12 April, 2008

Hina My Sister

Hina Jawaid. Karachi Grammar School, Class of 2008.

Excerpt from my letter of recommendation:
In the summer of 2007, Hina was one of five people who initiated, organized and ran the annual summer camp at the SOS Village for Children (an orphanage) in Karachi. The camp served 160 children from the orphanage and 40 underprivileged deaf children from a local school. It involved arts-and-crafts activities, educational workshops, excursions to factories and museums, a carnival (organized by children in Hina’s group), a games night, a barbecue night and a closing ceremony with children’s performances. The camp was preceded by a process of selecting volunteers, where Hina interviewed and selected candidates. I was working with her at that time and witnessed remarkable integrity and meticulousness in her conduct. This was followed by a two-week volunteer training workshop and a crash course in sign language, and Hina was at the forefront of this venture too, getting to know volunteers, organizing various sessions and leading discussions and brainstorming sessions. At the camp itself, she led the 10- to 15-year-old boys’ group, which had about 30 children and 6 volunteers. At meetings, her input was direct and her constructive criticism was effective.

Hina has been volunteering at the camp for five years. During the school year, she teaches street children at a garage school on week-ends. She has helped to organize yearly benefit concerts with a local non-governmental organization. After the recent earthquake in Pakistan, she helped design a fundraiser campaign. She worked with a group on creating colorful wristbands that were sold for Rs. 100 and raised about Rs.100000 for relief items. Yet last summer I saw her serving an indispensable role at the camp. I learned then that she is excellent at conflict resolution, which makes her a good leader. I saw that she had the ability to empathize with her volunteers – I believe that being the third daughter in a family of seven has taught her to strive to excel, while preserving her thoughtfulness and concern for others. As a board member for the Student Volunteers Council at Princeton, I can see Hina as a great addition to the Princeton fabric.
In her final year at school, Hina is a co-editor of Karachi Grammar School’s yearbook/official magazine, the Grammarian. This role is followed by her position last year as the publication’s sub-editor for Art. The book is entirely created by students, from conception, to content, to layout, to artwork and cover design. Additionally the position requires the capability to maintain a delicate balance between making a fun yearbook and representing the school in an official way. Hina works closely with the school administration and the student body to achieve this equilibrium.

Hina is a creative artist. She goes beyond static representation and really paints the world as she “sees” it. In that bold act I see faith and determination, an undeterred desire to stand out and represent her own original ideas rather than letting the world dictate her work. This faith drove her to break from the norm in Pakistan and pursue Art and History at school, subjects she loves. I have often talked to her about her art and there is always a story, an emotion or a message involved. She designed the cover of the Grammarian 2007, created the backdrop for her class play last year and her work was also featured in the international art exhibition for peace in 2004 organized by Youth Initiative for Peace.

In fact, Hina is part of this global peace movement, and was closely involved in organizing the traveling art show in December 2004, which premiered in Karachi and then traveled to six cities in Pakistan and India. The art show was titled “Changing Mindsets” and had more than 600 pieces of artwork created by students and renowned artists from the sub-continent. In Karachi, the opening was preceded by a movie screening and reception, which Hina diligently organized.

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