Islamabad-Federal Education of Directorate (FDE) with collaboration of National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) kicked off a 7-day program to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on Wednesday.

The program under the banner of ‘Kashmir Folk Crafts: Engagement with Artisans’ started at Lok Virsa while Directorate General for Special Education is also the partner in the program.

FDE official informed The Nation that reason to organize the program was to highlight connection between culture and education.

“Such programs enhance the abilities of students in creative works and encourage them to learn about the folk culture of different areas of the country,” he said.

Around 50 children studying in various schools & colleges working under the administrative control of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Directorate General for Special Education participated in the program apart from children of the visitors to the Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology (Heritage Museum).

The program is a part of the series titled as ‘Craft of the Month’ launched by Lok Virsa in September 2015 carrying the slogan ‘Harnessing Culture with Education’.

It aims at focusing on a particular craft every month with major emphasis to promote traditional crafts and provide an opportunity to the youth community, who has little or no exposure to the living cultural heritage of Pakistan, to interact with artisans and learn essential craft related techniques from them.

Federal Secretary, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Pir Bukhsh Khan Jamali was the chief guest on the opening ceremony of the program.

In his address, Secretary Kashmir Affairs commended the efforts of Lok Virsa for promoting and projecting the Kashmir cause in such an effective manner.

“Kashmir is a core issue between Pakistan and India, and the government is taking every possible step to resolve this issue in the light of resolution passed by the United Nations to provide the people of Kashmir with the right of self-determination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Executive Director (ED) Lok Virsa Dr Fauzia Saeed said on this occasion that number of training programs have been initiated in this program for students and young folk craftsmen.

“These craft-persons not only display their crafts and make them in front of the people but also teach children and have materials for them to experiment with the medium,” she said.

She also said this month program is specially focusing on Kashmiri indigenous folk crafts coinciding with the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day 2017’ with the objective to highlight sacrifices of Kashmiri people struggling for their right of self-determination in the Occupied Held Kashmir through a cultural perspective.

The students of Islamabad Model College for Girls, I-9/1, Islamabad Model School for Girls, G-6/1-3, Islamabad Model College for Girls, rural area Thanda Pani and special students of Directorate General of Special Education presented popular milli naghmas, Kashmiri patriotic and folk songs.

Lok Virsa dance group also presented a special dance performance based on the famous folk tunes and folk songs of all provinces including GB and Kashmir.

People including Kashmir community, students, parents, families of participating children, youth, media persons and art & craft lovers attended the special ceremony and enjoyed the fantastic live folk musical cultural performances rendered by youth and children.

The master artisans will teach children about their respective crafts till 7th February 2017 at Lok Virsa Heritage Museum, Shakarparian daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

ISLAMABAD: An artist painting during a programme on “Kashmiri Folk Crafts: Engagement with Artisans” marking Kashmir Solidarity Day at Shakarparian Lok Virsa on Wednesday.–Staff photo by Syed Mehdi