Matter of just few past years and we recollect active participation of Girl Guides in all national events. Their presence was a must at all VIP visits and many of the visiting First Ladies often spent hours with our guides many times at the Girl Guide House. Their training sessions were always anxiously awaited by young girls at schools and colleges and on many provincial, national and international events these young guides under their able trainers proved their worth. Then with passage of time, expansion of cities and reduction in transport facilities for the young female members of our community and societies these healthy training activities had a nose down reduction. Activities as well as number of girl guides at schools and colleges have reduced a lot but can be regenerated with little more resources, encouragement of office bearers and trainers. May be the corporate sector can add these healthy community activities to their corporate social responsibility.
A Team of Mobile World met with office bearers of Punjab Girl Guides Association and compiled this report for its readers.
MOBILE WORLD Team, (MWT) when visited the Girl Guide House for an interview of the Provincial Commissioner was told that all works of Girl Guides today are result of efforts of the First Girl Guide Begum G A Khan, who with her vision created a success track for the organisation. Over 100,000 Girl guides are available but first their activities are restricted due lack of funds, non availability of dedicated transport, missing support from corporate sector and very little media support to the conducted activities. An improvement in travel facilities with provision of uniforms and resources can bring this force back in action for all major national works, nation building and even during disasters or national emergencies.
Towards the end of 1947 Miss Fatima Jinnah called a meeting in Karachi of representatives of Guide Movement for all the provinces of Pakistan. Miss Jinnah became the Patron of the Guide movement and Begum G A Khan was elected as Chief Commissioner of the Pakistan Girl Guide Association (PGGA). Begum G A Khan was the Provincial Guide Commissioner of Punjab before independence. With her new appointment, in August 1948, she represented Pakistan at 12th World Conference of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts at Cooperstown in USA.
Highest award of the Girl Guide movement “The Silver Fish” was presented to Begum G A Khan in 1951 by Lady Stratheden the then Chief Commissioner of International Girl Guides Association. She also held the office of Deputy Minister of Social Welfare in 1952 and later was awarded Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam (1958), Tamgha-e-Pakistan (1959), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1963) and Sitara-e-Pakistan in 1966. Under her able guidance the organisation expanded to a nationally recognized and internationally appreciated component of our society. No national activity would be considered complete without the participation of smartly dressed active girl guides representing their respective area. Their presence always added colour to receptions and social events organised for visiting dignitaries.
Lahore training school started in 1952 after the award of Guide Training Diploma to the First All Pakistan Trainer. Expansion continued and 1953 saw appointment of District and Divisional Commissioners and development of Guide Companies. By sixties the organisation had expanded with offices in every important city. Up to 1971 the Training was centralized at Lahore, then various training centers in different provinces were established which provided the best possible services.
Statistical data for the period 1972 to 1985 shows that the number of various Girl Guide camps increased from 855 (with 15,691 participants) in 1972 to 5,512 (participants 84,919) in 1985. Girl Guide House at Lahore had the unique privilege of welcoming many distinguished guests from abroad including Malaysia, Thailand, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Jordan and many other countries.
Girl Guide Houses were established in various cities like Rawalpindi (1957), Multan (1963), Peshawar(1966), Islamabad (1964), Bahawalpur (1965), Gujranwala (1968), new Muslim Town Lahore (1986) and the national headquarter inaugurated in 1974. During this time recipients of various recognition Awards included Crescent of Pakistan (119), Star of Pakistan (353), Certificate of Merit (658) and Commendation Certificate for Guiders (182) and Guides (970).
As per information available to our team, finances remain the major cause for showing a strange downward trend till last century which was further aggravated by the law & order situation and non availability of dedicated transport for Girl Guides.
Membership figures of Punjab (as for 2012) shows 6037 Junior Guides, 16,287 Girl Guides, 4336 Senior Guides, 108 Cadet Guides and 78 handicapped members working in 803 Companies and being looked after by 51 local associations through 165 Headmistresses, 42 Master Trainers and 26 Commissioners under the able guidance of Provincial Commissioner Mrs. Nafisa Sikandar Malhi. Her team in spite of very restricted resources managed 448 camps with 12311 participants during the year 2011-12.
Both Government and private schools need to reactivate this noble activity with sponsored inter school competitions on all Girl Guide works and its proper media coverage. Guides are willing, trainers are ready and very little resources are needed to have a trained force ready for action both in peace & emergencies and for national causes like health, polio, flood and education.
Annual activities of the association include:
- Thinking Day rally on 22 February
- Training Session from April to August
- Participation in National Sports under Ministry of Education
- More participation in Intl Events (resources permitting)
- Organizing District, Provincial and National events
Efforts are needed now to increase the percentage ratio of Girl Guides at every education institute and guidance sessions for students for their awareness about Guiding and better living. Visit to PGGA House at Lahore by Girl Guide trainees of all districts will sure help towards standardized activities. MWT was impressed by the dedication of the Provisional Commissioner Mrs. Nafisa Sikandar Malhi and her team in Lahore and Punjab.
-Published on pages# 18-19 February-2014 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine