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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Social Action Projects Selection - The Interviews!

Clad in a crisp black suit and a nervous smile, Saad Hussain waits patiently for his interview call. The judges have just gone in and were carrying voluminous files. Only 5 minutes are left for his interview to begin.

Half an hour later: Saad emerges from the board room, exhilarated. He’s very happy and confident that the judges are convinced of his Social Action Project (SAP) being sustainable and dynamic.

Saad and his friends from a group called “The Maximizers” are one of the eighteen contestants vying for the Active Citizens award. Their SAP revolves around the prevention of Cataract- a killer eye disease that is rampant in the remote areas of Karachi.

We arranged Social Action Projects interviews on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 April for all the short listed contestants from Karachi and Hyderabad. There were 5 SAPs from Karachi and 13 from Hyderabad altogether. Each group was allotted 20 minutes to make presentations about the work they were doing for their community’s welfare and answer judges’ inquiries.

It was overwhelming to see each group’s energy and passion to make their communities a better place to live in. If one group was providing free medical assistance to the needy, the other was endeavoring to save Mother Nature.

“We are trying our best to make Qasimabad pleasant and greener. Therefore, we cleaned a park in our neighborhood and planted trees. Many locals joined us in the activity and are still helping us in taking care of the park and plants,” remarked M.Hussain Vighio, the group leader of “The Challenger Group” who has accepted the challenge to work for Climate Change.

“Who will help our neighbors if we don’t? Most of them aren’t aware about the causes of Hepatitis B & C, let alone seeking medical assistance for these diseases,” said Murtaza Shaikh, who organizes free medical camps in the rural areas of Hyderabad and vaccinates the locals for Hepatitis B & C.
The Social Action Projects interview panel included Shireen Naqvi, CEO- School of Leadership, Saima Khan, Director- School of Leadership; Nasir Nazir, Project Manager- British Council Lahore; Nabeel Alvi, Head of Programmes- British Council Karachi; Shazia Khawar, Head of Programmes - British Council Islamabad and Obaid Khan, Project Manager- British Council Karachi.

“This country belongs to you; you need to take care of it. We can show you the path, to accept it or decline it - is your choice,” encouraged Shireen Naqvi while speaking to the youth groups. She was thoroughly impressed with the efforts of young people and offered them her project mentoring services for free.


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