Authors: Azmeena Rahmatullah
Date Submitted: July 31, 2016
Article Type: Discourse

In Pakistan, the coming of spring is often marked by an army of kites that take over the clear blue skies. Traditionally referred to as Basant, this cultural festival is celebrated in the walled city of Lahore, where colorful kites take flight in the skies and kite flying gathers a frenzied momentum. Families, dressed in bright colors, gather on the rooftops to witness the kites dive and rise in a series of swoops and swirls.

Though traditionally associated with Lahore, Basant has caught the imagination of the entire country. The festive spirit during this time of the year is infectious as kite fliers partake in kite battles throughout the country. The hypnotic beat of the local dhols (percussion instruments) are heard as gangs of little boys yell “Bo-kata” after cutting other people’s strings before chasing the fallen kites and claiming them as their reward.

We decided to use this popular kite flying activity to raise awareness about the cause of missing children by turning the kite, a cultural tool, into a social vehicle to reach people in the high impact areas of Karachi. With a population exceeding 22 million, Karachi is a densely populated metropolis of Pakistan. In a city that is home to different ethnicities, faiths, and social classes, around 3,000 children go missing each year. Many of these children are kidnapped for begging on the roads, forced into slave labor or prostitution, or are trafficked. However, others are simply lost and unable to find their way back home.

Page Number: 28
PDF Link: Discourse Issue 23