The need to empower youth and provide them with safe spaces will always be required until schools take that responsibility. This was the vision with which development of youth started in Pakistan. To spread further light on it, Azme Naujawan took it a step further by allowing youth to realize that they are the ones who can uplift their communities through social development. A youth group of Azme Naujawan realized the need to replicate these modules are very important to sustain the change brought in Ibrahim Hyderi. Thus Azme Hyderi was born.
Many participants of Ibrahim Hyderi have time and time again inquired, what would happen to the support they receive when the program ends. During the community batch trainings of Ali Akbar Shah Goth, Ibrahim Hyderi, a few boys inquired something different. They asked why is Azme Naujawan only limited to Ibrahim Hyderi. Since Ali Akbar Shah Goth is right at the end of Ibrahim Hyderi, it only made sense that they are concerned about their friends from nearby areas, such as Landhi. Zain Katchi, who personally also dreams of becoming a trainer, came up with an idea to take what they have learned from Azme Naujawan and teach the same to the youth within his community to maximize the number of responsible individuals for their community, and furthermore provide a safe open forum for youth to come and discuss ideas.
Zain, along with his group took inspiration from a prior project of Azme Naujawan in Lyari, which went by the name Azme Lyari, and used the same principal to replicate Azme Naujawan with the help of trainer Khaleeq Kohistani. The group conducted a small research within their community to identify the problems faced by the youth. They soon realized that the youth within their community was vulnerable to extreme groups, is extremely volatile, and is involved within drug addiction. The simple plan to start it all off was to provide for positive activities for the youth to be able to express themselves and for them to be empowered morally to be able to take responsibility of their community, families and become resilient. In order to do so they identified that the modules of Azme Naujawan were the best to start with. This included major elements of personal and professional development, leadership and arts & culture. After which the idea was simple, many youth is also vulnerable to extreme groups and extreme mindset because they do not find jobs, teaching them entrepreneurship would also help, since they would be able to start small start-ups which can help them earn. Soon the idea of Social Action also joined in, where the individuals starting out could actually implement a social cause within their business plans, making it a pro-social business idea.
The next important step became a venue to start this Social Action Project. Though the Azme Naujawan Youth Center, Ibrahim Hyderi was always an option, for Zain and his team, the prime responsibility was the suburbs of Ibrahim Hyderi where their friends lived, which was very far away from the Youth Center itself, and hardly anyone of the community members could actually afford coming to the other side of Hyderi. Especially the girls, who, from that particular neighborhood of Ibrahim Hyderi were not allowed to step foot outside their neighborhood. In order to maximize the output for their project, Zain talked to his father, who provided the rooftop of their own house with a separate entrance for the purpose of this club. Zain’s father saw how far he and his friends have come and could see a positive change within them. He stated
“My son was a very shy boy who hardly spoke to anyone. Due to Azme Naujawan, he is confident, can speak his mind, and even is interested in developing his own community. I am thankful to the program and will continue to support his cause as much as I can.”
Azme Hyderi is the story of the positive impact Azme Naujawan brings about in the youth of Karachi. It became a Social Action project of 4 young trainees, who have made it their goal to enhance this group and take it up as a fulltime career. They also want to officially make it into an organization. However due to the shortage of funds, currently it is only a dream. This does not stop the boys from working on their goal though.
This alumni group of Azme Naujawan started appealing for funds and guidelines not only within their community and Ibrahim Hyderi in general but reached out for help from Azme Lyari too. Due to this it becomes such an immense collaboration story that it allows individuals to connect much like Azme Naujawan does. Ex trainer of Azme Naujawan, Arij, came in to share the guidelines on which Azme Lyari was made and how it was inaugurated. The team then decided to take responsibilities as individuals. Each member took up a certain designation including a communication officer, logistics officer, outreach officer and program manager. The next thing they did was officially partner with the campaign initiated by Mehrdar Art and Production, Hyderi Ki Behtri to promote their club. Finally mobilization began and 30 youth were initially enrolled to start training with.
Though the project was a collective effort of 5 Azme Naujawan Youth, the credit of Zain’s father cannot be denied. He, being an influential and a respected person within Ali Akbar Shah Goth of Ibrahim Hyderi, has formally supported and promoted the club with various individuals and have also talked to stakeholders. UC Chairman, Rafiq Baloch also supports this forum and states that “it is an incredible start for the boys that once could not even speak, can now stand together, despite of culture, cast or religion, and can support the youth and promote the idea of a singular community.” This youth club is now more than just a replicated version of Azme Naujawan, it has become a center of its own within Ali Akbar Shah Goth, hosting various workshops like the Azme Naujawan Youth Center. Various Alumni of Azme Naujawan are also called in to come and deliver small sessions about their Social Action Project and expertise with the youth of the Goth.
Azme Hyderi directly contributes to about 30 youth, however has opened up its doors for about 200 youth of the particular area near Benazir Chowk Ibrahim Hyderi, who have access to the Azme Hyderi Space and can take membership within the process.
The club now works once a week on training of Azme Naujawan Modules while on other days is an open forum for youngsters of Ali Akbar Shah Goth to come in and discuss ideas. It has become a creative space for many. With Zain’s father involved within the project, it has also engaged parents within the club, knowing that what their children are doing is beneficial for them and the community in general. True community support comes from parental support and that is exactly where sustainability begins.
The inauguration of the club took place in April 2019, where ex trainer Arij was invited to come and speak about the idea. Furthermore, Lead Trainer Khaleeq Kohistani was invited to come in and help set the vision and goal with the participants and the community for this youth club. Finally Zain’s father spoke where he permanently has provided this side of the house to this club. Since the club is inside a private property that too a family house, all community members realize it is a safe space, and will be used to only groom the youth of Ali Akbar Shah Goth.
Apart from replicating the modules of Azme Naujawan, the Azme Hyderi Youth Club takes on small community social projects, like the community cleaning drive. A prime example of this by them was leading the cleaning drive along with the Chattai School, during the heavy rain fall in Karachi. the gesture by them promoted the message of peace, compassion and personal responsibility. It further allowed many individuals to realize that the extreme mindsets the community had about not allowing partnerships with external group, were wrong. This success is what has allowed the group to keep continuing up till now. Finally parents of a lot of girls within the community have also allowed them to join this youth group, and this has become the next plan for Azme Hyderi, working on girls and women within the community.
The group members have by far managed to raise small funds from within the community to be able to set up their space in general. For now it is majorly an open rooftop which is feasible only during evening times when the sun is low and the weather cools down a little. They have managed to raise a budget for a white board and a few markers which they use to train the participants. The major tools currently used are verbal lectures for participants.
As the needs arise, participants try and raise donations or input money from their personal pockets to try and get some activity material. Such an example was the art activity that they conducted following the art module of Azme Naujawan. The best thing that the participants have for now is a space for which they do not have to pay rent for. With a space in hand, we can be positive that the participants will sooner or later try to gain resources to make the club into a formal center.
With the community, stakeholders and the UC standing with them, it seems feasible that they can aspire many young individuals to be able to sustain the youth center in general. The team has also managed to grow partners from within various Azme Naujawan youth groups too. Furthermore have also managed to gain the support of Awaz Youth Group which is a much older youth group of the Ibrahim Hyderi Community. It is only a matter of Support and time which will lead this group to success.
Due to the support received by many Azme Naujwan Alumni and the community in general, Azme Hyderi has successfully managed to start women empowerment workshop with young girls within the community, these workshops are led by Shahina Aslam, the only female member of the group, and she has managed to engage other girls from within Azme Naujawan trainings including Shazmina, to deliver a few workshops for these girls.
The Space has been donated by Zain’s father. It is their house’s rooftop, with a separate entrance. It is dedicated specifically for the youth of the community, and is a private property of the group leader Zain’s family.