Bringing Forth Real Change – SRHR Ehsas Film Project’s Latest Initiative

Students at Habib University are always encouraged to push their boundaries, and get first-hand knowledge and experience of societal problems plaguing their communities. Regardless of the program they belong to, students are always up for initiating and developing projects that tackle these challenges. Having the opportunity to add his own ideas to this vision of positively influencing society, Ali Rizvi, student of Communication Studies and Design at the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at HU, took up the challenge of representing the transgender community of Pakistan in a positive light. Using the platform SRHR Ehsas Films Project, which is an advocate for awareness about taboo issues through the use of media, his project took the HU community by storm, creating a larger impact when his proposal won the support of the Packard Foundation and Youth Champions Initiative, Public Health Institute California. His film, titled “Sapna”, followed a member of the trans community through a day in their life, and received very positive feedback, being screened everywhere from The Second Floor, Karachi, to Colorado State University. Learn more about it here.

Encouraged by this accomplishment, Ali Rizvi’s next initiative takes him one step further in causing impact in the society we inhabit, through an awareness campaign for traffic rules, regulations and violations with visibility on the trans community as socially active members of society as well. Team members, made up of HU students Ali Rizvi, Ali Tejani, Saman Fatima, Hareem Salman and Shafaat Khwaja along with members of the trans community took to the streets on January 12, 2016 with placards and cameras, strategically placing themselves at traffic lights at various intersections, engaging with members of society in their vehicles as well as the traffic police. The traffic rules awareness campaign includes both HU students from the SRHR Ehsas Film Project and the trans community, who are often seen at traffic stops. Several signs were held up by the members of the Ehsas Film members, displaying messages about following traffic rules, changing the system and the like. One especially inspiring message reads;

“Badalna hai nizaam ko, to badlo apnay aap ko”
(To change the system, one must start with themselves).

“It’s vital to engage the marginalized trans LGBT community for the greater well-being of society”, said Rizvi of this campaign. “Something that really heartened us was that, people in passing cars or motorbikes really appreciated our efforts, giving us the thumbs up and victory signs. Some even stopped from running red lights, reversing their cars after they saw our signs”. Students conducted several interviews as well as created photo opportunities for the community wherein they inquired about the difficulties faced by pedestrians and the like caused due to ever-increasing traffic violations in the city. Watch the series of videos and photographs from this campaign here.


Student led initiatives such as these are a sight to behold, especially in a city such as Karachi where more and more student groups and club activities are suppressed due to security concerns. The Habib University community is not just supportive of these activities, but offer many opportunities for new students to engage in them personally as well, right from the start of their academic programs. These are just some of the unique and ground-breaking started by students and faculty at Habib University, and that too in the first 18 months since the inception of the university, placing it in a inimitable position as custodian of an active, engaging and socially energetic community.



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