Diwa Newsletter 1

Stichting DIWA

Ocktober 2010


Hereby you receive the first newsletter of Stichting Diwa. With this newsletter we want to keep you up to date with the activities of Stichting Diwa.

Ongoing issues & events

Begin this year Stichting Diwa was officially registered in the Chamber of Commerce in Rotterdam. As a volunteer organisation we are proud that almost all our incomes are spend on our projects!

Stichting Diwa wants to support vulnerable people in Pakistan by providing them education.

According to the UNESO Global Monitoring Report 2010, Reaching the Marginalized, not so many children in Pakistan are attending basic education (56% children of 5-9 years old). This is one of the lowest numbers in the world! The Illiteracy rate is high among poor people who are living in the countryside and in slums. There is a little progress but still Pakistan lags behind in comparison with other South Asian countries.

Being born as a girl is still a disadvantage. Geographical isolation, poverty, and social exclusion are important reasons that many people are not reached yet. The conclusion of the UNESCO report is that more and strong attention for marginalised groups is necessary to reach the goal that every child is going to school.

Stichting Diwa is busy in raising funds for the Brick Kiln Workers Education Project in Gujranwala, Pakistan (for more information visit our website www.stichtingdiwa.nl). Different churches and organisations in the Netherlands are already committed to supporting the project but still a lot has to be done to reach our goal in this year.

This year several activities are going to be organised where everybody is invited! Saturday 20 November there will be a workshop bread baking. The profit from this event is going to the Brick Kiln Workers Education Project. Friday 10 December there will be a pre-X-mass Party with Pakistani food and music.

Vesper and presentation artwork

In June there was a special vesper in a little church outside the dike in Giessen (NBr). The occasion was a part of the opening of the building of Schouten Company. The vesper was led by pastor Gerrit de Fijter.

A woodcut piece of art with the title: Give us today our daily bread, was presented by Bert Kersten.

This was the first time Stichting Diwa presented the Brick Kiln Workers Education Project for fund raising.

Kersten is a baker in his daily life. He is having a special life of baking bread and making art. His artwork can be seen in many places around the world where he donates his art to different organisations. This way he is contributing to the work they are doing.

Pakistan, first hand impression (part 1)

by Elbert van Vulpen

In September 2007 I was privileged to attend the wedding of Jan Dirk Schouten en Shahlla Gill in Pakistan. Only travelling to Pakistan was already a big experience. The last part of travelling from Abu Dhabi, I was one of the few western people in the Boeing. Almost continually my fellow travellers glanced at me like: What he is going to do in Pakistan? There are almost no tourists in Pakistan. My neighbour reacted surprised about the Christian wedding. He said that Christians in Pakistan “only do the cleaning jobs, like toilets”. Anyway I should not have bought a ticket for this. I only became more curious.

What he is going to do in Pakistan?

We arrived in Lahore a few weeks after the so called dislocation of the Red Mosque in Islamabad. The political situation was quite tense. Quickly we departed in a little bus with closed curtains. From that moment our rhythm of life became dependent on the Pakistani way of life. Our watches and our western obsessions with time became switched off. The organisation of a wedding cannot be organised tightly, even more because the wedding was organised during Ramadan.

Anyway I should not have bought a ticket for this. I only became more curious.


We dived in the restless traffic of an Asian city of millions. The turbulence of an Asian mega-city can only be experienced, not be described. Lahore is the second city of Pakistan with more than 10 million inhabitants. The masses of people are so enormous that it is dazzling. In Western Europe we don't know this: maybe it is comparable with the Kalverstraat on a Saturday afternoon. There it is going on day and night. An Indian student asked me in the middle of Hofplein in Rotterdam, Where are the people?
He did not understand that Hofplein is the centre of Rotterdam with almost no people visible.

What surprised me most was that I cannot see any logic in the behaviour of people. For example: somebody is driving with a chicken on the back of his bicycle in the middle of Lahore. What is he doing there? Is he working or is he not? This is not very efficient, you would think as a western person. Like this you see thousands of people continuously.

An Indian student asked me in the middle of Hofplein in Rotterdam, Where are the people?

We were excellently accommodated by the groom in a new hotel in Gujranwala. At the entrance of the hotel we saw big iron shutters. Almost every house or shop has this. We got a strange feeling when every night the shutters went down and locked. Literally a security guard was laying with a gun in front of the gate of the hotel. We did not have keys. What to do in case of fire? We did not think about it too much, that was for our safety. Everybody who has money or who belongs to a vulnerable group should protect himself in this way.

This became clear to me on the wedding location, which was a place with walls around it. Here was a Theological Seminary and several churches and dwellings grouped in a large garden. Pakistanis called it a compound. At the gate everybody was checked by guards with Uzis. Christian families like to live together to give each other the necessary support.

Pakistan is an Islamic Country. You can hear the call for prayer Allah Akbar five times a day from everywhere around the city.

To be continued.

Attend the workshop bread baking!


The Kersten Bakery wants to open the bakery in Kralingse Veer in Rotterdam for a workshop. The profits of this workshop will go to the Brick Kiln Workers Project of Stichting Diwa.

Time: 20 November 2010, van 14.00 hr. tot 17.00 hr.
Cost: €20,- p.p.
Place: Bakkerij Kersten
Zebrastraat 36
3064 LS Rotterdam

Pre-X-mas Party

Also write this in your agenda! Pre-X-mas Party on Friday evening 10 December, with Pakistani snacks en music! Time and place will be announced.

E-mail: info@stichtingdiwa.nl of call: 06 412 846 89.

Print your own Stichting Diwa poster or folder! Go to www.stichtingdiwa.nl.

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