Art Ramzan Social work

Ramzan, CSS school and Art classes 2018

Activities of last ten days of Ramzan. 


During  last ten days of Ramzan, it seems both type of people put on another gear! The worldly types move towards the bazaars and shops and more iftar parties. The shopping areas, and roads are packed till late night. The spiritual types completely detach themselves, and go into ‘aitekaaf’. It is a self-proclaimed detachment from worldly life and  focussing on Allah. Spending time only on  prayer and meditation for last ten days of Ramzan till Eid. During that time, one goes into searching for one’s inner self.


Last ashra of Ramzan:

Ashra means  ‘ten’, so I’ve always wanted to try ‘aitekaaf’. Once I did it for two hours. (please don’t laugh at me.) It is rather difficult for us ladies to do it, with so many commitments at home. Of course, everyone seemed to need me at that very time. Though I’d told them not to disturb me, but it is very difficult. This is why most people go to the mosque, where special arrangements are made for each person. Of course, women only do it at home. They go into a secluded room in the house and spend some days there. Food and other requirements are usually served to them by the family.


CSS School activities in Ramzan.

Meanwhile, during Ramzan, everyone is trying to give their zakat and sadqa  charity.  This time I wanted to give gifts to poor children.  It was a brainwave to bring happiness into the lives of poor children. Since I’m affiliated with the CSS school, I decided to do it for them. As I got into the project I realized it was  difficult for me to handle it alone. So, I asked my friends in different groups. The response was amazing.

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They jumped into the project like it was their own.  Within a few days, they started arriving at my place with their cars full of toys and donations; Sabahat, Shagufta, Shabnam, Fatima, Roheen, Maria and Ayesha.  Of course my mom was the first one who slipped some cash into my hand, when I returned from my gift shopping. Every one of my friends got toys, and each one brought her own flavor into the project. The excitement was contagious.  Then we got together one day, at my place to pack all the gifts.  We had checked that we needed gifts for around 170 children. There were forty girls, and hundred and thirty boys.

Then it struck me that the teachers also deserve gifts. After all, they work all year round for a very  nominal pay. So, with the help of donation from Maria, a doctor who sent me cash online, was enough to pay for that. So, the designer shoes donated by Aysha and Waliya, came handy. We were able to offer shoes, and a handbag too. There was even enough for the helper maid and the guard there.

Basically, I’m sharing all this with you, so you too can go ahead with such a project, wherever you are. It wasn’t so difficult and easily manageable.

I’m so thrilled.

Usman told me that a medical team was coming to check the health condition of the students and even their parents. Also, a group was bringing food for everyone.

Shabnam Riaz casually mentioned that she had asked  her PTV World crew to film the session. It turned into a big event ultimately.   Waliya did amazing photography and Fatima came along with her six-year-old niece (who was our youngest donor.)

It was a beautiful evening, when Allah blessed Islamabad with rain and beautiful weather, as we sat outside the CSS school having iftari with the view of mountains behind us. Don’t worry,  we are having gifts for the amazing team of CSS school too. The doctor  and members, along with donors coming all the way from Peshawar and Rawalpindi for this event. As we sat at the table breaking our fast together, Usman didn’t even have a chair to sit on. He was everywhere, arranging everything for everyone. His humble demeanor and simple personality made me feel wonderful that the school is in good hands.


We came home to hear talk on media and television on the rubbish going on with politicians. Only good thing was the talk about Kalabagh Dam. For once the whole nation seems to be on the right side, demanding its construction asap! – That too is getting sidelined with Reham Khan’s upcoming book!

Such a contrast.

Yet, I was content, I had seen first-hand what great work is going on here within our city of Islamabad. (Shabnam had had a bit of a struggle to get the crew to come after the terrible downpour.) I had heard her say to Raza: ‘you all love covering events in five-star hotels. This is the real Pakistan. These are the real people whom we need to cover.’  Convinced, they went about their work, and came up with this news coverage by 10.00 pm that night.

One of our poets who was in my ‘Second Writer’s Meet-up’ Mazhar Nisar was giving the news:

I’ve also known through my friends working with Shahbaz Sharif how much work they are doing in the health field in the health sector;  In hospitals and different health schemes to benefit maximum number of persons in rural and urban areas. I met Major (Retd.) Zafar the other day who was in-charge of security for over forty Govt. hospitals which are being out-sourced to private organizations , (while keeping just 40% of management to themselves.) I also see Imran Khan with his mini-electrical provision projects all over his province of KPK. His work with the cancer hospitals in Lahore, Peshawar and now in Karachi is another shining example.

I just wish our media would grow up and focus on the important, rather than the insignificant and lousy mud-slinging that will be the order of the day till election day. In early November 2016, I watched all the ‘fun’ before the Trump and Hillary campaigns in the USA in 2016. It was quite a shock for all when Trump won in spite of everyone’s skepticism. If nothing else, this itself should be an example for all of us in Pakistan. Hey, we have to participate in the voting process. That is our duty.

We must do whatever we can, whether it is in the political process, as citizens or as human beings of a global world. During last elections in Pakistan it was the first time that there was such a large turn out of voters (almost 60%). We must continue with this spirit. Now is the time for us to not lose our spirits but to be strong. 

Art classes and workshops:

I was so touched when Taha, a member of my Shireen’s Studio Whats App group, asked me if I’d start classes for his wife! I mean, I do have art classes anyway, but just for two days a week. He wanted it to be for five days a week! So, I decided to have four days of art classes and one day for a workshop or such an activity. Somehow, it was a project close to my heart too, so here are some glimpses from our art classes this week:


Late night rendezvous:

So, most people have iftari, then go for travias – (optional extra prayers during Ramzan,)


Usually, after the prayers, people get time for other chores. So, around 10.30 pm, if you go out, the shops are full and there is hardly any place to park. There is work going on everywhere! So, yesterday when my daughter and I went out to get clothes for my dad and give clothes to tailors, mine and waliya’s.

I was sitting outside waiting for my girl, I saw the Chatthas’ sign nearby. I just couldn’t resist it. It was 12.30 am, I walked into the restaurant and told them I want spinach with cheese, palak paneer and nihari, with naan. The place was empty, the sehri buffet hadn’t begun yet. Sehri begins around 1.30 am I guess, and would continue till 3.30 am, when the azaan for fajar prayer is heard. That is when the fast begins.


So, I got my food packed, and they offered me sweet lassi complementary, and even one for my daughter, who came to see what I was up to. So, like a stubborn child I sat and had the lassy, and my frustrated daughter watched as I couldn’t resist delving into the packed food too!

Yes, it was fun.

Let us use all use our talents to feel more satisfied and useful to those around us.

I’m really feeling great. Tell me what you all have been up to, I’d love to hear from you all. Many of you do so much more. Do share with others, I’m doing it to help those who are hesitant to go ahead with whatever they can do in their own communities.

Life is good. Alhamdolillah. Stay blessed my wonderful reader.

Note: photographs provided by author and Waliya Najib Khan.







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1 Comment

  1. Kiran says:

    Shireen commendable work you’re doing for needy and underprivileged people.
    Well as for me I am looking after 4 kids, two are mine. And other two are mother and son in relation, means my hubby and his mother.
    My mother in law is the youngest amongst them. Scared to walk and to be left alone. So she needs our special attention all the time. Me and my daughter are sharing the shifts. My son who is a heart patient but Alhamdolilah recovered from his valve replacement surgery. He just got free from his CIEs and wants to be left alone with his gadgets. My daughter who is like my mother sometimes but needs to be pampered like a baby.
    My love my life my husband who is going through a very rough patch of his life as his transition from fouji to retd fouji.
    So shireen I am busy with these 4 kids of mine.
    Hopefully someday I will be able enough to work for some needy and underprivileged lot.
    My love and regards

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