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Call for Stories of Friendship, Love and Nostalgia: “Beyond the Borders” Initiative by Lighthouse South Asia

Lighthouse Storytelling’s South Asian chapter is starting it’s open call for contributions to their Indo-Pak campaign ‘Beyond the Borders’: a project aimed at promoting friendship, love and unity between the people of India and Pakistan. They wish to showcase these stories in the form of creative narratives: whether written, visual or spoken, in an effort to celebrate our connections across borders.

As an official collaborator to Lighthouse South Asia’s campaign, Aaghaz-e-Dosti invites you to contribute to this initiative through submitting your story via the form 

If you wish to contribute in a different way, apart from written submissions, we also look forward to spoken word presentations (audio or video), interview/podcast sessions, video documentary/story and other art forms centred around the same theme of unity between the two countries. If you need help in documenting your story, we are here to help! (Write to us at

The only area to exclude is going in depth about political, religious or other controversial topics as that is not the only side we are trying to portray, otherwise engaging and insightful discussions are welcome. 

For further questions you may contact the heads of the campaign at: or or contact Aaghaz-e-Dosti at

We look forward to receiving your stories!


Pakistani girl’s dreams turn into reality – with some help from Indian company

Shifa is like any other girl – a life full of joy, dreams, goals and a passion for doing something. After the death of her grandmother (dadi ammi) whom she loved a lot, she would often see her in her dreams where her dadi would talk to her and share a few memories of India.

In 2018, Shifa, who was a chemist by qualification and loved to indulge in social welfare, thought she should try her hand at a small business. This is where her real journey started – she learnt that establishing a business is always more difficult than the daily routine of a job.

But since she was ready to take on the challenge, she started exploring ideas based on her own observations and calculations such as the risks involved, cash flow, need for a certain type of business, capital involved etc. Like any other entrepreneur would do.

The idea of opening her own laundry instantly clicked and she started working towards it. When she talked to her friends and family, most of them rejected the idea, mainly because she had no experience of a washing business. Shifa narrates:

Shifa_Owner_WashHub Pakistan

Shifa (Founder-WashHub, Pakistan)

“In 2018, mujhe business ka junoon tha. Laundry start karney ka idea aya. Hoon to mein chemist and social worker. Par ek dam sey yeh idea aya to bas sab ne bohat sunai, guide karna to door ki baat hai. Mein subha se raat tak laundry companies ko mails bhejti thi. But no response.”



But Shifa did not give up hope and instead became ever more determined to take up the challenge and make all the effort she could to bring her idea to life. She looked up all the laundry businesses on the internet and started writing them e-mails for guidance. She did not even count the number of emails she had sent. While she didn’t receive any response to her mails, she did not feel defeated and sent more emails to more companies.

Her effort bore some fruit when she received a surprise response to one of her emails. But wait! This reply was from an Indian company! And they were ready to guide her on how to open a laundry business. Shifa started taking tips from WashApp, the Indian company, collected resources locally and, finally, succeeded in opening her own laundry in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

She says, “Ek din meri aankh khuli and I saw an email from India. One of the biggest companies in India. After that daily unn se baat hoti thi and they guided me at every single step.”

WashApp Team India

Washapp Team (India)

While narrating her story to Aaghaz-e-Dosti, she says that the entire process sounds like a dream and makes her so happy. She believes that people living on the other side of the border have a good heart and we just need to stretch our hands towards each other to become united. She said “I wish ke mein sab ko bata sakoon ke border key uss paar bhi hum jaise log baste hain jo hum se pyar karty hain bas hath barhanay ki dair hai. Ek bar koshish to keejiye.”

Aaghaz-e-Dosti learnt that her business started with providing laundry services initially to domestic users and students, but after positive feedback and trustworthy relationship with customers, it has grown significantly into a firm, called WashHub, and now provides services to industries, hospitals, restaurants and many other commercial users.

She never forgets to say thank you to the Indian company that guided her about how to set up her own laundry.

Her message to young entrepreneurs is:

“Never give up on what you really want to do. Anyone with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”

(Send your Indo-Pak stories, experiences, poems, travel blogs, articles etc at to publish with us)

“He is my brother from another mother”: Story of Jenis (India) and Talat (Pakistan)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indopak Border, Jenis Samuel from Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), India shared the story of his friendship with Talat Islam Khan of Punjab, Pakistan. Jenis writes,


I have had made hundreds of friends in Pakistan motivated by my bond with my first Pakistani friend Atif and which I cherish a lot.

Among many people, I met a man from Punjab (Pakistan). His name is Talat Islam Khan whom I call as “Tali”. He is of my age and a great friend of mine now. We met each other through Facebook just 3 months ago but our friendship did not take even a minute I think!

We share a lot in common. Most of the feelings, thoughts synchronizes between us and seriously I often ask him, “did you ever read my diary?” He think of us as the same soul in two bodies and I so agree with him! We have a lot of common things including our stance on Indian Pakistani friendship, bollywood, southern films, music among other things.

He is a great entertainer indeed. He is a mimic artist, actor, singer…well he’s multitalented!

The best thing I like in him is the way he speaks. He is a great follower of philosopher Rumi and through him I came to know about the great person. His thoughts are also so fine just like Rumi. I feel that Tali is a brother from another mother to me!

I feel that I owe him a lot. He is good at philosophy and he guides me in many ways. He respects our friendship and whenever we find time, we speak for hours or so through whatsapp and messenger.

There is a saying that I really like – “Unexpected friendships are always better”. I think I understood it’s meaning because of this fellow.

Yes, there were many stereotypes that tried to break our friendship. I was asked not to speak to him and to avoid this friendship. But I had made up my mind. Even if I will have to delete 99% of my Pakistani friends, I’ll not unfriend some and Tali tops that list.

It’s hardly few months and we both believe that we are kind of brothers. My parents know him and his mom know me. That’s how he’s popular in my home too!

When I told my mom and aunt about him, they were so surprised to know of his character and how much I valued this friendship. His mom would have felt the same 🙂

Coming to people’s reaction on our friendship, as usual many were and will be surprised and shocked to know about our bond. I had uploaded a video about our friendship on Facebook a few weeks ago wherein I shared about our friendship and the value he has in my life. To my surprise, I got good comments not only from Pakistan but also from my fellow Indian friends. They appreciated and agreed that it will be great if we all start thinking this way and to reach out, form bonds with people who are regarded to be “different” and “opposing” to us.

There are plenty of similarities among Indians and Pakistanis. Once we clear out all our attitude and speak to people who are from the other side of the border, I am sure that we will be able to see a lot of changes.

As a common saying goes this way, to solve a problem, speak WITH each other and not speak ABOUT each other. I hope once people will come together, all these stereotypes and myths could be broken off.

I want to tell my friend Talat that “I have found no one as good and close like u brother ❤ You are seriously a brother from another mother :)”

This year we gonna celebrate 2017 New Year as virtual brothers and I hope that we are able to celebrate the next year together!  

I really hope that we both meet soon in person and that we share about our friendship to the people out there, to the world who tries to control friendship and emotions through borders 🙂

Do you have a friend(s) across the border, share your story with us. Send us your story along with photographs at


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