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Think Globally, Act Locally

Campaign for Cancer Awareness, 2011

I am a ‘Multimedia’ Artist from Pakistan. I did my degree as early graduate of this field in my country so seeking a successful career as a women in a new field, created my struggle story. It was a challenge for a girl like me, who belongs to a middle class family of an under developed country to get an admission in the best Art College of the country seeking masters degree in Digital Art Education.
I always wanted to do something both creative and technical in my career after my bachelors in computer Sciences. I searched a lot on internet for my future degree. I still remember in early 2000’s , how difficult it was for me to access an ‘internet’, hiding it from my brother (as it was thought surfing and chatting at internet can mislead girls of the society), buying internet ‘calling cards’, weighting for hours for internet ‘connect status’ and bearing the noise of “treeeee…. treee…” on my poor Pentium ii. Finally, I found multimedia masters program through internet, being offered only in one institute in the country. I took an initiative, after facing all unwillingness of family and society; I traveled to another city and lived in my college Hostel for two years. It might not be big deal for any girl in West, but in my country it was an achievement for a girl like me. I was the eldest girl at home, with two younger sisters and lost my mother at early age of my life so social survival was never easy for me.
After completing masters I came back home with new enthusiasm and joined a Theater College as research associate. My research job, archival and sense of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ was in complete without availability of internet. It is through internet that I found a cross-cultural internship program in Germany and had an international exposure for first time in life.
On way back to Germany I joined a known hospital in the city as a creative director. My hard times never ended up here as this time I was in an ambiance where technology was available around me but It was being underutilized, the administration was not aware of my role in the organization as they didn't' know anything about Multimedia. I had the most recent education qualification and the environment around me doesn't know much about terminology and concepts of Digital Arts. The computer literacy rate in this organization was very low. The people at administration level did not understand day to day innovations going on in cyber world. They were stuck to their old working style and were not trained about latest technology utilization. The users were totally unaware of my work nature as they did not understand the concept, processes and creativity protocols. They mostly looked at the end product. In Pakistan, people usually think, Art is just entertainment and a young girl teaching them about latest digital protocols was attacking on their ego. My new challenge as woman was to prove the role of Arts with technology in Health Care and introduce Art as a communication tool not just a decorative coating.
In few years time, I realized that only my artistic skills are not enough, to be in decision making role I must need to learn management. I must know international examples to practice in my country and must connect myself with the World. I had many creative projects in mind for community health awareness but never had exact clarity to manage. I started looking on internet where I could get similar project examples and can get training for Arts Management on scholarship basis because I couldn’t afford at my own. Finally, I found a Fellowship in Arts Management through internet. I submitted my problem with project and luckily out of 1200 applications I was selected with 14 other fellows among south Asia.
The fellowship was for one year in 3 phases. At first phase I had initial two weeks training in India, Phase 2 was one month internship in Europe and in phase 3 at end of year we all had to get together again in India and had to represent our work. It was a pride for me to be an international fellow. Internet was the main helpful affordable medium for me, from the process of finding a relevant course, institute, training, research work, finding places and people to ticketing, booking and hostel / hotel reservations.
I have re-started working back in my community with a Global perspective. I have learned that the world has become virtual village there are no more international boundaries, the access to global information through internet has made every person on earth reachable in seconds, time & space theory has been rendered irrelevant. Interpersonal communication, socialization and interactive participative discussions are serving as very important medium for sharing knowledge and information. This can serve a very strong tool for empowerment.
Now this has forced the management gurus to “think globally and Act locally”. The perspective has to be global and the act has to be local according to local culture, values and social norms. This has tremendously helped in underdeveloped and developing countries and has empowered the women in this part of world through awareness about other religion, culture and societies. The women now have an access to global data bases and information banks including modern concepts, theories, philosophies and practices.
Internet has empowered me and I am trying to empower my community. I have started my one organization, “Rastay”. International qualification and experience further boosted my professional personality and I am able to cross my social barriers one after another as a woman. Now I am at managerial position and also trying to help other ladies coming up as Art Managers in cooperate sector through training.
Internet has changes my life; there are few prominent gifts which internet has given me been very helpful in my professional life.

Activist Tool Kits
Whether it’s a Global Hand Washing Day for kids, World- Cancer Day, Heart Day, Tuber closes Day or any other Global Health Day; I am connected with the world. Each day has a significant theme every year and it is very easy to celebrate in Pakistan. All ‘tool kits’ and communication material is available on internet or WHO website, it is really easy to use them with a little modification according to my culture and community. Thus a big awareness is being achieved.

Real Life Examples
Thanks to the internet, it has given me real life examples and success stories of other similar organizations using ‘Digital Arts’ as communication tool. I have shared such examples my administration and my cause got better supportive evidence.

Global Connection
I am still in touch with my all international institutes, teachers and fellows. This is all because of the internet especially social media. I get to know what is going on at their professional end. Whenever I am stuck, they are there to guide and support.

International Collaborations
Internet has opened new opportunities for future collaborations and sponsor-ships for international projects. For example, after my residency in UK, I have been given free access to use multimedia software for movement of people with special needs. I am using this software with my people with similar needs and in future hoping to have a joint collaboration and funding opportunity.

Relatively Inexpensive Publisher
It is relatively inexpensive to publish information on the Internet. At a fraction of the cost to publish information by traditional methods, various organizations and individuals can now distribute information to millions of users. It costs only a few thousand dollars to establish an Internet presence and publish content on the Internet.

Inexpensive Marketing Tool
You can use the World Wide Web to advertise various products. You can use the multimedia capabilities of the World Wide Web to make available not only various services but also audio files, images, and even video clips.

Online Surveys
Traditional methods of performing surveys are often relatively slow and expensive compared to online surveys conducted on the Internet. .

Available Technical Support
Whether I need an updated version of any multimedia software or plug-ins. Internet is offering it mostly free of cost. I easily get tutorials and other technical support.

Supporting Links
www.rastayngo.com
http://www.arthinksouthasia.org/basic-page/2013-2014-fellows
http://www.first-movement.org.uk/

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Achievement Award in Paksitan

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Comments

Sherna Alexander's picture

beautiful post

I smiled at the trees treeee.
With each post I read I am encouraged to continue the struggle may you continue on your side of the globe.

Regards,

Sherna Alexander Benjamin
Sister in Unity, Technology, Service, and Voice

"Breaking the Silence is not a popular choice, it is the right choice"
https://m.facebook.com/OabiOrganization
"There may be times when we are powerless to preven

annamarie's picture

Art and Technology

Dear Alina,

It amazes me to hear how the use of the internet empowered you to find opportunities to match your needs and dreams.
And how, in so doing, you've made those dreams come true and is doing such wonderful work.
Your determination and resilience in connecting to the internet is commendable - many would have given up if they had to struggle and wait.....as you had to, but you did it and is now serving as a good example of what is possible through the internet.
The world has indeed become a global village and we can learn so much from each other.
May you inspire lots more women to get connected and create opportunities for themselves. Great work!

Regards
Annamarie

Alina Chaudry's picture

Thank You

Thank You Dear Annamarie and Sherna Alexander for your kind and encouraging words. I will be adding two more articles to the World Pulse soon... On Honor Killing and Women Health Support Group.. Do give your feed back on that also. Please share your own profession, stories or contributions .I am really interested to know about other cultures and people.
Once again thank you so much. Bless You :)

Alina Chaudry
Media & Communication
Rastayngo.com
shifa International hospital
Islamabad, Pakistan

Kristina M's picture

Wonderful story

Hello Alina,

It was wonderful to read how you used the internet to help get past the roadblocks you faced. I can identify with working for others who were not that interested in using a computer. Now that I am no longer just out of college and I find myself resisting learning some new technology, I remind myself of that situation and how I do not want to be left behind.

Best wishes for your Rastay organization,

Kristina

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

Brilliant!

Hi Alina,
What shines through your story is your extraordinary courage and determination and your intelligence. Without those qualities, you wouldn't have succeeded. I'm so glad that you were drawn to IT and the net as you might have taken your talents elsewhere and this digital world needs as many pioneering women as possible to efffect change.

I've also looked at your Rastanygo site - it's a great site and I've bookmarked it to explore at greater length when I have some time free.

Well done and best wishes,

Fiona

Fiona McKenzie

sabapetit's picture

Global woman!

Dear Alina,

Education is the most powerful tool to transform the world and your story is just an example of that! I feel so proud of you because even in adversity you have made and still are making the right decisions! Thank you for sharing this inspirational experience of yours and thank you for sharing important links, ideas...encouragement and dreams!

My best wishes for you and your projects!
Peace,

Sabapetit

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