Solar-powered LED Lanterns Light up Sindh Villages Encouraging Youngsters to Play Basketball
On October 14, 2012, Shahid Siddique and the Shaan Technologies team, along with special guests Rafique Dawood and Mariam Issa, arrived in the village of Allah Bux Murre to gift Solar-powered LED Lanterns to the villagers. The local people and volunteers of Sindh Health & Education Development Society (SHEDS), the concerned NGO, warmly welcomed them. Masood Lohar of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was the facilitator for the event and the guests.
The guests were taken to the nearby area where the distribution ceremony was to take place. SHEDS made the arrangements to distribute the solar lanterns. It was quite a large area, with enough seats for both the visitors as well as guests. They welcomed Mr. Siddique and the Shaan Technologies team and presented ajrak (Sindh’s cultural cloth), lungi and Sindhi cap (local handicrafts) to all the guests.
A few speeches were delivered to explain the working of solar lights followed by the distribution ceremony. Ms. Issa and Mr. Dawood personally helped the distribution of the Solar LED Lanterns.
The team talked to some of the villagers who said that a lot of their money was being spent on having light at night. A wheel chair was also donated to a local disabled person.
The team then moved on to Government Girls High School, where as part of Pervaiz Lodhie’s “Barefoot Basketball” initiative, a basketball half-court was set up.
In late 2011, Mr. Lodhie was struck with the idea of inspiring the youth of rural Pakistan with values of teamwork and physical exercise by encouraging them to play basketball instead of heading down the path of drugs, gangs, and crime. In May 2012, Mr. Lodhie had the first basketball half-court of his initiative set up in the village of Deenar Khan Talpur, located in District Badin, lit by solar-powered LED flood lights manufactured by Shaan Technologies in Karachi. To this day, the children of the village enjoy playing basketball on the court.
In Hala at the Government Girls High School, in an effort to continue pursuing Mr. Lodhie’s vision to bring the team game of basketball to the youth in villages of Pakistan, a half-court was gifted by Mr. and Mrs. Mohammad Hussain Rokria in loving memory of Rafique Dawood’s (late) parents, Siddique Dawood and Hanifa Dawood. Masood Lohar of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was the facilitator for the event and the attendees, including special guests Mariam Issa and Shahid Siddique of Shaan Technologies.
The inauguration ceremony for the basketball half-court was held on October 14, 2012. After practicing for a week the girls played a game of basketball in front of a group of spectators. The court and the day’s events were organized by the NGO, Sindh Health & Education Development Society (SHEDS).
The girls had never previously played the sport, but they quickly learned it and enjoyed it fully. Trophies were given to both the winning and losing teams in order to encourage them and build their spirit.
Solar LED Area Lights were installed on the court for nighttime visibility. The lights were manufactured and installed by Shaan Technologies, and were designed by LEDtronics, Inc.
In the evening, the team traveled from Old Hala to New Hala, where another basketball half-court was installed at the Sarwari Boys Degree College. Flood lights that were gifted and installed lighted the court and the playing area. A match was played between two teams, Sarwari Green and Sarwari White. Trophies were given to the winning and losing teams by Ms. Mariam Issa and Mr. Rafique Dawood. Sports t-shirt was presented to both donors with their names written on the shirts.
The donors were very happy and excited while watching the game. It was a unique activity for the young men, who had not played basketball previously. The principal of the college said it had been a long time since such healthy activity was witnessed in the college.