Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Cooperation between AFA and AFWA

AFA from Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka and AFWA from Bhara Kahu had another round of discussions to work together in order to “create awareness about upcycling and to preserve nature.”


Mr Farooq Ahmad, TTTC and Mrs Farzana Zahoor of WAC (of AFA in TGD) and Mrs Jannat, Founder and Director of AFWA and Mrs Chand, the Volunteer in AFWA met in Annemarie-Schimmel-Haus (German Cultural Centre) Lahore on March 30, 2015.

Dr Senta Siller, the Consultant for Upcycling, Handicraft and Networking and Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch, the Consultant for Appropriate Technology, Communication and Information – both senior experts from SES were also present during the meetings.


While exploring new opportunities and chances for collective good, administrative subjects like accommodations for volunteers, working conditions and space, health and water were also deliberated upon.

Earlier this month, meeting between AFA and AFWA was held in picturesque Bhara Kahu, Islamabad on March 9, 2015.


Knowing the history of AFA and how they have changed whole community of village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka, one can rightly expect a great deal from this collaboration.

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Annual Housing Competition – 2015

One of the most cherished Spring activity in the village Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka is annual housing competition. This is an open competition and everyone in the village participates. Judges select the best mud house, best details and best exterior and cash prizes are given.


This annual competition keeps the Dolls Village spanking round the year in addition to keeping the cultural morals alive. This year Winner Bibi Bashiran was the winner once again. Professor Aamir Rafique gave the cash prize.


Compitition with aims of preservation of rural cultural, heritage and environment protection was supported by FPAC and SPARC in Lahore through students from Punjab University.

The students were so impressed, that they have collected additional money for the winners.

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Life is back in Dolls Village

Spring brings three things in the Dolls Village (Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka): budding flowers in kitchen gardens, students, researchers and foreign volunteers in the Women Art Centre and Showroom at the village. This time Dr Senta Siller and Dr Norbert Pintsch were also together in the village. Resul: the life was back in the village.


As per our standard operating procedure, all the guests are taken to Women Art Center where they are welcomed by Farooq Ahmed, the Director TTTC and Farzana Zahoor of Women Art Center; both of them from the village NGO AFA.


This time students from University of Punjab were in the village. Farooq briefed them on the history of the AFA and also gave an overview of activities that happen in the village round the year. He also threw light on AFA efforts in the field of environment protection and appropriate technology application.



Farzana Zahoor told about Handicrafts, Dolls and toys that are produced in the village and how they reach in international fairs and museums across the world.


Guests were also given a guided tour of the showroom in the WAC and also taken to Basic health Unit and two government schools in the village.

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One Baby One Tree

Like everyone else on our planet Earth, we in village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka love protecting environment. Dr Senta Siller from SES turned this love into a beautiful tradition – one baby one tree.


What is one baby one tree? AFA (village NGO) gives floral and or fruit trees saplings to new mothers in the village every year. Result: each home in this small habitat has fruit and flower trees in their kitchen gardens. This is in addition to local herbal plants everyone in the village is so familiar with.


This year, Dr Senta Siller, who is in the village after 6 years, gave away saplings in the Basic Health Units. Here are some of the images from the event.


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Distribution of Educational Material - 2015

Punjab village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka has history. And its history really started when SES volunteer Dr Senta Siller and Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch first visited this village some 25 years ago.


Thanks to SES volunteers, two government schools (one for girls and the other for boys have progressed visibly. Where else young scholars like Stephanie Walter or Sophie Kuppler come and teach English, where else teachers from government schools are trained by the NGOs (AFA), where else annual sports days are celebrated?


Education is very close to the heart of Farooq Ahmad and Farana for AFA. One unique tradition of the NGO is to distribute books, school copies and other educational material among students right in the start of academic year.


On Friday,, March 27, 2015, stage was set book distribution to students of two government schools. This year the support came from FPAC and SPARC-project in Lahore and through students from Punjab University. 

Students of both schools look forward to this event and come in their best dresses for the occasion. 

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Environment Protection with Appropriate Technology Display


Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch from SES, IPC, Farooq Ahmad and Shakeel from TTTC of AFA arranged display of appropriate technology for the kids from the Lahore School (The Valley of Knowledge) and the students from the Punjab University, Lahore on their arrival in the Village. The students took keen interest in the exhibition.
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Workshop by Annemarie-Schimmel-Haus German Cultural Centre Lahore


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Workshop on Strategic Design for Micro-Business Ideas

A workshop on Strategic Design for Micro-Business Ideas 'HAMARI HARIYALI HAMARI KAMAI’ was organised by the Annemarie-Schimmel-Haus (German Cultural Centre Lahore) for the students and graduates of all design and related subjects from March 16–24, 2015 at the Schimmel-Haus Lahore conducted by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf and Gwendolyn Kulick.


Among others, Information Technology University, Lahore University of Management Sciences, National College of Art and Beaconhouse University participated in the interdisciplinary workshop. On the last day some 16 schools from different Universities in Lahore exhibited what they have produced on their field studies in Model Town Park.


Dr Senta Siller, SES, AFA also participated in the workshop because there are overlapping mutual interests and connections between AFA and the new partner for cooperation AFWA.


Large number of students, academics and faculty attended the workshop.
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Standing ovation for Dr Senta Siller

Dr Senta Siller – Mother of Dolls - is not only a researcher, graphic designer, art historian turned SES volunteer but also a great builder of trust; trust in one’s own self. She creates hope. Presently, she is working to lay down the foundation of cooperation between AFA NGO from village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka and AFWA (NGO from Bhara Kahu). 

Madam Janat al Firdus (AFWA), Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch (SES, SPARC, Appropriate Technology, Housing, Communication, Information), Dr Senta Siller (SES, AFA, Handicraft, Organization, Upcycling), Mr. Farooq (AFA), Men Centre, Mrs. Chand (AFWA).

In early 90s, Dr Senta Siller starting creating hope in women of Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka – a small Pakistani village on the bank of the Ravi some 170 kiometers from Lahore (40 kilometres from Indus civilization ruins in Harappa). Her work of 25 years in the village has now turned the village into Dolls’ Village known all over the world. But her real achievement is that artisans of the village whom Dr Senta Siller taught traditional skills to generate some additional income are now fully empowered, aware, enlightened trainers.

When influences from Indus civilization from nearby Harappa and modern techniques brought to the village by the SES volunteers started producing results, the self help project in the Dolls’ Village expanded to other countries like Cameroon, Colombia, Iceland and Germany. In these projects handicraft is in the spot on the stage. And the projects have a cultural philosophy; education, science, agriculture, hydrogeology (drinking water project), appropriate technology, public health, economy (marketing and distribution), tourism and communication, are all in practice.

After 8 years, Dr. Senta Siller is back in Pakistan to build trust and create hope in Bhara Kahu (small village near Islamabad). Meetings are taking place to lay down the foundation of cooperation between AFA (NGO from Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka aka Dolls Village) and AFWA (NGO from Bhara Kahu).

AWFA is mainly a private school of 250 students with no sources of income where Dr Senta Siller is working to set up upcycling (recycling plus design to add value) project with the help of AFA to start with.

Trainers from Dolls’ Village and foreign volunteers (thanks to SES, Germany) will hopefully come and help train women in Bhara Kahu to produce products that can generate additional income.

I have personally seen how Dr Senta Siller has passed on the skills to women in Dolls Village step by step, and how she made them realize the importance of our culture and folklore themes. In the process handmade quality products were crafted using all indigenous material and traditional designs. Over 5 years time, I saw the Dolls’ Village women become independent. “I have great expectations from the cooperation between two NGO,” says Dr Senta Siller. Interaction between women from flat land of Central Punjab with women of Northern Punjab will have so many other benefits, added Dr Denta Siller.

"The goals of the cooperation between AFA and AWFA are self-help activities at grass roots level, empowerment of women, income generation, literacy and vocational training, says Dr. Norbert Pintsch, SES volunteer. The philosophy working behind this cooperation is "creating awareness about upcycling and preservation of nature," he added.

Dr Senta Siller with S A J Shirazi

About the choice of village Bhara Kahu NGO for this cooperation, Dr Norbert pointed out that given the security situation in the country it is doubly difficult for foreigners to go to Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka. It will be easier for them to visit picturesque Bhara Kahu because it is half way between Muree and Islamabad. 

Cooperation between the two NGOs, guidance and expert advice by Dr. Senta Siller, Dr. Norbert Pintsch and other volunteers will go a ‘new’ long way.

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Dolls of the World

A project that Dr Senta Siller started in a small village Thata Ghulamka Dheroka on the bank of River Ravi (then unknown to the world) in early 90s has brought so many visible changes.

Over last two and a half decades the village has come to be known as Dolls Village, the artisan of the village who produce handmade dolls and toys are now trainers passing the skills to next generation, the dolls are collectors’ delight and are seen all over the world in museums as well as in homes of people who love local cultures, diplomats and other foreigners and many more. Visitors of famous Lok Virsa National Museum, Islamabad find Thatta Kedona dolls there and appreciate the authenticity of the dolls. What is more, the project has given birth to similar project in Cameroon, Colombia, Iceland and Germany.


Combined with research and designs by Dr Senta Siller and skills she taught to the village women is now a source of income generation for to the woman who perpetuate the traditional culture.

The mother project in Pakistani village has daughters (similar projects in other countries) as well as projects like Appropriate Technology, Communication, Housing and Information.

Best part is the project is that Dr Senta Siller is now laying the foundation of yet another coopration with another village NGO in the vicinity of Islamabad (stay tuned for more on this).

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New Possibilities of Cooperation

Dr Norbert Pintsch, senior expert from SES, Germany is back in Pakistan for the spring. He has a lot up his sleeves that will unfold in this space as it happens.


To start with, he had his first meeting with Prof Dr Malik - Hydrogeologist from COMSATS / IPC and Dr Saeed M. Chaudhry - President of DPF to discuss and have discussed the new possibilities of Appropriate Technology and chances of traditional medicine,including clean drinking water in mountain areas. This discussion is part of greater cooperation between AFA (NGO of Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka) and AFWA (NGO in rural area in the vicinity of Islamabad).

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posted by Omar M. Ali @ 9:23 AM, , links to this post

Anees Yaqub, a Friend of Dolls


Pakistani Artist Painters Anees Yaqub, a friend of Dolls, is connected with Germany since the early 90s, where he has had an exhibition his show in the West-Berlin Gallery EYLAU'5. Later he has organized group show in the House of the Cultures of the World in Berlin. The show later formed part of 50 Years of Pakistan, 1997 that was printed through German-Pakistan Forum on the completion of 50 years of German-Pakistan Forum back in 2010.


In these images, Anees Yaqub is seen with Dr Norbert Pintch from SES

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One Baby One Tree


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Happy International Women's Day


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University Students in Thatta Ghulaka Dheroka


Thatta Kedona, in addition to producing dolls, toys and other cultural handicrafts has been a center of leaning since its inception over a decade ago. Students from different universities have been visiting Thatta Ghulaka Dheroka for research, orientation and or for sightseeing.
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Triplex Decoration Dr Senta Siller

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Technology and Culture

Norbert R.O. Pintsch

What has technology to do with culture? a question asked by many professional technology fans. A more exact consideration will however reveal, that culture is the larger dimension and technology is just a part of it. In different eras, some areas have been more influencial and in others less. This way of considering things in itself testifies to a technical way of looking at things. Technical way of thinking is characterized by representation in a manner, the roots of which are to be found in mathematical calculations. There, where abstract thought cannot be explained due to missing power of imagination, we make use of drawings in order to achieve clarity in understanding. It probably never happens that a development process runs as a straight line, rather it is more like a chaotic structure in which now and then a certain regularity becomes visible, which is lost once again after a certain period of time to once again appear as a logical pattern at a later time (see illustration below).


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