Academy for Democracy

    Outreach Program

    Laajverd Visiting School  is an initiative to engage bachelor students and mid career professionals in rigorous field research. This encourages them to critically analyze the culture, environment and people of that area. This helps them reflect upon their own position in an increasingly urbanized and globalized world while understanding the challenges faced by local cultures and traditions. For the locals, we try to make them aware of their environment and also do on-site impromptu workshops in areas where we can assist them. The LVS believes in a two-way learning model where the locals and visiting participants are engaged in a healthy dialogue of learning, understanding and sharing knowledge for a better future. Following are some activities done under the LVS outreach program

    – Design Workshop for local girls

    – Local Tourguides

    – Cleanliness Drive

    – Museum Uplifting in Janawai  

     

    Heritage Museum Janwai

    Uplifting local museum On the way back from Taobat, we also visited a small museum kept by a local in one of the bazaars. The Director LVS (Zahra Hussain) discussed the uplifting of museum with the owner and promised to redesign, curate and add knowledge to this repository by the mid of September 2015. DSC_0275

    A local person, Bashir Ahmed Mughal has taken the initiative to establish a small museum in his village Janawai in Guraiz Valley. Mr Bashir Ahmed who, at an early age, started collecting items of heritage importance from community elders in Neelam Valley. Over the past 18 years, his collection has reached apx 85 items that have been placed in this museum. Bashir believes that the indigenous culture is important to preserve and has established the only community museum in Neelum Valley. Old indigenous items of heritage importance have been collected from the villagers and kept in a room. The museum was in a dilapidated condition and required uplifting and restoration. The items required proper attention and care and needed to be catalogued. In 2015, the Laajverd Visiting School in Neelum Valley extended full support in up-lifting the museum as an LVS outreach project, and carried it out as under,

    In Phase 1, carried out in September 2015,

    –        Items have been cleaned and placed on wooden base/shelves.

    –        A proper lighting arrangement for the artifacts has been provided.

    –        Digital inventory of the museum has been prepared with photographs of each item.

    –        The museum logo designed.

    –        Maintenance kit for the artifacts has been provided. DSC_0252 DSC_0260

    DSC_0269 DSC_0271

    We enjoyed the hospitality of the locals in Janawai while renovating the museum. The idea was to involve the community in the process. Hence, we would invite shopkeepers, elders and children to the join us and help us in uplifting the museum. The children helped us with small tasks such cleaning heritage items, after they got off from school. The local girls The Qari sb who runs the community hardware shop donated some small items to the museum. He also helped paint the walls. The local restaurant near the museum would offer us free tea during the day while we worked. The local girls treated us to corn and freshly picked apples. As we completed our tasks, more locals got excited and involved with helping out with chores. Over all, the renovation of the museum brought a positive and healthy air in Janawai. It became a point of gathering, collaboration and learning for all those who were involved. The Phase 1 is complete for the next season; however, Laajverd is helping the community to make the Heritage Museum Janawai a knowledge repository and linking it up with other beneficiary groups such as women, children and schools. We welcome further collaborations in this regard. DSC_0272 DSC_0273 

    Further measures were taken to ensure the following,

    –        Items have been labeled and displayed in a chronological order.

    –        Items have been placed under broad categories such as household; pottery, tools and utensils, Apparel (men & women) Furniture and medicinal plants.

    –        Items have been labeled with names, dates, brief history and usage and occasionally supplied with examples such as photographs.

    –        Proper inventory of the items has been developed and handed over to the museum proprietor.

    –       A 2-hour workshop on inventory keeping, museum items upkeep and maintenance for the local community involved in this project.

    Donors and Supporters

    Laajverd received donations from Saulat Hussain, Sabiha Saulat, Ahmad Yasser, Ejaz Ahmed Qadri, Adeela Suleman, Zulekha, Zahra Hussain, Abdullah Aslam, Geyteeara, Maria Naqvi and Huma Mazhar for this activity.