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.
The 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.