Americanah: A Tale Of Race, Love And Home

“The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. Weamericanah all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue. I didn’t think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America.”

The excerpt is from Adiche’s renowned novel Americanah. This is a powerful story about love, race and immigration. Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman living in Princeton, New Jersey, decides to move back to Nigeria after a breakup from her boyfriend Blaine. It was ten years ago when Ifemulu came to America from her home country Nigeria. During this period, she faced a lot of difficulties. The foremost obstacle was her skin colour.

In Nigeria, race was not an issue for Ifemelu, and she was never called black in Lagos; she was Nigerian. Upon arriving in the United States, she was shocked to discover that she had been labeled black; especially a non-American black. This made her start her own blog where she addressed issues related to race.

Other than that, the love story between Ifemulu and her teenage sweetheart Obinze is riveting. Their love story witnessed many ups and downs. During Ifemulu’s stay in the US, she suffered from depression and this became the reason of her detachment from Obinze. Later Obinze married Kosi and Ifemulu dated Curt and Blaine. But when Ifemulu came back to Nigeria, their love reignited. The author knows how to touch the heart chords of her readers. There is yearning for love which is engrossing.

Moreover, the author has also shown the importance of family values and blood relation in this story. Education is also central theme of this novel.

Rate: 4.5/5.

Mobile Internet Revolution

Mobile Internet revolution has not only changed the lives of a common man but it has also created a drastic impact on the businesses in emerging markets.

Daily Times Pg A7

Snapshot of the Write-up: Source-Daily Times

Below is the link of my write-up where I have elaborated how the mobile internet revolution helps in promoting business.

Happy Reading!

Mobile Internet Revolution: A boon to businesses in Pakistan

You are out of office and you receive a call from your manager asking you to email an important document on an urgent basis; you love reading but unfortunately there is no library in your vicinity; your customer lives in other city and wants to see the new collection of jewelry that has arrived at your shop. Three different scenarios, but one smart solution – mobile internet and thankfully Pakistan is

Photo Credit: Online

Source: Online

witnessing a mobile internet revolution following the launch of 3G services by all leading telecoms and also recently 4G launch. Now, one can easily email on the go, read e-books and advertise products on social networks by uploading pictures through Smartphones. Exciting times are ahead for local businesses that are willing to be part of this revolution.

Mobile internet revolution has not only changed the lives of a common man but it has also created a drastic impact on the businesses in emerging markets. Globally, the mobile internet has been around since 2000 and it’s growing rapidly every year.  In today’s world, the mobile is ubiquitous and it is upstaging PCs, laptops and tablets to emerge as the device of choice for internet connectivity. The reason behind this is the ‘carry it anywhere, everywhere’ convenience and accessibility offered by these devices. Smartphones offer a wide range of applications that make it easy for businesses and people to abstract the desired information and carry out activities relevant to their needs. Couple that up with a super-fast internet service and what you get is consistent connectivity with the world at large.

World of apps is here: Online

World of apps is here: Online

In short, high quality mobile internet is the way forward for businesses who wish to tap in to a market previously left untouched. It’s obvious that businesses have to constantly adapt themselves to changing trends in order to survive in this competitive world. With the current mobile internet revolution, there is an opportunity of e-commerce industry to flourish through which more consumers will be able to shop online with ease. Generally, the Asian market is a huge contributor to the global mobile boom with the region contributing to around 895 million active mobile subscriptions in the year 2012 alone. In fact, a Nielsen Smartphone Insights Study 2013 shows that smart phone penetration in the Asia-Pacific region is booming, presenting a huge mobile commerce opportunity. Moreover, the network infrastructure in these markets has improved with the influx of 3G services, particularly in Pakistan.

According to the report published by mobile survey company, Pakistan is ‘the fifth largest mobile phone market in Asia’. The increase in internet users has resulted in businesses realizing the significance of their web presence to connect with consumers online. Furthermore, online shopping is gradually making its presence felt in Pakistan. The e-commerce market in Pakistan is estimated to be around $25-30 million, in comparison to the total retail market of approximately $42 billion. For instance, the online shopping portal, a project of Rocket Internet, launched in Pakistan in 2012 is one of few businesses utilizing the mobile commerce in Pakistan. According to Muneeb Idrees, the Co-founder of, more than half their orders are from outside Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. It is because people in smaller towns have access to either mobile based internet or television. They learn about new products, but don’t have malls in their cities to buy these products. Therefore they end up placing orders online.According to data, around 20 percent of the transactions on take place through cell-phones, a number which is set to increase. Verily the E-commerce sector will be the greatest beneficiary of the current mobile internet revolution as businesses which have diversified into providing different services online from seat reservations to property selling can take advantage by navigating the location of the consumers and offer them customized solutions. This is one of the most cost-effective ways for the marketers to reach out and engage with consumers online.

In the UK and US, with the latest 4G technologies, the small and large businesses of UK are reaping all the benefits of going wireless.

Graphical Representation for 2014-Source: Online

Graphical Representation for 2014-Source: Online

With the robustness of 4G, one does not need to worry about sending or accessing large files. According to a global study conducted by the American firm ‘Arthur D Little’, more than eight out of 10 US businesses surveyed (86 %) got more work done on the move with 4G. More than 76 per cent of US respondents agreed that 4G has helped their firms innovate and jump ahead of the competition. Success stories like these have start-ups and small businesses excited about recent 4G LTE launch this year and the potential it has to uplift local businesses.

It’s true that “technology can do wonders,” and in today’s age, it is actually influencing the lifestyle of the people. With mobile internet, one cannot only optimize the effect of advertising but also cash in on the interest of the consumers. With the penetration of 3G and 4G services, companies can also develop mobile apps that provide a feasible way to engage consumers. It is important for the companies to be adaptable in the face of evolving technologies to gain success in these constantly changing markets.

Uncovering the world of opportunities for the little wonders with just one click

Abdul posing for the camera while working on his PC

Abdul posing for the camera while working on his PC

Writing about education and especially when its concern to Pakistan makes you depressed.  It is not an easy task because so far education is the most neglected area in the country. According to the UNESCO report, Pakistan stands second in global ranking of out-of-school children with 5.5 million children are not enrolled in any school. Primary education is the basic learning phase in a child’s life but unfortunately almost 57.3 percent children are deprived of education as reported by Annual States of Education Report. Considering the facts, it shows a bleak picture of education sector in Pakistan. According to the Article 25 (A) of the Constitution of Pakistan, the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to 16 years. . The ground reality is opposite as the government has not provided any facility of free education for the needy students. And to think that government provides a free IT-based education at the primary level is just out of question for now.

So, when my course-in charge assigned me to write an article about the IT-based education at the primary level for the underprivileged students. I was little worried because finding such school in the city of lights is not easy task and that also in the month of Ramadan and when you are only given a two-day deadline to finish the herculean task.

Somehow, I started with my research which is prerequisite in working on any feature article. Browsing through different websites, fortunately I found good news where it was mentioned that Microsoft Devices Pakistan has donated 10 computers to ‘The Garage School’. The news raised the curiosity inside me and I instantly decided to delve more into this story for my article. On arrival to the school next day, I found out that these new computers have created enthusiasm among students and they were all ecstatic to have a computer lab in their own school which they felt is a blessing.

For some privileged people including me, it may not be a big thing because for us technology has become a necessity and regular part of our lives, but what we forget to understand that the students enrolled in TGS might be using for the very first time in their lives. These 400+students of the school belong to underprivileged areas where each penny counts and wasting on luxuries is not an option. But TGS is one such educational organization that has opened a doorway for these disadvantaged children and gives them a ray of hope to pursue their dreams and that is to be educated.

In the present era, it’s important to be equipped with all the modern techniques of education and computers are one of them. Shabina Mustafa, the founder and driving force of The Garage School is of the opinion that imparting an IT-based education to the students at the grass root level would help them to navigate their lives towards betterment.  Mustafa also believes that education is not only about passing exam but rather it gives a sense of empowerment to the students so that they can stand on their own feet. TGS has been providing free education, health care and vocational training for the past 15 years. Continue reading

Collaborative Technology facilitates the Distance Learning in Pakistan

‘The world is a click away,’ a phrase aptly defines the concept of globalized world which are interconnected by communication technologies. The communication technologies (radio, television, Internet, mobiles) provide access to the flow of information around the world. The world is changing rapidly and to be with them; it’s important to be updated which can only be possible by educating oneself. Education means to gain knowledge by enlightening oneself with surroundings as well as with the world. Therefore Distance Education has become a new trend to collaborative learning by using technology. However, Distance Education is not only for students but also for everyone who wants to pursue education whether they are on job, homemakers or somewhere out of the country.

Collaborative learning is the method of instruction for a group of students to work towards common academic goal. However, media that facilitate the distant education includes electronic mail, video, audio, radio, video-technology, mobiles and multimedia. The concept of new distance education theory deals with the concept of distance. The theorists elucidated the difference among distance education and conventional ones; the former one does not attend educational institutions whereas the latter are required to go to universities or colleges. According to the notion of distance education, it is in hands of a student to determine the place and time of his/her study. Moreover, it is a learner to learner communication which also anticipated two-way communication by open learning as well as correspondence study; however it saves money and time.

A tool for faraway students

Distance learning is found both in advanced as well as in developing countries but one of the advantages of developed country is that its advancement supports the widespread influx of technology associated with the distance education . On other hand developing or underdeveloped countries lack behind due to large number of illiteracy and no sign of improvement. According to the goal 2 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, primary education is significant to all the children and it should be widely implemented till 2015; but the scenario is other way; developing countries has less access to printing knowledge as well as technology which could improve their standard of education. Further, the inequality access of education became a barrier for the developing countries as well as the cost and the quality of education.

However, with the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) in developing countries, it has benefitted students and teachers to acquire education while living geographically as well as physically away from the place. Many countries have introduced virtual education system which even reaches to the remote geographic areas. The distance learning program with the use of different communication technology made it possible for these countries like Pakistan to be equipped with new and enhanced education system.

The introduction of ICT is a key element in the growth of Pakistan in terms of new jobs, wealth redistribution and education. Distance education has been a great initiative for Pakistan. There are many steps that have been taken by government of Pakistan for education and one of it was to initiate virtual classes in schools/ colleges /universities. These classrooms use internet as well as video facilities for the interaction with the learners of the whole world. Also electronic libraries have also been introduced that linked one to worldwide books, journals and articles.

Allama Iqbal Open University is one of the largest universities that use distance education programs to facilitate those students who work outside Pakistan or home-makers. They use the audio and video facility as well as the satellite internet in order to improve the distance education. Similarly Virtual University of Pakistan and Aga Khan Education Services are also included. The former one uses television for broadcasting its lectures and also these lectures are available in multimedia CD-ROM; whereas latter ones uses computers for distance education especially in rural areas. Aga Khan also improves the method of teaching by collaborating with international educational institutes.

Moreover, there are two research programs such as PERN and IEARN that have linked the research and education of Pakistan with the world. They use the services of digital library and to participate in online-based curriculum projects which enhance the potential of students to share knowledge and research globally. The radio program is also developed in collaboration with UNICEF to raise issues that create awareness in the society regarding gender discrimination, corporal punishment and so on and so forth.

However technologies have been effective tool for distance education in Pakistan but there are certain limitations that needed to be addressed along with its use and importance. The literacy rate of Pakistan is very low; one of the biggest constraints for the distance education therefore it affects the comprehension level as well as quality of instruction. Firstly teachers are not well versed with the technology skills and they are not even well-trained, secondly internet is expensive and most of the rural students cannot avail its opportunity and lastly the misuse of technology as the technicians are not well-trained. Therefore these all could be a hindrance in distance education programs.

Despite being cost efficient and untrained instructors, distance learning has become a potential source for rural population to grow themselves and interact with the world. Moreover, it is important to overcome the hurdles by making education essential for everyone and advocate different programs that promote distance learning. It is an opportunity to open new horizons of sharing knowledge and learning.