Saturday, 31 October 2015

Off-Grid Power System

How many of us are tired of the never ending load-shedding or the impede power generation? Imagine about the life of rural areas of Pakistan where there is no electricity or if electricity is present then the low voltage make it impossible for the villagers to deal with.

Trusting on the national Power System (On-Grid system) is not turning out to be any good for us, thanks to the poor planning and governance. Electricity in Pakistan is not only minimum to be provided throughout the country, but also very expensive. According to a recent report on Dawn (, The cost per unit kilowatt (kWh) of generated electricity in Pakistan is around 14 cents (14 Rupees). Consumers, on average, pay 11.50 Rupees per kWh. The systematic subsidy, which is almost 15 per cent of the cost, adds up to billions in losses.Also we have transmission and distribution problems in Pakistan. The city side and industrial areas are up to a great benefit, while the villagers are dying to have proper electricity. Therefore a separate system is used in rural areas: THE OFF-GRID POWER SYSTEM.

Off-grid systems, is used in terms of not being connected to the national power system. An independent working system, off-grid power provides individual enterprises or household system opportunity to facilitate its own power need.

Salima Visram (Kenya) with a potential customer using her soular backpack, a product which serves the usual function of carrying children’s books. But it also has a solar panel connected to a battery pack which can be charged by the sun during kids’ usually long walk to and from school. When they’re at home, the battery can be linked to an LED lamp. (Via Forbes)

Meeting Salima Visram, founder of Soular Backpack, personally at a conference taught me the importance of having an independent power generating system especially for areas that are highly neglected by the government. According to latest Dawn news report (July 24, 2015), the demand for electricity in Pakistan exceeds supply by 5,000 MW. At its worst, the shortfall could be as high as 8,000 MW and the installed electricity generation capacity is around 22,000 MW. Also the affordability charges are high due to poor planning and governance. After all this, the highest preferences for electricity division are the major cities or industrial sites. Villages are being completely ignored and therefore there is substantial need for them to get independent and produce affordable energy for themselves.

One of my interviewee, Anand Kumar, residing in Umarkot District, Sindh, shared that in major commercial areas off-grid systems are used as a source of 24 hours power generation. It helps in maintaining the economy and sustaining the life of people residing in Umarkot District. Also, Janjhi, 200KM far from Umerkot city has no electricity, therefore all houses have independent off-grid system that produce minimal energy source for light especially at night times.

Pakistanis Approach to Off-Grid System
In total, through the means of surveys and interviews, I amalgamated responses from 28 citizens (12 were city’s residents and 16 were rural areas’ residents) about their knowledge related to Off-Grid Power System and following are some major findings:

Major Learning from my Survey/Interviews:
-          According to the data, most of the city’s residents do not know about Off-Grid Power system and rely more on the K-Electric providing electricity on regular basis.
-          Sandeep Hirani, resident of Interior Sindh shares, “In Tharparkar, Sindh, people even use Solar Panels for TV dish and antenna.”
-          Khuda Burdi, resident of MourKhon, Gilgit, shares, “In District Madrassas (Northern Pakistan), Chitral, and Gilgit Baltistan people have installed personal turbines working on small tributaries of river and producing electricity.”
-          Shimshal, a remote village in Northern Pakistan, use Solar Power UPS to generate electricity. UPS are inverters connected to a car or truck battery that convert the battery power to daily life electricity. Sun charges the battery during the day and the battery powers bulbs and other electronic devices at night.  

Abuzar Ali, father of my interviewee, Khuda Burdi, with help of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) built a powerhouse in MourKhon, Gilgit which provide 350 KVA with a total potential capacity of over 450 KVA

These interviews and results have really astonished my believes and actually moved me to search more about using off-grid power system in our city as well as we can't just rely on our government to come up with better techniques or impress our with their work. What do you all think? What's your perspective about using off-grid power system?

Comment below or you can always tweet me about your opinion. My twitter is @azimadhanjee

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Recently, I participated in shooTED, a photography competition arranged by TEDxKarachi and judged by Khaula Jamil, Founder of Humans of Karachi.

I made it to the top ten winners of shooTED and my picture got posted on the Human of Karachi's page. I would love if you all can visit, read, like and share the picture/story.

This is what I shared about my beautiful mother:

"Rise Above" For me, these two words means to step ahead from the boundaries and
limitations your life brings in front of you. Rise Above, has been the
motto my mom has always taught me. My mom, the lady in my picture.

Growing up under deaf and mute parents, I have experienced a different way
of living; a more positive and unique upbringing. Pictured lady, is my
mom. She is one of the four daughters my grandmother gave birth to, who
are deaf and mute. My mom has been an inspiration in my life. Ignoring the
fact, that she did not have two of her senses, she became a part of this
competitive world, without any hesitation. She is educated, got her
computer skills degree and Mashallah, has a prestigious job at a bank. My
mother has taught my brother and I, to never step back from competition,
because they always turn out to be a moral in your life. She taught us to
face our weaknesses, to understand how to make it power.

She is the secretary of The Deaf and Mute Organization of our community.
She is a role model for so many young deaf and mute people, who at times
don't realize how precious they are to this world. In the following
picture, she is welcoming all the deaf and mute people of our organization
to our recent 14th August celebration. My brother and I were part of the
managing team, because that's what my mom pushes us forward for. To not
only restrict our help/teaching to our parents but benefit other deaf and
mute people of our society.

Nothing is more valuable to my mom than those precious lives and their
betterment. To give them an opportunity to 'step out of restrictions and
RISE ABOVE'. And I wish to carry out this work.

No matter what God has blessed you with, if used positively in your own
favor, can turn out to be the best blessing/talent, a life to be

Saturday, 26 July 2014

My Twin is Finally At'thaara.

I have written thousand words for you, every time a new memory, a new reason to be thankful for having you in my life. Sadaf, to all those good times and your importance in my life these are 

50+1 Things I love about YOU.
1.      A beautiful creature, inside and out.
2.      We have the same story, and we know how to be proud about it.
3.      You know how to face challenges. I learnt this from you.
4.       Prettiest smile.
5.       You are my cousin from two relations.
6.       I remember the night I cried in California, just for you. I was mad; I don’t ever want you to keep secrets from me. But, now, I understand your part of deal. I still Love you.
7.       Surrounded by a big brother all the time, you gave me the sisterly affection. Thanks for spoiling my ass.
8.       We can fool anyone by switching names; Twin or Nah?
9.       You talk a lot and I listen nothing, I hate when you do the same. But,  you actually listen and give the best suggestions ever.
10.   You know all my YES friends, but you always confuse them together. I love how you always are, ‘oh so Khattak and Janjuiee are two different people’ or ‘I gotta skype your friends’ or ‘Mahrosh, Peshawar wale?’  I don’t blame you, I talk to fast.
11.    Remember when we were younger, and I used to cry about, Fareeha, Hira, and you teaming up against me; I still never hated you and told people that you are my best cousin.
12.   When you joined my school, teachers used to hate me, thinking I am Sadaf 2.0. They were not wrong.
13.   All our inside jokes/talks, those others will never understand.
14.   Speaking ‘F’ language, because people understand Sign Language, nowadays. It’s very important to judge every one, whenever we are together. :D
15.   You missed school, the day I was leaving for America. You are very much WELCOME.
16.   All those plans to walk every day, eat less, and do ZUMBA.
17.   We NEVER followed any of those plans.
18.   Now that I have gained more weight, Thanks for sharing all your clothes.
19.   Dang, how can I forget the night stays? My only source for…. (You Know What)
20.   You can COOOOOOK! Man, I will marry food, one day.
21.   Annoying you by using my phones and sharing inside YES jokes, which you will never understand.
22.   You still manage to laugh, after telling me not to talk about YES anymore. I love you for that.
23.   It is beautiful outside and I chose to write about YOU.
24.   26th of July: I will have my kid that day… Just saying.
25.    I can share my good days/bad days with you, just to remind, how blessed I am.
26.   I still love your clothes/tshirts over mine. Got my eyes on them <3
27.   When things are not fair, you are the only one I can complain to. Not that, you make everything better; such a loser.
28.   We trust each other, blindfold. I know you will tell me when things are not working out; I do the same.
29.   People need to know, you are TWO years older than me, apparently deserved to be called, Sadaf Apa.
30.   I am writing all this for you.
31.   We share all our friends, or they just become mutual. God, dang, they love us both.
32.   It’s not people think you look younger. We both look 21. Period.
33.   I envy how I can’t look gorgeous without glasses, while you manage to look the best, both ways.
34.   All those times, I tell you, I think that guy is HOT, and you are like, ‘you can easily get him’.
35.   Haw, boosting my confidence since 1998.
36.   We are never wrong. Thanks for seeing the other side of stories, where I am always right.
37.   You are going to University next year, to be my personal nurse. How can I not love you for that?
38.   It is hard for you to read a book with full attention. TFioS was another case. Mutual interests.
39.   You are probably, not wanting to read the rest of the list. Figuring it too much reading and bore.
40.   When I die…
41.   You still go ahead and read it, because you love ME, more than I do myself.
42.    You are going to be my maid of honor. I will be your kid’s nanny.
43.   I die; you will be the strongest one among the crowd.
44.   Remember Dakku Daddy? We gotta love our brothers.
45.   You stalk me. At least once every day. Thank you, I need some stalkers in my life.
46.   I will fight with the world for you, and still be a pain in your ass.
48.   I can curse you out, slap you on your face and be the typical me. WHILE YOU STAY NICE. I wish.
49.   Thanks for giving me a shoulder to cry on, hugs that I always need, and talks that works like medicine.
50.   Last statement was indeed, much of a buttering, telling you I deserve a big TREAT. Okay?
51.   Life is fair. I got you in it.


Monday, 16 September 2013



‘And here I am, standing at the airport, few hours left to ride on the plane which will lead to my destiny, my dream land.’ August 26th ’2013.

Have you ever experienced that one feel you have when there are only few hours left in chasing something that you have been dreaming about, for so long? If not, let me tell you how it feels. You feel like a creature having your head up, looking at the destination point. The feel of pain because of the whole bunch of goodbyes you said. The whole bunch of excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity and no patience. You dream yourself few hours ahead, making up your mind, thinking how you are going to feel while you get there and achieve one of your goals of life.

I arrived in USA on August 27th’ 2013. Our first destination was Washington DC, the country’s capital. As we reached the airport, there was bunch of immigration process until we finally got our luggage and as we came out of the arrival gate, we were surrounded by The YES alumni cheering out loud, boosting our hopes up and trust me, all the jet-legged feel ran away. We met students from Yemen, Mali and few more countries, over there. It was amazing. Coming to America, you are not going to make friends living in America but you get to meet people belonging to different parts of the world.


On our way to the Building that we were supposed to stay, I got to see the beauty that DC had. All the big trees, huge buildings and people belonging to different races. Indeed, America is one of the most diversified lands.


As soon as we reached there, the only frustrating part was to take care of our luggage. Trust me, packing was not that much tough as much carrying the luggage was.

Every room had almost four students. Two of my roommates were Bosnians (Ilma and Adna) and one was from Pakistan (Kisa). It was so fun, being in the room, sharing our experiences, acting as if we know each other for so long and above all having the best time together. I still remember how tough it was to say goodbye to each other. I hope to see them soon.

We had different teams based on different colors. I was in the blue team. Every team had almost students from all the different countries present in DC at that time for the orientation. It was the best way to learn about different cultures, know different ideas and above all have the craziest time with everyone.

Well, Three days stay in the beautiful city, we all were really enthusiastic and were looking forward for all the upcoming sessions and outings. The very first day we got an opportunity to visit a museum and also go to Martin Luther’s memorial on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s, I HAVE A DREAM speech. We visited THE WHITE HOUSE too, when the president was inside the residence. The best part of visiting THE WHITE HOUSE was holding up the flag of Pakistan high. It was a moment to connect the east and the west, which is one of the reason why we are here                                                    

I still remember how talking in our native language used to confuse each other and at that point English was a tool to get connected. We still taught URDU to bunch of YES students belonging to different countries. It was so amazing. I learned Macedonian and Arabic too. It was more like an exchange between us. We all were completely different and new to each other, but the bonding of being a HUMAN brought up somewhat similarities between us. We were beyond race, color, and creed and accepted each others as a part of one big family.

I visited two museums in Washington DC and trust me, Americans know how to preserve their valuable things and how to present it well, this is what I perceived so far. It was amazing as I actually felt like I am there at that time, living those little tiny moments, all because of every single details.

Cultural night was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. For once I was between performances of particular cultures. Hooting a loud, joining my voice in theirs, I had the time of my life. I dressed up as a Punjabi girl with heavy jewels, to show them the colors our culture has by my dress. The whole world was in one room, showing the love, the bonding, ignoring the differences and connecting the globe together. I still remember those smiles and the respect everyone gave to each other’s culture. It gives us a message of brotherhood and staying connected.

The American council’s workers and all the YES alumni made these three days THE BEST for us. We felt so honored to be with them and happy to be a part of the YES family. They helped us getting through all the queries and gave us an amazing platform to be friends with different students belonging to different parts. I still feel honored to meet Cindy, as she is one of those who helped me keeping my hopes high and look forward to all the tough moments with a big smile. Our blue team leaders and every other leader, I guess their hard work made everyone’s three days stay in Washington DC, the best.

We shared gifts with each other and one of our mates also applied henna on other countries' students hand. I was honored to received cultural gifts from my friends belonging to Mali and Yemen. It is very valuable to me, as it strengthen the bond of my culture with theirs.

It was sad, shattering and out of my mind to believe that we are actually going to get separate, this is not a round-trip-fun-thing, it’s a real one year life, miles away from my house and we will have new people around. Nothing but NEW. Not better but DIFFERENT.

On Friday, my tears couldn't get a hold. Hugging each other, giving good luck wishes, it was time to hold on to the amazing memories until we meet again.

I had connecting flights. From DC to Chicago and then to my final destination. My new house, my new land and my new life.


People say 'you don't live a year but you actually LIVE in that year.'

Keeping aside the emotions, I came out of the plane with Nabeel (another Exchange student going to my city) excited, confused, in hope to meet my family soon.

My excitement didn't fail, except it was worth it. I remember how seeing their faces made me happy, a relief in my heart that I am between my people, a smile on my face that everything is going to get beautiful now, I am going to live my life in this one year and that made me run, hug my host mom tight.

The exciting one year has begun. I have achieved my dream but it has brought in many other goals. It is going to be a fun, challenging and A YEAR TO BE MADE, not break.