The Youth Convention of Pakistan at the Pakistan Auditorium, Pakistan Association Dubai, Dubai. Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Knowing your community and the country is key to knowing how you can give back, Oscar award winning Pakistani documentary filmmaker Haya Fatima said at the Pakistan Youth Convention on Saturday evening.

Addressing the Pakistani expat youngsters at the Pakistan Association Dubai auditorium, Fatima urged the youngsters to realise the power they wield and use it for a better cause.

Urging the youth to find ways of giving back to Pakistan and giving back to the society in the UAE she said: “I believe that unless you empathise with people you can’t actually help them. Unless you know the people and understand their situations, you will not know how to help them, you will only be making assumptions about their needs and you will end up giving them what they don’t want.”

Fatima said that one doesn’t need to have a lot of money to help others, but can contribute by devoting time, energy and skills as well as mobilising support for the right causes.

“You are actually one of those fortunate people who are in the right place, with access to all the resources with links to Pakistan as well as people from all across the world, you are sitting on this network with which you can connect with everyone and its time you realise this,” said Fatima.

One of the ways of contributing, she said, is by connecting with the local Pakistani communities here and trying to understand their needs.

“There are people from different socioeconomic background who don’t mix with each other easily and as residents what you can do is to reach out to them. You are the second biggest expatriate community in the UAE with 12 per cent of population in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and there a lot of people are left out of the network most often. So what you can do is to reach out to these people through events that they like to take part in like playing cricket and other sports, this way people will come together and once you are together more social work would be done,” said the documentary filmmaker, who won an Oscar for her film ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’ last year.

She was among a host of speakers that included Atif Bin Arif, Managing Director of Pakistan’s Super Savari Express, Mashaal Chaudhry, founder of the Reading Room Project and Ali Haider, co-founder of Humans of Pakistan.

Organised by Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF), an affiliate of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), the convention brought together young Pakistani expatriates for an evening of cultural experience.

“We put a lot of effort in bringing together different aspects of Pakistan and showcasing a positive image of Pakistanis to the community,” said Dr Jameela Haq, chairperson of PYF.

Apart from the informal conference, the convention is hosting cultural performances and art exhibitions by citizens within Pakistan and abroad.

“Our object is to reach out to Pakistani students and youth, who otherwise don’t get to take part in Pakistani cultural activities. We are trying our best to connect with the youth and offer them opportunities and platforms for all round growth,” said Siham Arif, PYF Media Secretary.