A step ahead: Sabeen’s mother takes the torch forward

Mahenaz Mahmud talks about the Sabeen Mahmud Foundation, her plans to make T2F an independent project

Saadia Qamar July 26, 2015

KARACHI: The mother of Karachi’s wild child Sabeen Mahmud has decided to carry forward her legacy by establishing a foundation that will promote young artists and give a voice to the subdued.

Sabeen was taken away from the city too soon for its good but the seeds she laid down will hopefully reap benefits for generations to come. Her mother, Mahenaz Mahmud, is taking the torch forward.

The elder Mahmud has started an organisation, under her daughter’s name. “The Sabeen Mahmud Foundation (SMF) is a non-profit society registered in Karachi,” Mahenaz told The Express Tribune. “In the aftermath of Sabeen’s tragic death, some of Sabeen’s close friends and family [members] decided to set up an organisation in her name that would continue and even expand on Sabeen’s work.”

The foundation has an eight-member board and all decisions will be taken in consultation with the board members through discussion and voting, she added.

The organisation plans to provide support to Sabeen’s signature projects - PeaceNiche and T2F - as well as all the other special projects that found a home within the PeaceNiche/T2F ecosystem. “Additionally, we plan on supporting other creative individuals who come to us with their ideas and passion,” said Mahenaz. “Our support will take the form of fellowships/scholarships, mentorships and grants.”

Mahenaz is driven by her daughter’s passion. “As it was Sabeen’s dream to be able to continue her studies in education with a focus on the use of empathy as a learning and teaching tool, we plan on carrying Sabeen’s mission forward by reaching out to and encouraging young people committed to intellectual, cultural and democratic engagement [sic],” she said.

There is an attempt on her part to keep this initiative independent of T2F and PeaceNiche. “My vision for the SMF is for it to be wholly independent of Sabeen’s non-profit, PeaceNiche, of which T2F is the signature project,” she explained. “I am in the process of working with the terrific T2F team to devise plans to make T2F an independent, self-sustaining project. I believe that T2F has become a community space, an institution for the people of Karachi, and for it to live out its promise, the next generation of Karachi’s citizens must take it forward.”

SMF will support T2F in an advisory capacity and provide budgetary support, but there will be little or no interference in running its affairs, she added.

The foundation is looking for support, both local and international. “At this point, we need help getting the word out to all the friends and supporters all around the world who believe in Sabeen’s work,” said Mahenaz. “We have set up accounts into which donations can be transferred.” All the details can be viewed at the website: www.sabeenmahmudfoundation.org.

The mother’s final request to Sabeen’s supporters is to keep the space alive. “Keep coming to T2F when you are in Karachi and support our tremendous programme of events, discussions and performances.  Come to our café with your friends.  And, above all, don’t give in to cynicism and negativity. Sabeen never did!”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2015. 

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