Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Ruth Pfau Passes Away

Some time ago, a report was published about three German women, who worked selflessly in and for Pakistan and who even knew each other as well:

Annemarie Schimmel, the literary figure
Ruth Pfau, the doctor
Senta Siller, the designer, in the village of Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka, she worked there in the Center for dolls and handicrafts

Annemarie Schimmel, born in 1922, died in 2003 in Germany, Honorary Crescent of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Is also honoured the Annemarie Schimmel House in Lahore.

Ruth Pfau, born in 1929, died in Pakistan on 10 August 2017, awarded Pakistani Order "Star of Quaid-i-Azam", honorary citizen of Pakistan, She will remain in the memory of the people through the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center in Karachi.

Senta Siller, born in 1935, is still active in the neglected area of Handicrafts, which is the real strength of Pakistani culture. Let us hope that more official support is forthcoming in this area.

Traditional literature and its preservation, health care with traditional environmental and natural medicines and its spread, as well as traditional design and its preservation are examples of sustainable development and real capital of the country, which deserve support!

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posted by Omar M. Ali @ 1:05 PM, , links to this post

German connections

Some people live for others. Three honorable German ladies have been living in Pakistan and working to make the life of others better. People of Pakistan passionately recognize the services of these honorable ladies.

Prof. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel (April 7, 1922 - January 26, 2003) was a well known and very influential German scholar who wrote over 500 books and left deep impression on the people of Pakistan.
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Thatta Kedona Ki Kahani

Thatta Khedona -A Pak-German Initiative For Doll-making and Women Empowerment
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Romance of Amjad’s Village

What started in 1991 when DGFK produced the movie titled "Amjads Village" in the small Pakistan village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka (called Dolls Village located 80 Kilometers from Lahore) became a great project famous all over the world. Thanks to the volunteers who kept coming in the village and kept training the local girls and boys in skills to preserve the unique rural culture as and at the same time, generate additional income for the participants. In the meanwhile, dolls and toys produced by the villagers traveled in the boxes of foreigners and diplomats everywhere.

The huge numbers of volunteers who have been associated with the project are now a very closely knit community. They meet together and update each other whenever there is a possibility (or when they can create a possibility). On 26 June 2017, some volunteers had an informal meeting in the old and new centre of Berlin, and had a blast from the past.

Dr Senta Siller who has become a household name in the Village because she has taught handicrafts to almost every girl in the Village. Not only that, she has practically lived in the Village for almost three decades. Also, Dr. Farida Khawaja who assisted her with translation and local consulting. Dr Senta Siller established Women Art Centre (WAC) in the Village in 1993 that is working research, design and management consultation centre. Dr Leila Masson, who was in the Dolls Village for 18 months during 1991 and 1993, and who laid foundation of the Basic Health Unit (BHU) in the Village and served as a medical doctor there during her stay?

Prof Norbert Pintsch - a researcher, architect and engineer – who set up Technology Transfer and Training Centre (TTTC) in TGD in since 1996 TGD and is working as project and Consultant ever since.

A guest lady Nadine Kessler also attended the meeting. 

Thanks to active participants of local NGO Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama, the Village has changed overtime. During the years, large number of foreigners and locals traveled to Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka, electricity came to the village, fruit and flower trees are in each home, water pond and drainage systems are working, and now the solar power has changed the way people live in the Village.

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posted by Omar M. Ali @ 11:47 AM, , links to this post

Preservation of Gogera Heritage

Preservation of Cultural Heritage

in Co-Operation with
German Society for the Advancement of Culture
Special Report by S A J Shirazi
This report reviews the situation of the cultural heritage in Pakistan and in particular it focuses on Gogera Fort, gives inventory of the fort and proposals for its preservation as well as management. Part II of covers the poverty alleviation and self help activities of community based local NGO Anjuman-e-Fala-e-AAma working in cooperation with German Society for the Advancement of Culture (DGFK) in Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka – Punjabi village famous all over the world for dolls and toys made here and developments taking place in the process. The report also covers the details of some of the tourists’ attractions in the historic breadbasket of Pakistan around Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka. This part of the report should be read along with the map of the area.
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How we customize Pashmina

Click to learn how!


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The 3L House Project

The 3L House Project is a combination of the fresh water project of NGO A.F.A. that includes the settlement of a landless family on the site.

Prof Dr Noor, Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch and Aamir Rafique (Secretary General AFA) in Lahore

The family receives as basic equipment, a one-room house, fresh water for personal needs, which is also to be used for the irrigation of the kitchen garden as well as for any other use as required (like small scale fish farming).

The 3L House Under Construction
At the same time, the house is protected by the presence of the family in the area.

The 3L Hose under construction
The 3L-House is a prototype with the dimension of 3 x 3 x 3 m, same like already existing in BNU and Peer Zada Cultural Complex, both located in Lahore.

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Discover Salman Aslam

Salman Aslam - a Writer and  Swimming Coach - read his blog Candid Schmooze, Follow on Twitter, Like his page on Facebook and or Google Plus.


posted by Omar M. Ali @ 10:28 AM, , links to this post


Exhibition titles "Impressions of a Dolls Village in Punjab" of photographs by Renate Borowka from Germany, recorded in 1994, in the Village of Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka (Dolls Village) was held in Alhamra Arts Gallery, Lahore on Mar 10, 2017. Dr Mira Phailbus, former Principal Kinnaird College with her with colleague Nergis Sobani was the chief guest. The Exhibition was attended by large number of culture lovers.

Renate Borowka was born on 4th January 1933 in Insterbürg, East Prussia (Now in Russia). She is now living in Berlin in Germany, where she started to learn photography and completed the two years course at the school “Lette Verein”. During this period many of her photos - mostly modified and alienated through her specific and exceptional art of image processing - were shown at numerous exhibition in and around Berlin.

In 1994 she travelled to Pakistan and visited the Village “Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka”. Recalling that journey she now says:”Senta Siller invited me to a small village in Pakistan. It was for me like a fairytale; happy, loving and hospitable people. I could never imagine that after a period of twenty three years my photos will bring such a great pleasure to the fairytale-like village and naturally to me also.”

“Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka” is a small village in Okara District. It was in this village that an NGO with the name “Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama” (AFA) was established in 1992. A boost to this NGO was the involvement of two volunteers from Germany, Mrs Dr. Senta Siller and her husband Dr. Norbert Pintsch. These two academics first visited this village in 1990, when they were invited by their Pakistani student Mr. Amjad Ali, who was born in this village and was working with Deutsche Welle (The Voice Of Germany) after studying in Germany.

Dr. Senta Siller was astonished to see the beautiful embroidery, different types of rag dolls, the variety of colourful handicrafts and the stitching capabilities of the village girls and women. She was surprised to know that they were not able to earn any money from their skills. It was at this moment that she started to think about helping the girls and women of the village to earn some money through making dolls and different types of handmade toys. As she was an artist and designer by profession, she helped the village girls to improve the design, shape and colour of their products.

To promote the village as the Village of Dolls, Dr. Senta Siller established a development project called “Thatta Kedona”. She started a Women Art Centre (WAC) in the village and trained the girls in making the best ethnic Pakistani dolls. During those early years Dr. Siller stayed in the village for very long periods, sometimes the whole year. Even in the hot summer months she devoted her full time to teach the girls different skills and crafts. In total she stayed for about 5 years in this remote village of Punjab.

For her work in Pakistan, she has been awarded Bundesverdienstkreuz (highest civil order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and many other honours from different countries for her services to uplift and empower the Pakistani women.

The exhibition was held in Lahore to honour these great German women, who have in their own ways and selflessly contributed so much to improve the situation of women in a remote village of the Punjab.

Also in DW

Videos by Omer M. Ali

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Exhibition Impressions of a Dolls Village in Punjab

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