The Gender Guardian is giving Lahore’s transgender community the skills to pay their bills | Samaa Digital

When you’re a member of Pakistan’s transgender community, life is tough. It’s difficult to get a job and even more difficult to get an education. The government has made it a bit easier on the community by adding the third gender on ID cards but they still have a tough time in the employment market. That’s where The Gender Guardian comes in. The Gender Guardian is Pakistan’s first all-transgender persons school and it wants to empower the community by equipping them with skills to find employme

The Grid, Karachi’s Artist Hub

The Grid Club is a newly opened community center which opened its doors for artists, musicians, writers, thinkers and enthusiasts in July. It’s a great platform for artists to grow and showcase their talent. It’s a place to relax, play, unwind, talk, create, exchange ideas and perform. It’s a place where you can be yourself. There’s a lot happening on the walls such as random thoughts scribbled and patterns drawn on the club’s freedom walls. The best part is that the visitors can use the walls

TDF Ghar – Reminiscing The Glory of Old Karachi

A century old home to reminisce the glorious history of Karachi has been renovated under the Dawood Foundation called TDF Ghar. Built under an almond tree in the 1930, it’s located in the heart of Jamshed Quarters at MA Jinnah Road. It’s the first dedicated cooperative residential area for middle-class in Karachi, developed by Jamshed Nusserwanjee in 1922. Once home to multiple ethnicities including Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Parsis and Jews, the Haveli served as a religious community center.

We’re all Mad Here at ‘Once Upon a Time’

Step into the realm of Once upon a time, a café located in Defence, which takes its customers on a journey offering scrumptious street food from around the globe. The café’s owner and head chef Abee Malik, a die-hard foodie travelled to almost 40 countries and brought flavors and recipes from diverse 24 cities. The concept café with colorful chairs, mad hatter hats, cushions, paintings and frames on the wall, books and décor looks no less than a page out of Alice in the Wonderland. What we tri

Pakistani High Achievers 2017

Pakistan is home to a lot of talent and Pakistanis have made their mark around the globe. In 2017, Pakistanis delivered on many fronts. Here are some who made us extremely proud through their remarkable achievements in different fields. In 2017, young guns left no stones unturned to make Pakistan proud. One of them is Muhammad Rayyan Siddiqui, the world’s youngest Google certified Associate Android Developer. It’s a huge achievement that Rayyan at the age of 13 passed his Associate Android Deve

Change the Clap

Donning colorful clothes and layers of makeup, as she waits for the traffic signal to turn red and begs in the name of God, some snigger at her and ridicule her because of the way she claps while some are kind enough to spare her a few coins in return for blessings. This is not merely one story but the plight of transgender community in Pakistan who are marginalized and deprived of their rights. The loosely estimated 80,000 to 300,000 transgender are still struggling for inclusion in society an

Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed & Aaqib Javed on PSL 3

Pakistan Super League’s third edition is currently underway. Teams are aiming to secure a spot in top four in order to qualify for the semi-finals as the league has entered its second phase. While Lahore Qalanadars has been ruled out of making it to the play-offs considering they have been able to win only one match in the tournament so far against Multan Sultans, after six straight defeats. The newcomers Multan Sultans looked impressive in the first phase of PSL but are struggling now after thr

Truly Self-reliant Female Dry Fruit Vendors of Empress Market

Dressed in a bright orange chiffon saree with colorful embroidered lace border, an ethnic nose pin and the signature red Bindi, Tulsi sits at the forefront of the Empress Tower – a Victorian era 19th century building in the heart of Saddar. Gothic styled windows and green steel gates makeup the regal exterior of this building rendering a distinguished feel to this hustling marketplace. She is one of the many female dry fruit vendors going about this trade since decades, passed onto her by gene

In Conversation with PTI’s Asad Umar

What was that moment when you decided to join Imran Khan’s struggle for Naya Pakistan? 18th of April 2012 was the day a press conference was held and I said yes. How do you manage to stay calm and talk with rationale in talk shows especially when some politicians can’t keep their cool? That’s possibly because of two reasons. First one is to do with basic fundamental personality. The second is how you deal with ideas, concepts and reasons rather than people. And, therefore I don’t hate people

NARAYANPURA – Rejoicing Religious Diversity

Karachi is a melting pot of many different flavors as ethnic and cultural diversity lies at the heart of it. Not many of us who have lived in Karachi for years would know of a neighborhood in Ranchor Lines Saddar, Narayanpura which is home to multiple ethnic groups – Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. It was established by a Hindu activist named Narayandas in 1824. Narayanpura has eight entrances, four of which are closed now. We got in touch with Pandit Vishram before visiting the neighborhood, but

Last Irani Cafes of Karachi

As glitzy eateries take over the urban landscape, the iconic Irani cafes are dying down. Hardly less than 10 have survived from a whopping number of 100 Irani cafes which existed back in the 70’s. Belonging to this generation, little did I know about these Irani cafes except for what I heard from my father. It was his go to place for lunch with colleagues during his Jang days back in the 90’s. Once abuzz with politics, poetry and all sorts of heated debates and discussions over endless cups of

A language in search of a nation

It was not until a year ago when I was doing an internship at a private Urdu news channel, I realized my Urdu is not as good as it should be. During the first few days, I struggled to figure out what to call a particular thing in ‘Urdu’. Google translator was the savior. Despite the fact that I was an active Urdu debater during my school and college days, had an A in Urdu at O and A level both and it is the mode of communication at my home, my Urdu vocabulary is nothing infront of my English voc

Refugee Crisis: A Social Reality?

Bangladesh’s south eastern border is more of a gauntlet now as endless stream of Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar in wake of the recent crisis. Boats carry refugees across the border on the Naf River in Teknaf every day, while houses set ablaze in Burma with fumes covering the sky can be seen from across the border in Bangladesh. Often, men carry exhausted women and children to the shore and refugees trek tens of kilometers inland across paddy fields to reach the camps. Most of the refugees enter a

Are Seaview vendors contributing to Economy?

KARACHI : As the temperature rises people in Karachi rush to sea view. As the sun grows beneath the shore the day is set for the show, an old man from Mardan tightens the rope around his horse and a chai wala wipes the mugs from a cloth that in the later part of the day will be used to wipe everything but the mugs. The sheer sound of the waves go dim as the day sets. It’s like a coup on the bureaucracy of sand and shore. A platoon of sellers from different parts of Pakistan geared up with all t