CultureDevelopmentEducationGilgit - Baltistan

GECA & National Book Foundation join hands

PT Report

Islamabad, July 14: Gojal Educational and Cultural Association (GECA) and National Book Foundation, Ministry of Education, have entered into an understanding to initiate several educational/literacy projects. One of the most important projects is establishment of four Village Book Clubs/Libraries – two at Gojal, one at Aliabad Hunza and one at Rawalpindi — to promote reading habits and book culture among the people, in general, and youth, in particular.

According to details the National Book Foundation has agreed to provide books and furniture to three Village Book Clubs being set up in three towns/villages in Gojal Valley — Chipursan, Gulmit and Shimshal  initially, which will be expanded to other villages.  

Farman Ali, President GECA, sharing this information with Pamir Times, said that the NBF has also agreed to publish books on history, language, culture, folklore written by students and young writers about their villages as well as Gojal.  

GECA has already written letters to all schools in Gojal valley in this regard asking the heads of institutions to circulate the information as well as ask the students to send their articles and manuscripts to the Association by end of September, 2009.  

A board comprising writers and intellectuals will select the best articles for publication. Authors of best written articles will be awarded prizes by NBF-GECA. The books will be published in English, Urdu and later in Wakhi languages. 

GECA in collaboration with NBF has already established a readers’ club/resource centre in Rawalpindi to provide a student friendly environment for the students and the migrant community of Gojal valley. 

gojalThe GECA president  lauded Mr Mazharul Islam, Managing Director NBF, for his sincere efforts and cooperation for the preservation and promotion of the unique cultural heritage of Wakhi people living at the most important geo-strategic knot of four countries – Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.  

He also congratulated the NBF chief on conceiving and launching a unique initiative — Village Book Club — in the country to promote the dwindling book culture and reading habits among the people. This idea impressed our association and we extend our cooperation to NBF in setting up the first Village Book Club in Gojal valley, the largest Tehsil of Hunza-Nagar District. 

Giving details about the readers club, Mr Farman Ali said a large number of people including students and youth from Gojal are residing in the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. There is no facility of recreation and decent reading atmosphere for them. Quite a few of them are wasting their time having been unable to find appropriate work or education.                  

Realizing the gravity of the situation, GECA has decided to provide a forum for our people, especially the youth, to take part in positive activities and enrich their knowledge and intellect. 

Mr Ali said GECA has already entered into an agreement with Lok Virsa to establish Folklore Societies in three schools – Al-Amin, Gulmit, Chupursan and Naubahar Model school Shimshal – to promote folklore, folk songs and cultural traditions of Gojal among young generation so that they could feel pride in their rich cultural heritage.

There are many more projects and ideas in the pipeline which would be implemented if financial resources permitted us, said Mr Ali. 

It may be recalled that GECA in collaboration with Lok Virsa is already making a documentary on Gojal Valley. The task has been assigned to young and promising documentary maker Nisar Ahmed, a graduate from National College of Arts, Lahore who is now-a-days in Gojal. 

GECA will also arrange a week-long workshop on paintings in three schools in Gojal Valley in September. Young artist from Hunza Aleem Dad will conduct the workshop at Al-Amin School Gulmit, Moorkhon School and Naubahar School Shimshal.  

GECA is also compiling list of renowned artisans and artists from Gojal to be submitted to Lok Virsa so that they could be invited to various exhibitions held from time to time at the Lok Virsa Shakarparian Islamabad or to be sent in various cultural delegations abroad. Some of the aged artisans will be selected for honorarium and annual Pride of Performance Presidential award. Mr Ali requested all the concerned to help GECA in compiling the list.

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  1. Dear Farman Sahab,

    We feel great pleasure and acknowledge your hard working, time devotation, sincerety and patience, you are really doing a magnificent job, you deserve high and valuable recognition.

    Our youth must take benefits from the GECA office cum library.

    Plus I would also appreciate and applaud the role of newly appointed GECA cabinet, the whole team comprise of highly qualified and professionals, really working hard to acomplish their designed objectives.


    Shah Zaman

  2. This is very refreshing news in a very long time.
    Engulfed in war, violence, social unrest, and tales of corrupt politicians in Pakistan, we always debate unproductive activities with no real action on the ground.
    This new initiative of Village book clubs should instil curiosities of learning and deep creative engagement with the wonders of the world around our children.

    Good effort on the part of GECA and National Book Foundation. GECA people may consider opening one such library or reading club in the major towns in central Hunza such as Aliabad or Baltit.

  3. Excellent initiatives by GECA!

    Congratulations to all involved.

    Best Wishes,
    Haider Karim

  4. Excellent milestone achieved by GECA,indeed a remarkable initiative taken by GECA, my profound Congratulations to all the GECA members, particularly to Farman Sb

    Engr.Farman Karim

  5. Well done Farman Ali for these initatives. No one can negatively critize for such positive moves.

    Wish you all (GECA) the best for the benign intentions and actions.

  6. Being an association with education I must appreciate the efforts of GECA officials for initiating such an important element of education our education system of reading and writing in hunza is only limited to school level and the habit of study is been finished we must need to introduce the adult education literacy program which is called (non-formal education) because there is no age limit for study at any age level you can study and those people who have study habit can come and take the advantage of that library or resource center
    Secondly that will manage people who are vesting their time in different indoor games because that is not beneficial for their knowledge that is only wastages of time rather then getting any knowledge this culture must be changed and the culture of study must be introduced I will appreciate the efforts of those people who will play their role to establish such unique places where people will get knowledge and it is the expectation of the time to divert the attention of the people towards these activities and save their time rather then going to some where els.i offer my services if needed any where for the betterment of education through this organization..

    Didar Karim Bari
    Rupani Foundation ECD Program

  7. Well done newly appointed GECA cabinet. We really appreciate for their big achievement in short time. We all should come up and stand with them for more success.

    Best wishes
    Salman karim

  8. Al-Hakim try to do it through BADA. do not you understand that GECA is only for Gojalies. Why it should do anything for rest of Hunza? Do you really think that establishing libraries will change our mind? you are so innocent. Baltit is the place which has largest no of quality education institution. still it lags behind other villages in terms of literacy rate. Only change in attitude can bring about change. what is use of burdening ourself with books and knowledge when we are not ready to change ourselves. Hunza has maximum literacy rate in north, yet its people are more conservation. i do not want to produce people who read Garcia Narquez and declare that he writes his stories like stories of Hunza. We fail to produce a single eminent scholar of international repute from Hunza. We are thankful to Gojalies who allowed Hunzukuch in this blog to write and comment.

  9. Farman and the team!

    Great initiatives in a short time. Lets hope the youth and students take benefit from these village based resources.

    The VBC concept is innovative. Though we have a number of reading rooms/libraries in villages like Gulmit and Hyderabad Hunza under the community institutions, but over the years the readership has decreased for a number of reasons, but specifically two to name here: lack of dedicated local volunteers to maintain and manage these village libraries, and availability of updated resources like books, journals and use of new ICTs like CD, DVD etc.

    Lets hope that these village book clubs plan and overcome these
    challenges and also instill the spirit and intellectual mentorship of the ‘study circles’.


    Amin Beg

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