Karachi Photo Blog

Monday, April 21, 2014

Koshish Announces Completion of Basic Khan Academy Videos


Koshish Announces Completion of Basic Khan Academy Videos

Koshish Foundation (www.koshish.org), a California non-profit corporation (Chairman, Suhail Akbar) with a strong presence in Pakistan where it works on education-related projects, has announced the completion of over 1700 math and basic science videos that are Urdu translations of the Khan Academy tutorials. These math and basic science videos can enable students learn Grade 3 to Grade 12 level math, chemistry, physics, and biology in Urdu.
Funding for the video translation work was provided by renowned Pakistani-American technologist and philanthropist Safi Qureshey, with Bilal Musharraf, Khan Academy’s Dean of Translations, acting as the liaison between Safi Qureshey and the Koshish Foundation.
Safi Qureshey rose to fame in 1992 when AST, a computer company in California he co-founded with two partners, entered the list of Fortune 500 companies.  Qureshey was the first Pakistani to walk the path of entrepreneurship in computer technology in the US, and he was the pride of his country of birth.  Pakistanis in general and Karachiites in particular took Qureshey’s international success with teary-eyed pride.  This scribe remembers seeing billboards with Safi Qureshey’s picture along Shahrah-e-Faisal in Karachi. Qureshey has definitely been an inspiration in one way or another for today’s large pool of Pakistani Americans starting up their own businesses, putting hard work in them, and taking them to success.
Safi Qureshey realizes the importance of education and has been helping out people and institutions focusing on primary education in Pakistan.  Muhammad Mahboob Akhter, a long term associate of Safi Qureshey, helps Qureshey in identifying and supporting education causes.  In 2000-2001 Safi Qureshey provided funds for educational TV program ‘Khul Ja Sim Sim’ (popular US "Sesame Street" shows localized in Urdu for young TV viewers in Pakistan).
Koshish Foundation’s Urdu translation work of the Khan Academy videos—funded by Safi Qureshey--is being done by two top-notch translators in Karachi: Aleem Ahmed of the Global Science magazine and Zeeshan Hyder.
Currently there is a ban on YouTube in Pakistan.  Since the original Khan Academy videos and their Urdu translations are hosted at YouTube, very few students in Pakistan can access this educational resource.  Even when access to YouTube is restored in Pakistan, a large number of students not connected to the Internet will not be able to reach these educational videos.  Koshish Foundation views a different way its work will be utilized in Pakistan.  Koshish sees non-profit organizations and conscientious citizens downloading this material on their computers and using it to run their own schools with minimum operating expenses.  All they need will be a classroom, a computer with downloaded videos on it, and a projector; a chaperone can oversee the students and the learning process.  When better resources are available students can be given computers to do related practice exercises.
The translated Urdu videos, organized into playlists, are present here:
A spreadsheet created for the general public to evaluate the quality of each translation is available here:


Thursday, April 17, 2014

En el camino a Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez [2010]

زیاں کا یہ احساس آج بہت گہرا ہے

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nature’s Little Secrets [August 2012]

Monday, April 07, 2014

Beef Island Airport [August 2012]

On reaching Tortola, took a shared taxi ride to the Beef Island Airport--had to rent a car from the airport.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

PACC’s Pakistan Day Program Dripped with Eighties’ Nostalgia


A lot of hard work by the PACC team (President Asghar Aboobaker, President-elect Rabia Adil, Co-founder Farrukh Shah Khan, Shahzad Basir, Nasreen Aboobaker, Noreen Tariq, Maheen Khan, Suhail Mohammad aka Suhail Akbar of the Koshish Foundation, Uzma Rauf, Amjad Noorani, Najma Noorani, and others) and financial help from generous sponsors (Jadoo TV, HDF, Javed & Shahnaz Iqbal, Asif & Shahina Haq, Safwan Shah, Umerani & Associates, and Total Wealth Solutions) produced an entertaining Pakistan Day program that was dripping with nostalgia. The organizers -- many of them left Pakistan in the Eighties -- decided to relive their best Pakistan days by reconstructing the 80s Pakistani TV scene in their latest program.
The Eighties were deceptive times for Pakistan. The economic stability brought to the country with the help of international forces put a veneer of calm and prosperity over the Pakistani society. Yes, there was a war raging across the border in the north and Pakistan was the conduit -- often very leaky -- through which the American weapons gushed northwards, young disenchanted Muslim men looking for a purpose in life reached Pakistan from the world over, military training was given to anyone interested in jihad, and unaccounted number of trained men carrying unaccounted weapons left for unknown destinations; and yes, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy was brutally crushed in rural Sindh; but the state-owned media made sure the news was sanitized for the Pakistani urbanites. The city-dwellers watched ‘Neelam Ghar’, laughed at the ‘Fifty-Fifty’ humor, and sang with the Benjamin Sisters; the daily show ended with the 9 o’clock news (the Khabarnama) telling Pakistanis everything was fine and General Zia Ul Haq was the best thing that could happen to their country. This is how you saw Pakistan and the world through PTV, if your formative years in that country were the 80s.
The good old Pakistani Eighties of the PTV were reconstructed in the PACC’s Pakistan Day program, held on March 29 at the Computer History Museum auditorium, through a ‘Neelam Ghar’ quiz competition, and a stellar performance by the Benjamin Sisters (accompanied by two very talented sons of S.B. John).
If Tariq Aziz (host of the original ‘Neelam Ghar’) ever wished to have an heir (minus Aziz’s occasional tantrums) to his popular TV show, his prayers have been answered. Enter Ausaf Masood. Masood, a versatile actor, hosted Pakistan Day Neelam Ghar with great poise and humor. The reconstructed Neelam Ghar had the various components of the original show: the quiz, the dart game, and the US-immigration-styled questions to the newly wed couples. Courtesy of the sponsors of the program, contestants received expensive gifts (cash prizes, iPods, tablets, a big screen TV, and of course the quintessential Neelam Ghar water cooler).
A wonderful discovery of the evening was the young singer Havva Munir who showed great control on her voice beautifully singing in high and low notes. Munir enchanted the crowd with Reshma’s ‘Lambi Judai’.
For a good part of the Eighties Benjamin Sisters (Nerissa, Beena and Shabana Benjamin) ruled the PTV music scene. Fast forward almost thirty years, and the storm brewing under the tranquil 80s has hit Pakistan with full force, yesterday’s unaccounted combat trainees have become the new trainers, intolerance and extremism (found everywhere in the world) now has a lethal face in Pakistan, and young men armed with illegal weapons ambush and kill people in ‘jihad’ based on their personal religious convictions; two of the Benjamin Sisters have followed their fans and have moved to the US.
S.B. John (of ‘Tou Jo Nahin Hai’ fame) is also now settled in New York, and his two musician sons, Robin and Glenn perform with various artists. In PACC’s Pakistan Day program the Benjamin Sisters (a new member Edna replacing Shabana who with her husband now lives in the Middle East) sang their hit songs from the 80s and kept the audience riveted to their seats past midnight.