Thar Foundation in collaboration with Ministry of Education and Culture, Sindh organized the independent TEDxIslamkot event in Tharparkar under the theme of “Thar Badlay ga Pakistan”. The first of its kind event in Tharparkar and the first-ever TED Talk of Islamkot brought together leading change agents, thinkers and doers from Thar and Pakistan. The event provided the local population an avenue to share ideas and curate voices of change whilst also putting Islamkot on the global TED Talk maps.

The event was attended by like-minded individuals from all walks of life and belonging to various cities of Pakistan. Some of the notable speakers of the first TEDxIslamkot included Asu Bai – a differently-abled individual, widely regarded as the Malala of Sindh, who is working to educate the next generation of Thari thinkers free of cost in a school that she has setup in district Umerkot. Mohini Bai who hails from Nangarparkar, is part of the trailblazing group of female dump truck drivers who are working in the Thar Coal project and driving the 60-Ton dump trucks, defying odds and earning livelihoods and a brighter future for herself and her family. The talk also brought Samar Khan to Thar – the distinguished female cyclist of Pakistan – who also happens to be the first woman in the world to ride a cycle at 4,500 metres high Biafo Glacier in the Karakoram Mountains. Samar highlighted her own personal story of strife and achievements and underscored the need to empower women of Pakistan through sports.

In addition, the event also curated talks by Arieb Azhar and Qasim Siraj who highlighted the significance of religion as a realm of art and the drought policy of Pakistan and how such crises can be averted respectively. Other key note speakers included Javed Malik who discussed the role of treating villages as institutions.

The talk also explored the rich cultural diversity and Thar’s love of arts and music by bringing to limelight some of the famed artists of the region who showcased their talent in front of the audience specifically Mai Dhai; Faraz Ahmed and Sattar Jogi who enthralled the audience through their riveting performances.

On this occasion Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, COO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and Thar Foundation – the principal sponsors of TEDxIslamkot – said:

“In Pakistan TEDx talks are being conducted successfully since 2009. The work that Thar Foundation and SECMC have been doing in Thar and Islamkot specifically has proven that there is immense talent and a pool of innovative ideas, thinkers and doers in this region. However, there is lack of exposure and platforms for these individuals to voice their ideas. We believe that the first TEDxIslamkot will pave way for a generation of these local people to voice their ideas and bring them to both national and international audiences.”

TEDx is an international community that conducts TED-Style events on local grounds and has a same moto of promoting new ideas. To make these talks special, informative as well as entertaining the organizers have reached to the limits of wild ideas like conducting a TEDx event on Mount Everest, entrance of audience into the event venue through sky diving and many more.