Meetup report by Mrs. Sarah Adnan, Content Writer at WOWPK
14th November, 2020, the day when the 2nd WOWPK Networking event was scheduled, the first one in Karachi. Prior to this, the Islamabad Networking event was successfully held on 30th September, 2020. However, with the rising COVID cases and prioritizing the health and safety of all our guests and participants, our team decided to postpone the offline event and turned it into a virtual meet-up instead. Given the circumstances, it turned out to be a huge success.
This virtual event, which was held via Zoom was also livestreamed on the Women of Wonders Pakistan (WOWPK) group portal on Facebook. The three guest speakers, three powerhouses of their fields, were women who are an inspiration for many, who not only excel in what they do but are also playing an active role in community development which has begun a sort of a chain reaction amongst those whom they impact.
The topic was the same as the Islamabad event, ‘Israr-e-Khudi’ (Secrets of the Self) and we encouraged our guest speakers to speak about their personal journeys, their struggle to achieve what they have and the setbacks that they faced from the society, yet leaving their mark, paving the way and making it easier for women after them to walk this path. The session was started by Mrs. Sarah Adnan and Ms. Javeria Tabassum, the wowpk team behind this successful virtual meetup, followed by a welcoming note from the founder, Mrs. Zia S. Hasan who gave an insight about the various activities being organized by WOWPK and the importance of empowering women for the economic development of Pakistan.
The three speakers were:
Shabina Mustafa, president of the Safi Benevolent Trust and founder of The Garage School, a holistic organisation for the underprivileged children and families of Shah Rasool and Neelam Colonies, two urban slum surrounded by the posh Clifton and DHA areas in Karachi. Shabina spoke about her life before The Garage School, how she, from a free-spirited sporty girl, turned into a woman overnight, when her husband was missing believed killed before the 1971 war in Bangladesh. She was just 21 years old then, with a 2 month old baby and no roof over her head. Heart wrenching story of how, through constant struggle, she became the Shabina Mustafa we know today. You can watch her talk on our YouTube channel on the following link:
Shamim Rajani is a Techpreneur and has been serving the Pakistan IT industry for the last 15 years. She is COO at Genetech Solutions, a software company dedicated to providing End to End IT solutions and services to its Global audience. She is also the founder of ConsulNet Corporation, a tech training incubator that imparts technology training on social grounds. The CODEGIRLS bootcamp is one of ConsulNet’s few initiatives to improve inclusion in the TECH Sector. She is currently serving as Member CEC at P@SHA, Board Member Agile Development Society of Pakistan, Adviser for WomenInTechPK and Community Ambassador in Pakistan for CryptoChicks. Shamim spoke about her struggle with making a mark in a very non-traditional industry for women. From being a medical student to becoming a successful techpreneur, it was no easy feat but with an iron will and untiring efforts, she has succeeded in not only penetrating the IT sector but also helping girls enter this field through training and mentoring programs. She has been called an opportunist, however, she has taken this trait very positively and has proved that there is no job a woman is incapable of. Her complete talk can be seen here on this YouTube link:
Nida Sheikh, a young Substation Design Engineer at Siemens, Pakistan designs High Voltage grid stations across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her vast portfolio includes designing grid stations for Bahria Rawalpindi and Lahore, DHA and Creek City Karachi, GIS substations of independent power plant owners, KE grids in Karachi, and Sugar Mills grids of Punjab, amongst many others. Nida, a self-made woman, took inspiration from her mother, who singlehandedly raised her to be independent. After her father’s death at a very young age, Nida never asked her mother for anything. When girls her age were busy playing with dolls, Nida had her eyes on the goal she most wanted to achieve, to be a self-reliant woman. The strength that her family provided and the role that they played in her success is an example for families of young girls who dare to dream. Her inspirational talk can be seen on our YouTube channel through this link:
The meetup was ended on closing remarks and a thankyou note by Ms. Kiran Sheikh and Mrs.Saima Naveed, the dedicated team members of WOWPK. The guest stories made us realize that nothing in the world is impossible if you set your mind to it and if you work hard to achieve your goals. Failure is just another lesson. You actually lose when you give up. We would like to thank all our three guest speakers for sharing the struggle of their journeys with us, inspiring so many women to pursue their dreams, to not give up in the face of adversity and to keep on hustling. Their stories are a testament to the fact that women are no less, no matter the field.
WOWPK has been playing a pivotal role in promoting women working in non-traditional professional fields and we hope that events like these can inspire our women to tread the path less travelled.