KARACHI: Muniba Tirmiz, a student at the School of International Education, drew a car with a gargantuan spring underneath. "I want my car to be able to jump whenever it wants," she said.
Fourteen-year-old Ifrah Amjad drew a car with a built-in timer. "My car knows when to stop and when to speed up," she said.
Schoolchildren, teachers, parents and businessmen gathered at a jam-packed hall in Marriott hotel on Wednesday evening for the award ceremony of the Eighth Annual Toyota Dream Car Art Contest.
The 'future dream cars' is a global contest launched by Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan, in 2004 across 80 countries. The contest, held annually, is meant to instill creative thinking capabilities and to provide an opportunity to children to draw the car of their dreams. It also provides a platform for the car manufacturing company to forge a bond with its consumers. Previously, Maha Farid and Fatima Noor won from Pakistan in 2013 and 2011, respectively.
"We have received the highest turnout this year," Ali Asghar of Indus Motor Company (IMC), Pakistan. "Over 12,000 participants are coming in from the country. This is good for Pakistan as it helps promote a softer image of the country."
IMC has been organising the contest with Toyota for the past seven years. From 600,000 entries, only nine finalists make it to Japan. The children draw their dream cars and then the finalists who are selected are taken to Japan for a tour of the company.
The chief guests at the awards ceremony included the Consul-General of Japan, Akira Ouchi, and renowned actor Rahat Kazmi.
When asked about his dream car, Kazmi replied, "Sawal toh yeh hai ke khareed sakta hoon ya nahi [the real question is, can I afford to buy it or not]." He also said initiatives such as these provide an opportunity for children to showcase their talent at a global level.
Ouchi congratulated all the winners. "We share a long-term commitment to assist Pakistan in joint ventures such as these to help increase the country's intellectual development," he said.
"Encouraging young children to create and teaching them how to take initiative is of paramount importance as they are the future of the country," said Parvez Ghias, the CEO of IMC.
The contest is held in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore and the finalists are chosen by a panel of experts. This year's panelists include artist and designer Uzair Akram, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture teacher Aaliya Yousuf and World Academy School art teacher Ambreen Faisal.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2014.
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