A Sagittarian who was born on December 14, 1980 in the city of lights: Karachi; Sarah Hashwani believes that one must positively impact the lives of people around and regards it as the larger purpose of one’s life.
Starting off with Kindergarten at Mrs. Haq’s School in Karachi, Sarah later joined Karachi American School Karachi and St. Michael Convent School Karachi before moving to Islamabad. She became a student at OPF College in Islamabad. She also had a year long experience of being at the oldest and the most prestigious International boarding school in Switzerland: “Le Rosey” – most often referred to as the ‘School of Kings’.
Sarah graduated from Islamabad International School in 1998 and then moved to Houston to study at the University of St. Thomas from where she completed her Bachelors’ degree in December 2003. She chose majors in ‘finance’ and minors in ‘philosophy’ and as of today she praises Almighty for enabling her to graduate with laurels and honors from the university. Moreover, she met many at the university which inspired and motivated her to a degree which she, till to date, regards as fulfilling and gratifying.
An avid reader – from the very beginning:
She became a part of the first ever reading club when she was just 6 years old and used to study at Karachi American School. She owes a great deal to this reading habit as she benefitted a lot from it. Sarah was awarded double promotion in her school, and she feels that her passion for reading has in fact helped her a lot. Sarah believes that one has to read in order to keep up with the world. Books by various philosophers have been of special interest to her. Albeit she likes Bhullay Shah’s poetry, Aristotle and C.S Lewis. A level of frustration remains due to insufficient time for reading. She being adept at English, knows Urdu and French as well.
She has been a part and parcel of various clubs at high school and later at the university as well. However, she regrets being not-so-very athletic.
Honey Bee Farming:
Sarah believes that poverty alleviation is the panacea for all ills which our Motherland faces today. Her Honey Bee farming project is a live demonstration of how constructively poverty alleviation is managed. “Plan Bee” is Sarah Hashwani’s brain child which crystallized under the umbrella of Hashoo Foundation. It is sweetening the deal for the women bee-keepers of northern Pakistan, by selling their top-quality honey in luxury hotels.
The former kingdom of Gilgit in Pakistan is among the poorest and most isolated regions in the country. The towns are conservative and male-dominated - a place where women are not much seen, let alone heard.
One of the few income opportunities for women is beekeeping. The unique flora of the region makes for a superior honey that should command a premium price. The hard part is getting the honey to market. That's where the Hashoo Foundation comes in. It takes the women's honey, processes and packages it, and sells it in the high-end shops in the capital Islamabad and hotels in other major cities of Pakistan.
Profits go straight back to Gilgit, where they have a big impact on the women's lives. As Sarah Hashwani explains, "We're not interested in just helping them earn more money - we want to see that their children are better educated, that they have access to healthcare, that they have better sanitation in the houses and that they have better nutrition.”
The project objective is to improve the standard of living of families by empowering women in the Northern Areas with a dignified means of economic sustenance through bee-keeping and training in honey production, microfinance, and links into the honey market supply chain.
Sarah Hashwani believes that it is all Allah’s blessedness that has enabled her to lead such a noble endeavor and feels a heavy responsibility to grow the work of the Foundation.
Economic Upheaval – the solution:
Sarah believes that poverty is the major problem of Pakistan. She feels that by developing our Agriculture Sector we can make things better regarding the economics of the common man’s household. Sarah proposes that there must be a strong strategy to build up agriculture sector, as at present there are no structured supply chains available. With a population of 170 million, 35% of which is under the age of 35; Sarah believes that we can do wonders in developing the agriculture sector.
However, Sarah questions that the large pool of youth is largely comprised of uneducated, unemployed and unskilled people, then how will we manage to ensure that the role of youth is constructively utilized.
Sarah Hashwani – the soft personal side:
Sarah believes that maintaining a balance in life between deen and duniya is at the core of being successful, acknowledging that she is still striving to achieve that equilibrium. Albeit she drives immense satisfaction and energy from the noble endeavors she is into. She recollects the sweet reminiscences of even memorizing the lyrics of the songs she used to listen to a lot for which there is no time today. She used to keep pets such as monkeys, fish and turtles but now no more. Now she usually meditates, as she feels that she draws strength to pursue her ambition of striking the right balance between the self, family, friends and the multiple works she is involved with.
She reads newspaper with interest but doesn’t have any favorite columnist in particular. Moreover, watching soccer and cricket interests her as well.
Sarah believes that she has learnt a great deal from ‘Aga Khan Development Network’ and their philanthropic initiatives. She feels that in terms of development everything has been done somewhere in the world and there is so much to get inspired from and move forward; not to say that one doesn’t come up with fresh ideas but it actually helps in embellishing the raw ideas. She finds inspiration and motivation whenever she looks around.
She finds leadership in Imran Khan, Mr and Mrs. Edhi and so she does in the activities of LRBT Trust. Another name which she highly regards is that of ‘Peggy Dulany, Daughter of Rockerfeller ’, who is actually managing a ‘Global Philanthropic Circle’ comprising of over 70 families from around the globe engaged in Philanthropy – Hashwanis being one of them.
Sarah feels that philanthropy has always been in her, she regards it as something innate. Even after her graduation in 2003, she started off with social work and did it for three years; at a stage when all others vie for commercial ventures.
Sarah Hashwani feels pride in the establishment of ‘Hashoo Foundation’, as she aspires to see it grow and live hundreds of years to come. She feels great to be a part of a network which works for people around them.
She feels that there is a dire need to direct the youth in the right direction, as she finds them wandering around; and they are unable even to differentiate between the notion of ‘modernization’ and ‘westernization’, It is imperative that we progress within a framework which embodies our values, culture and traditions. She urges the youth to hold on to their identity and work hard, hand in hand, for a brighter and prosperous future.