shah Latif’s Women Ragis, which for the first time, featured female singers. Spotted at the event were Amin Gulgee, Deepak Perwani, German Consul General Holger Ziegeler, Naheed Shah Durrani, Narmeen Khan, Angelina Malik to name a few.

The second day featured Chief Guest Murtaza Wahab, Chief Minister of Sindh on Law, Anti-Corruption Establishment, and Information, as well as Deputy Commissioner South Irshad Sodhar, and a speech by DG Parks Taha Saleem. The national anthem was performed by popular singer Jana Nazabeth and an inspiring speech was delivered by special guest Sayed Gul Kalash, who travelled 16 hours from Kalash to be part of this event.

“I would like to congratulate the organisers of the event. It was a blessed opportunity to be part of. Thank you for bringing the three-thousand-year-old live culture (Kalash) to Karachi among the others. I hope this step will not stop here, but it will also continue in future and help us to learn more about each other. Finally, thank you very much once again for inviting me to such a prestigious event,” spoke Sayed Gul Kalash.

“It is important for us to support the economy during these difficult times, especially the SME women entrepreneurs and rural artisans who in many cases have struggled the most during lockdowns. Thanks to DG Parks Taha Saleem and the amazing men and women behind the scene, we are able to hold Pakistan’s first ever night market in a safe, huge, open air park with plenty of space for social distancing,” shared Tara Uzra Dawood, President of Ladiesfund, who conceived the idea for the night market.

“I’m extremely happy to be here. I can see our society changing,” expressed Murtaza Wahab. “I can see my city changing. I can see the positive synergy that used to exist in Karachi coming back. The fact that there are 100 women from different strata of society and various cultures – Kalash, Chittral, Punjab, Thar, to Karachi – says a lot about the enterprise, the cultural heritage that exists in our country.”

“People need entertainment and a chance to enjoy our culture,” said Masood Lohar, Founder of Clifton Urban Forest.

“Let’s all make sure that we support these talented women by purchasing their craft, and remind people that Karachi is truly the city of dreams. No commission is taken by the organisers and 100 per cent of proceeds will go directly to these dynamic women of Pakistan. Our culture has existed for thousands of years. Let’s all make sure our traditions continue," concluded Tara.

The foundation is also planning night markets in other cities, as well as striving to facilitate these women to apply for loans through the State Bank of Pakistan women SME scheme.

– A. Jafri