Day 7 – Orangi – Karachi’s Informal Settlement

Orangi Town is located in the northwestern part of Karachi – listed the world’s largest slum in the UN World Cities Report 2016. Although the situation has improved now, there are still some parts of Orangi Town that can be characterized as a slum.

Improvement is due to the most incredible engagement of Perween Rahman, one of the founding members of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP). Perween had to pay the highest price for her commitment to Orangi Town and got assassinated in 2013. We met her sister the writer and social worker Aquila Ismail at the OPP office. Aquila joined OPP after her sister’s demise.

OPP Director Aquila Ismail in front of the numerous activities
taking place in her OPP office

OPP has worked in Orangi Town since the 1980s on the improvement of sanitation and infrastructure, and also runs a schools support programme with different organizations, one of them is Vasl Artists’ Association – the number of inhabitants roughly counts 2.2 million, with only 64 state-run schools. Art in school can improve the lifes of children – is what they believe in.

The proramme also  includes a training for around 50 teachers, most them are women. The trainings include art, math, science, languages, and gardening. A Women’s Saving Program teaches women to pool their money to set up small businesses or take credits from it.

Perween Rahman devoted her life on developing projects to decrease poverty across the country, Aquila and her team truly believe in the power and resilience of children – and know it works.

OPP has to be protected by security. Inside the doors you find a peacefull place with organic gardens, library and project rooms

Above: Parveen Rehman, beloved director of OPP, was gunned down in March 2013. Below: Sahar Ismail followed her aunt Perween’s footsteps to OPP
and has set up the Women’s Saving Programme in Orangi

Aquila Ismail interviewed by Sabine Kienzer in attendance of
Anwar Rashid, architect and former director of OPP


  1. Hi
    proud about your education and your open mind
    thank you
    To us, ‘diversity’ means many things – appreciating diversity, valuing it by having an open mind, involving all beings and using the benefits of diversity.
    it will pen minds.
    best yours stefan kölsch

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