Hidden Kingdom – article by Hira Tajwar

Despite its struggling economy, progress and hope abound in the ethereal valley of Hunza.




One of the evenings, I sat with the locals. Gulbaaz told me that despite the gloomy times, the spirit of the Hunza people was still alive and kicking. In fluent English, he said he was optimistic that the new educated generation would revive the region’s development.

The local literacy rate exceeds 90% – an amazing feat considering the national average is under 40%. A large part of this is due to the works of the

Aga Khan. The people of the Hunza Valley are overwhelmingly Shiite Muslims from the Ismaili sect, and their spiritual leader is Prince Karim Aga Khan.


As their imam, the Aga Khan has actively worked for the development of his followers throughout the world, especially in the areas of health services and education. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is one of the world’s biggest private development networks, partnering governments and international organisations across two dozen countries. In Pakistan, the focus has remained on provisions for the residents of the Hunza Valley.

Over the last two decades, AKDN has developed a vast network of high-standard English-medium schools throughout the valley. The flagship project, the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School in Karimabad, was established in 1986 and is the first residential school of its kind, providing hostel facilities to more than 80 girls. Awareness programmes run by AKDN and the government developed in the people of Hunza a strong belief in the benefits of female education. Here, for the first time in Pakistan, gross female enrollment in primary schools exceeds male enrollment.

Read at the source: http://www.theasiamag.com
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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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