Hi, I am Qurratulain Zaman known to many as Annie, and to a few as Mimi’s mother (Um-e-Umaima). I am really honoured to be nominated to represent this lovely, diverse and colorful community that I call family. Thanks again, I am truly humbled.! * I am based in London, but right now in Myanmar where the Internet is still relatively expensive and slow, hence the delay in putting my statement on the community blog.
I am a volunteer with GV since the summer of 2011 when I moved back to Pakistan from Germany after working with Deutsche Welle, Radio, the University of Bonn (Indology Department) and GIZ. I was first introduced to it by one of my teachers at the Deutsche Welle Academy. She presented it as a case study that brings alternative news from far-flung areas and a venture which is not commercial. Not commercial and bringing news from global south —I was in for it!!!
At that particular time when I was struggling to find ways to settle back home in Asia and was distressed and depressed to see how news is always ‘breaking’ and not informative…, GV was a portal that kept me going, kept me passionate about people, communities, and news around them.
Since then GV has always been a source of knowledge, information and a platform that kept my journalistic abilities growing. For me, and for many others, with whom I have interacted over the years, GV is a dream come true to give voice to the voiceless. Communities and areas especially in the south. There are many regions and people who don’t make headlines or get even a single line in media.
Apart from my journalistic growth and well-being, GV family has always been there for me. In 2014, when I had Mimi, my first born, I went through postpartum and trust me all of you kept me going … through your emails that many might think in their busy schedules are spams or “too many emails/threads in my inbox”—for me, it kept me connected with the outside world and kept me sane. I am sure it kept many of us sane and happy and humane in many ways that words can’t describe. During that time I was involved with GV as an author for South Asia and as a volunteer translator and co-editor for Lingua-Urdu. I also got an opportunity to attend GV-summit 2015 in the Philippines with our 10-month old child. I reconnected with those I met in GV-summit 2012 in Nairobi, and made many new friends. Meeting with everyone in person really made a difference and I got back home with positive energy and love.
Why represent Volunteers:
Why? I questioned myself many times, why would I want your vote to be elected as a Volunteer rep.? There are so many other amazing volunteers running for this post—why me? After a long internal dialogue I have come up with the following:
- I believe that I connect with the volunteers who join GV to learn and also to unlearn the art of story-telling. I understand how hard and fun it could be to collect information, upload it online and send it to the editor and then collaborate with the editorial team.
- I am currently working with the Rory Peck Trust that supports freelance journalists and their families around the world. I take care of their Asia programme. As most of the volunteers are freelancers in this community, my day job brings that experience and resources to help the community in a more constructive way.
- I have time and energy to give back to this amazing community.
- I am a good listener and have experience in dealing sensitively with people in distress. As a volunteer rep. I could hear your concerns and take them to the board to motivate improvement. I understand that volunteers at GV also need more support, assistance, and encouragement for bringing amazing stories from around the world
I bring to GV-Board my passion for working with communities, in particular with the GV- community with whom I have a special connection. I have lived and worked in two continents and have worked on grass root level and also in the newsrooms in Asia and Europe. Being a former journalist, I know a little bit that what happens in the newsroom and in the field *ouch! it hurts calling myself a former journo. I have seen and managed stress at the desk and also understand that the backbone of any newspaper is the reporter, the storyteller …no matter how bad he or she could communicate in some international languages such as English. I speak 5 languages and love singing and dancing if I am not found cooking and traveling.
I want to represent all of you who give their time and energy to this beautiful place. You keep us going and we have to find more interactive and innovative ways together with the management to keep us motivated and keep this platform a happening place for all of us, be it a staff member or a volunteer.
Thanks for your support and love! You could reach me at my contact page. I will try to respond as quickly as possible.