Letter from our Trustee Sameer

Letter from our Trustee Sameer

Meandering through the narrow alleyways of androon Peshawar, one can’t help but reminisce about the aura this city once embodied – the merchants, travelers, storytellers that once gathered at the Qissa Khuwani Bazaar. Sharing their stories over a cup of green tea (kahva) and chapli kabab, visitors would congregate under the shade of wooden jharokas adorned with intricate floral motifs. The foreign storytellers and travellers may not remain today, but their memories and tales still linger on – immortalized within the architecture and heritage of this city.

Right off of the chaotic Chowk Yadgar, are pathways that smell of green tea, lamb butcheries, and leather. One of these pathways, however, transports you into the world of fusing civilizations that once called Peshawar their home.

The gradual incline while approaching the Gor Khatri Park is a testament to how many civilizations, from Gandhara in 5th century BCE to Alexander the Great, have been reduced to mere rubble underneath. The Sethi Muhalla, right adjacent to the heritage is home to fragile havelis much like the rest of the city. Treading carefully along its main street, one realizes these havelis may collapse one day if not preserved soon. It will only add to the debris under Qissa Khuwani bazaar, the old city neighbourhood that reeks of lost history and heritage.

Inspired from these fragile buildings and rich heritage, Squeaks Foundation, too, found a home in Peshawar. The city once known for its commercial and educational activities in the region has gradually lost its luster in recent years due to domestic terrorism and a long-standing war in its Western peripheries. The Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa citizens, alongside the city’s heritage, both have suffered immensely as a result – a product of neglect and isolation. For the past two years, Squeaks has sought to provide hope to these people – especially the young, aspiring female students who want to be agents of change in their communities.