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Sherine Fatima Balti: The budding social media star of Baltistan

In an age when Balti folk music is fast fading, Sherine Fatima Balti has managed to garner quite an audience among Baltis through her outstanding voice.

Syed Mohsin Ali

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Operating primarily through her Youtube channel and Facebook page from her village Bogdang India, she has now become the first Balti female social media star. Now people listening and discussing her songs is not an unusual sight in Baltistan which is getting its familiarity with the social media world.

Maintaining the integrity of Balti music, she has inculcated modern instruments in her songs, thereby giving us a fusion of both the old and the new. Her music is slow paced and uniform with an air not unfamiliar to the older Bollywood songs, yet the real magic is in her melodious voice which is the most visible and distinctive aspect of her music.

Sherine Fatima Balti

Sherine Fatima Balti during a song recording.

According to her, she was extremely passionate about music from a very early age and began singing at the age of 13. Her father and grandfather were also very interested in music, and that’s how her interest in music began. She has performed at various stages since her school years.

Without much resources at her disposal, she started posting her songs on Facebook and Youtube. And after the release of her popular songs Grifshat Sula Beik and Tsertragi Jusay Jusay, she began finding a steady audience in Baltistan. Now according to her, Baltis from all over Saudi Arabia, Australia, and China are appreciating her musical efforts.

She is the first notable Balti female singer who has risen out of a conservative Balti society. She admits that she had to face a lot of criticisms and objections in this regard. However, her faith in her singing and the support of her family got her through all this.

“Most of the people discouraged me for this profession. They said that I was a woman and that I should do what every woman does- get married and start a family. However, my parents supported me a great deal. It is only because of their support that I have been able to progress thus far.”

Very much like her music, her popular Facebook page mirrors the same effort of Balti cultural preservation and promotion. Her posts primarily feature Balti landscapes, dresses and foods while also give a glimpse of life on the other side of the border. Her attempt to engage Baltis about the distinctiveness and richness of their own culture through her Facebook page is quite outstanding. Her endeavors are bearing fruit as people are engaging in the activity of likes, comments, and shares in the social media world.

The article is part of International Women’s Day celebrations under GBee Pink.

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Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Raises Awareness on National School Safety Day in Pakistan

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Photo: AKAH

To protect school children from natural disasters and other insecurities, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) convened government education departments, academia, district disaster management authorities and the media in Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.

Mr. Hafiz Noorullah, Education Development Officer, Chitral, said on a radio talk show:

“A lack of awareness and knowledge makes the disaster happen. So there is a need to have more and more information sharing through different media platforms and involvement of young people in interactive discussions to sensitize them on the topics of safety and security.”

Mr. Nawab Ali Khan, Chief Executive Officer, AKAH Pakistan said:

“In the 2005 earthquake, Pakistan lost around 20,000 children due to vulnerable structures and lack of awareness and preparedness, which cannot be repeated. We need our schools to be resilient and better prepared
for similar situations. We are thankful to our public and private-sector partners for joining hands with us to achieve this objective.”

For the last 20 years, AKAH has been designing and implementing programmes on Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in some of Pakistan’s most vulnerable areas. More than 1,000 schools in disaster-prone areas have benefitted from the development of hazard and risk maps, school safety plans, provision of school safety kits, and awareness raising and capacity building of individuals.

School-level awareness raising sessions have been part of the work of the Aga Khan Agency since the Islamabad Conference on School Safety held in 2008. AKAH’s School Safety Programme will contribute towards the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s one million safe schools and hospitals global campaign, and contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and the practical implementation of the Pakistan School Safety Framework.

For further information, please contact:
[email protected]

NOTES:
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high- risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a
better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India.

Read more about the agency at: http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat

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Introducing #GBCProspers – Stories from Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Introducing #GBCProspers - Stories from Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral

Every day when we wake up, we struggle hard to make a name for ourselves, our families and our country. We see a handful of names in the limelight while hundreds and thousands of names remain in an obscurity no matter how big or small that person’s contribution to the society is.

At GBee, we believe that a society cannot prosper without the small yet meaningful contributions of its members.

This is why, we are announcing the launch of an on-going campaign which we are now officially calling #GBCProspers. This campaign aims to celebrate the contributions, small and big, by the common citizens that collectively reflect in the social, cultural, religious, musical and economic prosperity of the mountain communities.

How to access the stories?

The stories published under #GBCProspers campaign can be found on a dedicated topic section. Each story will also be published in its relevant district page on Facebook and GBee’s Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Alternatively, you can search for the hashtag #GBCProspers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the latest as well as the stories published in the past.

How to submit a story?

Stories can be submitted at our email editor[at]gbee.pk with #GBCProspers in the subject, on our WhatsApp number +923555075849 or directly at your relevant district page on Facebook.

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