It was wonderful to celebrate the French National Day in Karachi this Sunday at the Alliance Francaise de Karachi. We welcomed 300 guests to our beautiful campus, a unique institution that has been conducting educational and cultural activities to promote the French language and culture in Pakistan since 1953. The Alliance Française de Karachi is registered as a Pakistani non-profit organization and runs entirely on self-generated funds. We operate without any financial support from the French Embassy in Pakistan or the French Government.
Our mission is to promote the French language and culture, but we do more than this: We also
- promote friendly ties between Pakistan and France
- encourage learning and education
- build community through peace and tolerance
- serve vulnerable and underserved adults and children.
We also partner with local organizations that serve special needs children, and children from vulnerable areas of Karachi. We have impacted on these and many more children from underserved areas of Karachi, giving them access to activities and programs in which they would never ordinarily participate.
- Lyari Girls Boxing: We brought boxing trainers and dancers from France and Germany to teach and train girls from Lyari in both boxing and dancing, increasing their self-confidence and self-esteem, and strengthening links between Pakistan and France. One of the participants, Sarah Baloch, now hopes to become Pakistan’s first female Olympic boxer.
- AURA Annual Picnic: Our yearly picnic for Al-Umeed Rehabilitation Association brings children with cerebral palsy and street children to the Alliance Française garden for a day of music, activities, and fun.
- Deaf Reach School: We support the Deaf Reach School for Karachi’s Deaf boys and girls; their visible participation in our concerts, bazaars and other cultural activities raises the profile of Deaf people as fully-contributing members of Pakistani society.
Our excellent team of teachers and staff, a mix of French and local hires headed by Director Gilles Pascal, has welcomed thousands of Pakistani students have learned French on our premises, and French and Pakistani artists, musicians, poets, and scholars present cultural, educational, and scholarly programs free of cost to a wide audience of students, ordinary citizens, intellectuals, diplomats and the business community.
The Alliance is a safe space for dialogue and discussion, for openness and tolerance. We are all engaged in building a better city for future generations. I have been president of the board for the last two and a half years and with eight other members from the intellectual, business and cultural community, we have worked hard to guide and nurture what is known as Karachi’s premier cultural center. It is such a pleasure to be a part of this cultural diplomacy. Building bridges between countries is the surest way to peace.
France and Pakistan dosti zindabad!
Please, if you are interested in supporting our institution, get in touch. We are seeking to expand our programs and activities, improve our premises, including full-scale renovation of our cafeteria and library, and continue to offer space and support to organizations that serve underprivileged communities in Karachi. There are several ways in which you can support the Alliance Française de Karachi and its activities.
- direct donation, which will fund our classes, cultural and charitable events, and other projects related to the maintenance and improvement of our building, grounds, and facilities, and is tax-deductible.
- corporate sponsorship, in which your company can sponsor classrooms, cultural events, and other projects related to the maintenance and improvement of our building, grounds and facilities; your branding will be highly visible on our premises and at our events.
- We are specifically seeking support in 2019-2020 to build a Pole-Residence, a residence center on the AF Karachi campus to house visiting scholars, educationists and researchers who wish to come to Karachi. This will facilitate their ability to conduct research, workshops, and other pedagogic activities which will enhance the functioning and activities of AF Karachi and increase educational and scholastic ties between France and Pakistan.