Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Real development stories

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Since 1992, I have been writing NGO 'development stories'. Time was when these were unknown and newspapers and journals were thirsting for them. But now attitudes have changed. Most editors say they are publicity for NGOs and don't want them anymore. However, over these years, I have established close connections with a few NGOs that value my work and ask me to document their initiatives whether they are post-flood rehab or poverty alleviation or health and education.

Until 1992, I saw that NGO annual reports and 'development stories' for papers were more like corporate records. Though the organisations work with human beings, there were no people in the stories. There were only claims of what had been done by the NGO. Though it is in bad form to make this claim, but I suppose it has to be made here: I was the first writer to bring the beneficiaries into the story. It was their story and I used their words. Most of the time, these ordinary people, the real people of Pakistan, said things that touched your heart; they could bring tears to your eyes. This was the easiest way of writing these stories because you did not have to make an effort to create a story: it was just there in words that needed only to be translated.

I still do that and my stories have been circulated abroad, some have ended up as documentaries and others have brought more funds to my clients.


posted by Salman Rashid @ 10:03,


At 27 April 2013 at 15:00, Anonymous Senta Siller said...

NGOs have become infamous in this country. Wish your work can improve their image.

At 27 April 2013 at 17:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These ordinary people, the real people of Pakistan, said things that touched your heart; they could bring tears to your eyes."

Yes. I agree. How real people feel matters at the end.

At 4 May 2013 at 12:55, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Senta, Thank you. I try to do what I can. And we still have some very good NGOs with good names. So let's help them.
Anonymous, That indeed is all that matters: the real people of Pakistan.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days