Video song on importance of girl education being launched
PESHAWAR: Noted anthropologist from NWFP, Samar Minallah has
produced a song in Dari and Pashto languages to highlight the importance of girl
education in Afghanistan and Pakhtun regions of Pakistan.
‘Allaho: A Lullaby for You, My Daughter’ is one of the first lullabies
that have been dedicated to girls. Traditionally lullabies are made for sons alone.
The new song is a welcome break from the traditional practice.
Both in Dari and Pashto, the five-minute-long song is a tribute to little girls
in all the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan where schools are being destroyed,
depriving girls of their right to education.
One of the verses in Pashto is: ‘Ookhiyaara sha taleem oka; Da tol jahan
tazeem oka; Da khalqo khidmatgaara sha; Har kaar pa lowar tasleem oka’ If
translated into English, it means: ‘Become clever and educated; Respect
and serve mankind; Ready for the challenges of life; Learning makes the journey
of life easy.’
A noted Afghan singer, Naghma has sung the song, whereas the video has been conceptualised
and shot by Samar Minallah, who has to her credit a number of songs and documentaries
that won her recognition both at home and abroad.
‘Allaho’ is a tribute to the little girls of this region and I hope
it will also reach out to the audience it is prepared for, believes Uzma Mehboob,
who works with an advocacy-based civil society organisation.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is launching the video song in Islamabad
today. The production and launch of the song has acquired an added significance
in that hundreds of schools have been burnt down in recent months both in Pakistan
and Afghanistan by those who are not ready to allow girl education despite the
fact that women constitute almost half of the population of both the neighbouring
Parents and students have lost hope of schools reopening in this volatile atmosphere.
Adding to the worries of the girl students and their parents, even girl education
was also banned in Swat, though later primary-level schooling was allowed.
Samar is a filmmaker and a research anthropologist with an M Phil from the University
of Cambridge. For the last 15 years, she has been highlighting the plight of women
and children through media. She has a devoted love for Pakhtun culture.
Some of the documentaries by Samar are ‘Swara — A Bridge Over Troubled
Waters’, ‘Bibi Shireenay — Where Honour Comes From’, ‘Shinwaray
Lawangeena — Where the Waters Meet’, ‘The Silver Lining’
on HIV/AIDS that depicts how married women pay the price of contracting it from
their husbands due to lack of awareness, ‘The Missing Link’ that highlights
the mobility issues faced by women of Pakistan, ‘The Hidden Colours —
Highlighting the Tangible and Intangible Culture of NWFP’, ‘Sabaun
and Naveen Sawail — Tuberculosis in the NWFP’ and basic information
about its treatment given in Pashto and Hindko, respectively, ‘Dar Pa Dar’
— highlighting the long-term emotional impact of war on the lives of Afghan
refugee women and ‘Da Bajaur Guloona’ that highlights the problems
of the people displaced from Bajaur Agency.
Samar is the winner of Perdita Huston Human Rights Activist Award 2007 for effectively
using electronic media to highlight the lives of women in Pakistan. In 2007, her
documentary called the ‘Silver Lining’ was chosen as the top film
on HIV/AIDS amongst various countries in a Unesco-sponsored filmmaking workshop.
She was selected as a delegate to attend the Young Leaders Conference 2007 in
Singapore arranged by the Asia Society New York. The documentaries have been shown
at various international film festivals and have won laurels.
Samar heads a non-governmental organisation - Ethnomedia — that works in
the field of media and communications for a social change. It strives to highlight
issues of human rights through electronic media in a culturally sensitive way.
In the last five years, Ethnomedia has produced videos on a variety of topics
that are being used by various government and non-government organisations for
the purpose of advocacy. Its main focus is to highlight culturally sanctioned
forms of violence all over Pakistan and disseminate it at various levels for a