Khaldunia Rainbow Festival
While Islamabad is rapidly dappled with the colours of spring, Khaldunia High School celebrates this renewal of life with an annual charity funfair to celebrate the Earth as it sheds the last vestiges of winter.
This year, the school chose the newly created CDA Potohari Art and Crafts Village in Shakarparian as its venue. This charming addition to Islamabad’s natural parks is run by the Indus Heritage Trust (IHT) and showcases the craftsmanship of Pakistan’s hinterland – too often neglected in the brittle glitter of the buy-it-scrap-it modern age.
Traditional artisans are brought here to spend two weeks displaying their crafts to the city in the hope of reviving dying arts and crafts.
With “rainbows” as their theme, Khaldunia’s students and staff put together a visual feast of balloons, bunting, and kites, and stalls crammed with games and displays. Children flocked to the giant inflatable slide while the strains of blues and jazz alternated with resounding applause for the magic show; onlookers clapped for break-dancers and karaoke singers. Many of the performers were Khaldunia students and alumni.
A stilt walker paraded through the grounds and young children squealed in excitement as he bent down to shake hands with them. Food stalls did a brisk trade in biryani and haleem; homemade biscuits, cakes, and ice cream; and pasta, hotdogs, and chips. The White Elephant stall and second-hand book stall swarmed with customers of all ages, while Bahir and Gear Up displayed outdoor furniture and camping equipment for the more adventurous.
Central to Khaldunia’s philosophy is its aim to foster outside-the-box thinking and create awareness of alternative social constructs among its students. Various stalls were devoted to spreading knowledge – the Alternative Energy Development Board displayed a range of possible solutions to Pakistan’s severe energy crisis, while the Asia Foundation and National Book Foundation displayed a wide selection of books. The Express Tribune media group also displayed a range of materials. Aurat and Rozan, two NGOs devoted to the welfare of women and children, disseminated important literature on pressing social issues; the latter also held a puppet show to highlight the perils of child sexual abuse. Also represented were the NCHD and a stall to spread awareness of the resurgence of TB, while the Dhaal Trust checked people’s blood pressures and provided first-aid advice. A tarot card reading and reiki stall introduced alternative healing. People congregated at every stall, willing and eager to learn.
For hundreds of children and their parents, and scores of artisans and stall-owners, the day ended on a happy note. Khaldunia concluded yet another successful funfair.