The Rebel Optimist tells the story of an amazing woman who was assassinated near her office in March 2013. Perween Rahman, an architect by profession, joined Orangi Pilot Project, OPP soon after graduation and worked with Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan. Perween believed in the inalienable right of the poor to shelter, water, education and health. All the programs she ran in OPP worked towards this goal. It is estimated that, in her lifetime, her work changed the lives of three million people around Pakistan. Her work is taught in universities of the north and south, soon after she was killed MIT USA organised a three day seminar titled The Orangi Piiot Project and the Legacy of Perween Rahman. She was the winner of two UN Habitat awards and the government of Pakistan conferred on her the Sitara-e-Shujaat.
Aquila Ismail has written extensively on development, women and literature in newspapers and magazines. Her novel ‘Of Martyrs and Marigolds, was published in 2012 and is based on the emergence of Bangladesh from the ashes of East Pakistan. Her published works include Harvest of Anger and Other Stories, Godavari, Zindabahar Lane, and The Three Worlds. Her non-fiction work consists of the documentation of the work of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), a Karachi based development NGO. At present she is documenting the work of her sister Perween Rahman, Director OPP, who was gunned down by armed assailants on 13 March 2013 in Orangi. She is currently the Chairperson of Orangi Pilot Project. Aquila has also taught as Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the NED University of Engineering and Technology.
An Economist by education, Sahar works as the Director of Programs for Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) an NGO which till four years back was run by her aunt, Perween Rahman. Sahar has set up an organic farm on the OPP premises in Orangi using recycled water. She also runs a food security program consisting of teaching women to grow vegetables in containers. She hopes that her skill training program for young men and women will lead to them becoming entrepreneurs. She has introduced an art education program for teachers and children living in low income communities in Karachi.
Mr. Anwar Rashid
Mr. Anwar Rashid is one of the founding members of the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN). Mr. Anwar Rashid, in addition to being the Vice Chairman of the PMN Board, is a member of two sub-committees of the Board; Policy Committee and Audit Committee. Mr. Anwar Rashid joined OPP in 1982 as a researcher and evaluator in the field of social and physical development. He was promoted to Joint Director OPP in 1986. He has been overseeing OPP- Orangi Charitable Trust (OPP-OCT) since 1995. He is also on the Board of OPP-KHASDA and OPP-RTI. He has also been a Guest Speaker in events organized by LUMS, LEADS, NIPA and Karachi University on topics of community and social development. Mr. Anwar Rashid has authored and co-authored a number of publications such as “Khajji Cooperative Society – a Partner of OPP-OCT” (2005), “Health Survey of Orangi and Thikri” (1991), “Working with Community – Principles and Methods” (1992), “Maintenance and Rectification – Evaluation of Lane sanitation” (1992), Micro Enterprise Credit Program – As a means of Empowerment” (1995) and “Partnership in Development – Low cost Sanitation Program” (1995).
Ali Arqam is a journalist. He has written extensively on Karachi, it’s politics, security and law and order. Mr. Arqam is also teaching Pushto at Habib University.