An Outlook on Poverty 

Over 3 billion humans in the world suffer from poverty. 

1 billion children.  

805 million without adequate food.  

750 million without clean drinking water.  

1.6 billion without electricity. 

Poverty -classically- refers to the state where a person’s basic requirements of food, shelter, and clothing are not being met- a condition where it is difficult for the individual to exist in society. As of 2015, the poverty line decrees a person considered to be in extreme poverty if they live on less than 1.90 international dollars.* Poverty is classified into absolute or relative poverty. Absolute poverty is used to account for general international statistics since it is independent of factors like location, whereas relative poverty is based on comparisons and therefore varies across societies.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, an average American? citizen has a minimum cost of living at approximately 22 dollars per day, yet the poverty line is established at 1.90 per day. Upon delving further, it is also found out that calculating the poverty line according to parameters like food and accommodation, increases its value. In a country where the average cheeseburger** costs around 1 dollar (and I’ve seen this used as a measure of comparison before in a NASA article+), do we really expect an individual to make it through the day (everyday) on just 1.90 dollars? Moreover the poverty line is meant to serve two purposes- the establishment of eligibility of individuals for aid and in helping the nation recognize the fraction of its citizens facing financial struggles.

The last 3 decades have shown a constant decrease in the percentage of the world living in poverty, but until 2015, 9.4% of the world was still under these 1.90 dollars. The poverty line seems to be kept uncomfortably low, so is it even right to rejoice at this ‘decline’ in percentages? Margins should be kept low enough to ensure that every human being is able to survive live with their basic needs met, as a fulfilment of their human rights and an acknowledgment of their existence equal to anybody else. It must be noted however that even with this low poverty line, a considerable population still exists below it.

Every year, organizations also flaunt the statistics of their aid, but money is extremely short lived help. Money comes and goes. Unless guided, there is also a great chance that it will not be spent on sustainable and useful investments. In Pakistan^, a considerable number of people will come under the mark of poverty, but even here, there are few who go the day without having their bellies filled(I’ve been told this and have observed that people usually ask for money instead of stating their intended use for it, preventing people from helping them out). Trends indicate that much expenditure is actually on the tertiary technology industry, with health being the primary neglected factor.  Economic advancement does not benefit everyone equally; in quite a few cases, progress is temporary, and people tend to fall back into the depths of poverty succumbing to economic shock and insecurity.

I believe that the current aid offered to the poor, needs continual refreshing, and possible permanent solutions are education oriented. To escape the net of poverty, individuals must acquire independence. By increasing awareness, we can create a platform where people can recognize their own situations, identify their own problems, and work towards solutions applicable to them. The help we dish out should impart knowledge.  Opportunities do not always come our way; therefore it might be better if we learnt to create them instead.

Some data gathered by The World Bank included accounts of people’s satisfaction with their current standard of living, which leads me to believe that relative poverty is becoming more obviously prevalent. If we want to truly achieve the eradication of poverty, we need to give up on our own selfish mindsets, and work towards achieving a collective equality or as close to it as we can get. Relative poverty can keep fluctuating, recalculated at every turn- defeating poverty should not be allowed to flourish eternally as a utopic dream.

All statistics have been sourced from the UN Development Programe, WHO, and UNICEF accounts.

– Sidra Zahid.

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International Day of the Girl Child

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai”

Head bowed, 

Face hidden away, 

She dreams of freedom, 

Each and every day.


Her only companion is a pen in hand, 

Scribbling her thoughts down,

She wonders aloud, 

Will she ever escape this town?


Now you see, the fault isn’t within her,

She loves her home as much as the other, 

Yet he was given freedom, 

While she was told to stay at home with her mother.


I say to her and all her comrades, 

Fear not the shackles of this age,

We will empower ourselves till the end,

And I promise, this is a war to be waged!

S. Mahrukh Nawaz

World Teacher’s Day!

​They held my hand,

Scared and small;

Taught me to spell the tree,

That apples came from.

Gentle and kind,

With a strict edge at times;

They showed me around school,

Its intimidating hallway became mine.

From A to Z,

And running with scraped knees;

They watched as my friends,

Became my chosen family.

My teacher held me when all fell apart,

A second parent, not by blood, but by heart.

– Gulrukh Rizvi~

Do Not Trespass.

You do not blow a kiss
To a fire breathing monster
You do not hold blood trickling hands reaching out of a grave
You do not clip the wings of a bird
Destined to burn them in the sun
You do not burn the bridges
When their debris are already under your foot
You do not run into​ the ocean when it’s freezing cold
You do not paint the clouds
and get sad when they’re still grey and white
Don’t you dare, oh darling don’t you dare
To bring your jar of hopes
I just have a castle made of sand
Which I demolish by night.

-Hira Altaf.

Bio-Sciences.

Painting by: henrikaau.

For the Love of Books

  1. “Walking into a good bookshop is like walking into another zone. These places are time machines, space ships, story makers, secret keepers. They are dragon-tamers, dream catchers, fact-finders and safe places. They are full of infinite possibilities, and tales worth taking home. Because whether we’re in the middle of the desert or in the heart of a city, on the top of a mountain or on an underground train: having good stories to keep us company can mean the whole world.” – The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
  2. “Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn frm the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilisation, the depth of our awareness about the underpinings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.” – Carl Sagan
  3. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”– Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  4. “Books may not change our suffering, books may not protect us from evil, books may not tell us what is good or what is beautiful, and they will certainly not shield us from the common fate of the grave. But books grant us myriad possibilities: the possibility of change, the possibility of illumination.” – Alberto Manguel
  5. The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another. The child I once was read constantly and hardly spoke, because she was ambivalent about the merits of communication, about the risks of being mocked or punished or exposed. The idea of being understood and encouraged, of recognizing herself in another, of affirmation, had hardly occurred to her and neither had the idea that she had something to give others. So she read, taking in words in huge quantities, a children’s and then an adult’s novel a day for many years, seven books a week or so, gorging on books, fasting on speech, carrying piles of books home from the library. – Rebecca Solnit
  6. “I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
    In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”– Tahereh Mafi
  7. “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
    Go throw your TV set away,
    And in its place you can install
    A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
    Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”– Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  8. “I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.”– The New Life by Orhan Pamuk
  9. “And if I had a bookshop of my own? Well, it wouldn’t make any money. So I am no help to anyone. But I would set it somewhere with a garden, where light poured in through the windows. Sit in the sun, I’d tell my customers. Open this book. Try it. It won’t do any harm, after all, to sit a while and read.” – The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
  10. “A book can become your best companion in times of crisis.
    Not only do you learn in the journey of your pages, but rediscover yourself, with your virtues and defects … often makes you question everything, even life itself.
    The books are fantastic, as they not only transport you to other places and the awakening of sensations, curiosity, laughter, hilarity, sadness, etc. Other times, it can give you a quiet space in truculent moments, and lead you to a level of peace, acceptance, healthy optimism, that I will never tire of recommending it.
    Never stop reading, there are no excuses … there are always some minutes in any place, at any time and a huge universe for all tastes!”– Liz Hay
  11. “If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”– Terry Pratchett
  12. “Books make great gifts because they have the whole world inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy someone a book than it is to buy them the whole world.” – Neil Gaiman
  13. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  14. “Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.”– Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
  15. “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”– Alan Bennett

 

 

-Sarah Jafrani.

A Collection of Thought-Provoking Excerpts from Different Works

[1] The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.

[2] The Twits by Roald Dahl

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

[3] The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Shylock: To bait fish withal; if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies – and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

[4] Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”

[5] Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone by J.K.Rowling

“Now, can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?”

Harry shook his head.

“Let me explain.The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?”

Harry thought. Then he said slowly, “It shows us what we want… whatever we want…”

“Yes and no,” said Dumbledore quietly.

“It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge nor truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible. The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

[6] The battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword. As a mortal, I was never a great fighter or athlete or poet. I only made wine. The people in my village laughed at me. They said I would never amount to anything. Look at me now. Sometimes small things can become very large indeed.”

[7] Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

[8] The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.”

[9] Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

“So you were going to rescue the Prince! Why did you pretend to run away? To deceive the Witch?”

Not likely!” Howl yelled. “I’m a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”

[10] Coraline by Neil Gaiman

“And he said that wasn’t brave of him, doing that, just standing there and being stung,” said Coraline to the cat. “It wasn’t brave because he wasn’t scared: it was the only thing he could do. But going back again to get his glasses, when he knew the wasps were there, when he was really scared. That was brave.”

She took her first step down the dark corridor.

She could smell dust and damp and mustiness.

The cat padded along beside her.

“And why was that?” asked the cat, although it sounded barely interested.

“Because,” she said, “when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

[11] Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

“I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.”

[12] My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”

[13] The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

“So is man’s heart. The desire to perform a work which will endure, which will survive him, is the origin of his superiority over all other living creatures here below. It is this which has established his dominion, and this it is which justifies it, over all the world.”

[14] War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

“We must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space if fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?”

[15] A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

 

-Maria Ahmad.

Bio-sciences.

Good At It

Write because you are good at it.
Sing because you are good at it.
Study because you are good at it.

Bla Bla because you are good at it.

Nobody said Live because you are good at it.

 

In all these “GOOD AT IT” there was a guy who didn’t know what he was good in and actually he was good in Observation and Focus but he lived all his life in BEING NOT GOOD AT SOMETHING whereas he was Good At Everything.
Focus and Observation are the essential ingredients.
But you need flame to cook your dish.

Nobody is like you
This makes you special.
You are unique from the time you were made
then why to spend a life in imitation.

-Kashif Muhammad.