News and Appeals

Come to our November online talk, 1-3pm GMT, 20th November – more details below:

Women, Education and Pakistan: A Conversation with Qaisra Shahraz followed by A Conversation with Khwendo Kor staff

Qaisra Shahraz MBE is a British-Pakistani critically acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter and an award-winning peace and gender activist.  She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, founder and executive director of MACFESTUK (the renowned Muslim Arts and Culture Festival) and of Muslim Women’s Arts Foundation. She has won several awards including in 2016 the prestigious National Diversity Lifetime Achiever Award for “Services to Literature, Education, Gender and Interfaith Activism”, University of Salford Alumni Award and a Queen’s Honour, MBE for “Services to Gender Equality and Cultural Learning”.

Her novels, The Holy Woman, Typhoon and Revolt are translated into several languages including in Mandarin. Her The Concubine and the Slave-Catcher: And Other Stories from Around the World was published in September 2017 with Hope Road Publishing. She has appeared in many international writers’ festivals and book fairs and her work is being studied in schools and universities.

Qaisra Shahraz has enjoyed another successful career in education as a former Ofsted inspector, a quality manager, consultant and teacher trainer. She has devoted her energies to interfaith work and community cohesion via various charities, i.e. Faith Network for Manchester and We Stand Together.  And continues to promote messages of peace and tolerance, now through MACFEST’s slogan ‘Spread Honey Not Hate’.

At this event, Qaisra will be in conversation (with Prof Claire Chambers, University of York and FROK Trustee) on three subjects close to her heart: women, education and Pakistan. They will also talk about her body of writing, which Claire has long admired and written about. The “in conversation” discussion will followed by an audience Q&A.

In the event’s second half, staff members from Khwendo Kor will talk about their work on the ground with women and their communities in northwest Pakistan and answer any questions.  Khwendo Kor’s work has at its core their vision of ‘A compassionate society where women and girls live with dignity and self-reliance’ (www.khwendokor.org).

All welcome: Book via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-education-and-pakistan-a-frok-event-tickets-190268597497 (closing date 19th November)

An event brought to you by UK Friends of Khwendo Kor (FROK) www.frok.org.uk 

THE EVENT IS FREE BUT DONATIONS ARE WELCOME! https://bit.ly/3iRvRCe 

LAUNCH OF JOINT UK-FROK/ KK FILM

Following its successful launch as part of York International Women’s Week, our new film ‘SHARING WOMEN’S PANDEMIC EXPERIENCES FROM YORK AND NW PAKISTAN’ is now publicly available on you-tube at https://youtu.be/wGWw_8Y9mBw.  

Do check it out!  And don’t forget to turn on subtitles in the icon at the bottom of the screen before you start.

EVENTS FOR YORK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S WEEK 2021

FROK has two events coming up on Saturday 6th March as part of York International Women’s Week 2021. Both require advance booking.  From 10.30-11.30 GMT there is an online yoga class.  And from 13.00-14.15 we are showing a film that York members and KK have jointly made called ‘FILM AND FOOD WITH ‘FROK’ – SHARING WOMEN’S PANDEMIC EXPERIENCES FROM YORK AND NW PAKISTAN’. Both events are FREE but asking for donations to FROK. For more details and/or to book, email frok.events@gmail.com.

AUTUMN EVENT FOR FROK

FROK was delighted to have arranged the following FREE talk, hosted here in the UK.  It has met with a tremendous response with over 60 bookings.  BOOKING IS NOW CLOSED.  Please go to our latest Newsletter (No 2 2020) on the Publications page to read a report on it:

Human Writes: Pakistani Women’s Writing

14.00-15.00 (GMT) on Sat 14 Nov

In this 30 minute talk, followed by a Q&A session, Professor Claire Chambers and Sauleha Kamal of the University of York UK will provide a reader’s guide to the burgeoning field of Pakistani women’s writing. They will argue that recent Pakistani cultural production by women has shown a distinct turn towards human rights discourse. Women writers and filmmakers are increasingly representing minorities’ precarious position in contemporary Pakistan, and many of them also explore fierce debates about human rights, Islam, and cultural relativism. Claire will walk you through how fiction, film and poetry by Pakistani women claim to put the human into human rights. Sauleha Kamal will join Claire in discussing the extent to which the exposure of these women to the international scene affects how they are received and who they influence. Both speakers will also discuss how their work might impact on the work of organisations such as Khwendo Kor in rural areas and how spaces could be created for indigenous women writers.

Claire Chambers is Professor of Global Literature at the University of York. She is the author of British Muslim Fictions (2011), Britain through Muslim Eyes (2015), and Making Sense of Contemporary British Muslim Novels (2019). She has also published a collection of her essays entitled Rivers of Ink (2017). Finally, she co-edited Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora (2015) and A Match Made in Heaven (2020). Her research has been supported by funding from HEFCE, the British Academy,the Leverhulme Trust and the AHRC. Claire is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, acts as Editor-in-Chief (with Rachael Gilmour) of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, and writes a regular column for Dawn’s Books and Authors.

Sauleha Kamal is a PhD candidate and Overseas Research Fellow at the University of York researching post-9/11 South Asian narratives in the context of human rights and politics. She holds an MPhil (English: Criticism and Culture) from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Chevening and Cambridge Trust scholar, and a BA (Economics & Social History and English) from Barnard College, Columbia University. Her scholarly work, essays, and fiction have appeared in various places including Postcolonial Text, The Atlantic, and Catapult. She was a writer in residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York in November and December 2019.

We will also give a short update on the work of Khwendo Kor.

The event is free to attend and open to FROK members and supporters and interested others.  Booking must be made in advance by emailing before 12th Nov to frok.events@gmail.com with your name and the email address with which you will be joining the session. If you are unfamiliar with using Zoom then let us know and we will send instructions.

We will send out joining instructions the day before the talk.

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OUR APPEAL TO SUPPORT KK’S HUMANITARIAN WORK FOR THE COVID-19 RESPONSE CLOSED ON 18TH JUNE 2020.  WE ARE DELIGHTED TO TELL YOU THAT WE RAISED £2,106. WE WILL REPORT MORE FULLY IN OUR NEXT NEWSLETTER.  REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN STILL DONATE TO KK’S ONGOING WORK BY CLICKING ON THE ‘WAYS TO HELP’ TAB.

Read below for a recent report (mid May) from KK on their work:

Khwendo Kor’s Humanitarian Work for the COVID-19 Response 

Humanitarian response is one of main components of KK programs. KK was actively engaged in supporting the affected people of 2005 earthquake, floods in 2010-11, and the temporary displaced people as a result of man-made and natural disasters.

The current pandemic spread of corona virus has made the entire world vulnerable, and so far no one has been able to come up with a universal solution such as that of  polio vaccine. In addition number of deaths due to this are alarming than ever.

COVID -19 has badly hit all segments of society without any discrimination of wealth, color, religion, and gender. Poor have become poorer, people have lost jobs and revenues and economies are collapsing.

Khwendo Kor’s working  communities include Urban  communities of  diversified faiths and culture, rural communities of merged districts and semi urban communities mainly in KP.

Khwendo Kor despite its limited resources has initiated COVID-19 response work with following strategies.

  1. Food distribution.
  2. Cash distribution
  3. Integration of C-19 in to Peace building project supported by NCA.
  4. Provision of Hygiene facility in school.

1- Food distribution:

The wave of COID-19 is increasingly making more and more people  helpless, especially the daily wagers  are in  critical situation. Thousands of daily wagers are jobless due to lockdown and closure of businesses.

KK had started serving cooked food to the drug users even before C-19 and none of the daily wagers would join the drug users. After C-19, many daily wagers who become jobless, have started eating the food along with the drug users.

In-order to feed the jobless laborers KK has started serving cooked food  exclusively for them. Presently, Iftar dinners  are prepared and served in Hayatabad area to daily wagers, men, women and children. More than 200 individuals including women and men have been fed. The activity is supported through donation by friends and family members of KK staff.

Roadside 1 May 1.1

Cooked food served  among  daily wagers women and men at Hayatabad

 2- Cash distribution.

Based on KK’s humanitarian work experience cash distribution in remote areas was found useful for many reasions including needy people can utilize it according to thier own prioritized pressing needs, it saves transportation and storage cost and most importantly handing over cash enhances trust and confidence of taking decsion how to spend the money. KK has distributed cash  among 40 men and women in two villages of merged district of Bannu  in  Jani Khail and  Machi Khail.

KK has developed reporting format for ensuring transparenecy in the distribtuion of cash showing  who, where, and why the cash was distributed. Cash distribution process was done in the stated villages involving community activists both men and women who identified poorest of the poor prior to the actual distribution.

KK  has distributed cash  among vulnerable women at village Janikhail merged District Banuu.

 3- Integration of C-19 in to Peace building project supported by NCA.

3.1 : Masks Distribution among community including women and  minorities:

Since last three years with the help of Norwegian Church Aid KK has been working on peace building and promoting social cohesion  project  in District Peshawar. Like everything else C-19 has affected everything  and  also has  transformed the project. Now COVID -19 response related activities have been incorporated in this project.  The details are as following.

Under KK economic empowerment program, several women have acquired skill in stitching, producing woolen product, producing handicrafts items in their own homes.

KK came up with innovative idea and encouraged some of the  community based women handicrafts producers to start making masks. In this way a): their income is increasing, b): they are providing easy access to masks in their own community and c): masks produced by these women are been distributed among CCH, youth and women group member under Peace Building.

3.2- Awareness raising:

Under Youth Fellowship program , youth fellows as well as members of Council of Communal Harmony (CCH) are  actively contributing in C-19 response related  following activities.

Youth Fellows and CCH are diversified groups of women and men from different faith, culture and class.  Both forums by contributing towards C-19 response are expressing solidarity to the broader society as a whole and enhancing social cohesion and harmony in their circle.

3.2.1:  Mr. Fawad, from Para Chinar,  Mr. Hanif, & Mr. Shiraz from Charsadda , Ms. Tayyaba from D.I Khan, Dr. Taimur & Mr.  Dilshad  from Peshawar have been actively   engaged in awareness raising on preventive measures against  Covid-19 e.g. Hand Washing with social distances and use of masks in their respective areas. These informations shared not only with women, men but also with children.

3.2.2:  Mr. Taimur Emergency Intensive professional   from Youth Fellowship (YF) Engaged in screening of patient RMI Peshawar

3.2.3: CCH members and Youth Fellows from diversified community including Mr. Muhammad Shiraz , Ms. Naina, and Mr. Subhash were engaged in mapping   needs of vulnerable  in district Peshawar, Para Chinar and District Charsadda.

3.2.4: CCH members and Youth Fellows including  Mr. Muhammad Shiraz , Ms. Naina, and  Mr. Subhash were engaged in need identification of vulnerable, the identified  needs include mainly   medicines and  food  in their own community and shared the list with KK.

3.2.5:  Ms. Naina is a member of Youth Fellowship, did needs assessment among the Hindu community

3.2.6: Similarly Mr. Fawad from Youth Fellowship program has distributed food items among  200 families including Suni and Ahle Tashee Community in  Parachinar

3.2.7: Ms. Hijab is  engaging  children; she teaches them how to wash hands and she also  distributed food package among 200  daily wagers families.

3.2.8: Mr. Ehtisham is also  engaged  with children and demonstrated hand washing protocol essential to stay  safe from C-19

3.2.9: Awareness raising through whatsaapKK’s has been vigorously engaged with community through virtual means, especially through the most accessible tool whatsaap. KK keep on sharing information on the preventive measures against C-19

3.2.10: Awareness raising through Radio Program: KK’s project team organized a radio show focusing on awareness raising on COVID-19  and advocating for co-existence, cultural cohesion, shared values and culture promotion by hiring the services of Pakhtunkhwa Radio FM 92.2.

Awareness through Radio program

3.2.11: Youth Fellows in Prime Minister Ehsas program: 

Mr. Dilshad is an active member of KK’s Youth Fellowship program. He has been actively engaged in supporting the illiterate and poor communities for registration in Prime Minister Ehsas Program and has  registered over 1200 individual under Ehsas program.

4: Provision of Hygiene facility in school.

KK identified following needs with the active involvement  of mothers and fathers School committees in  Chashmai village to address the emerging  challenges of C-19.

  1. Due of lack of personal hygiene facility in the school, it was decided that the existing toilet will be repaired and hand washing basin will be installed.
  2. Teachers will be trained on C-19 protocols .
  3. Village women having sewing  & tailoring skills will be encouraged to make masks.
  4. Mud flour will be cemented to avoid dust.

All above activities will be done on partner basis, with equal contribution in kind by community.