Shaniera Akram – Philanthropist

Shaniera Akram – Philanthropist

Shaniera was born on 20 March 1983.[Hailing from the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, she describes herself as a “typical Australian girl” who lived a normal life, and worked as a public relations consultant. She received her early education from a private girls’ school.She was raised with three sisters, in a well-connected household which counted Sam Newman and Shane Warne as family friends.

Today, we have got a chance to confabulate on our show. Lets see what does she talks about

Rohail Amjad: Many don’t know about your Philanthropic work. What was the motive behind that?

Shaniera Akram: When I came to Pakistan I instantly felt very loved and I suppose I wanted to give back as much as I could. Throughout my journey here I felt I could really make a difference by working with many different charities and NGOs highlighting the work they do and helping them get the exposure they need for funding, volunteer work and grants. 

Rohail Amjad: How difficult was it for you to adapt the Pakistani culture and how long did it take you to learn urdu?

Shaniera Akram: When I first moved here my main priority was my two sons. I spend 3-4 years staying home and taking care of them. During this time I learnt domestic Urdu, and quietly observed the culture. Pakistani culture is quite a lot to take in a first but when you start to understand how and why we do things here it makes sense. But when I thought something was wrong or that part of the culture needed to be amended or modified, I had to step in. 

Rohail Amjad: How does it feels being “Bhabhi”. Whats your perception about the relationship “Bhabhi” ;-)?

Shaniera Akram: I love it. I feel as though the word means something different now. I took ownership of that name that was given and now it means something so much more. I’m very fond of it because it’s a name the people of Pakistan gave me 

Rohail Amjad: You have been into many social campaign such as cleanliness, recycling and road safety. Do you think that these awareness campaigns are enough or the government needs to implement fines to make them work?

Shaniera Akram: I have so many idea, and see so many ways in which we can really make a difference but right now I have been focused on raising my daughter and she is just about to start school. When she does start this year, I will have a lot more time to throw myself in to many different projects. In the last few years I have been working with the NICH children’s hospital in Karachi, an incredible place that treats over 1 million children every year free of cost. I plan to work even more closely with them. A few years  ago we did an Eid drive there and gave out food and toys to the children. My body left but my heart stayed there. 

Rohail Amjad: You recently went to Wazirabad. What was that for? 

Shaniera Akram: A few years ago I worked with an amazing NGO called Muslim hands and we were building water wells in Interior Sindh for villages that didn’t have clean water. We have kept a very close relationship since. When bikesForLife (an Australia charity) sent us 500 donated secondhand bikes from Australia, a team of us who imported the bikes went to the Muslim Hands wazirabad complex. This complex looks after 1200 students and orphans from around Pakistan. These children have come from poor families, orphanages or lost their families in many different tragedies. The children are given an education, a home and a sense of belonging . We spent a few days their, met all the wonderful teachers and students and distributed the bikes to them. 

Rohail Amjad: Since, you have been in Pakistan for about half a decade, what’s something different in Pakistani people that you don’t get too see in other parts of the world?

Shaniera Akram: I have been living in Pakistan for almost 8 years. Pakistan is my home. I feel very connected with the people here because I haven’t shut myself away. I feel I have earned my place here. So I treat it as my own. I don’t feel different now and people don’t treat me different. I’m as much apart of the country as many. And I love that. Pakistan can make you laugh and cry all in the same minute. If you are honest with yourself it can bring out the best version of yourself. I love who I have become as a person here and I have the people of Pakistan to thank. This great country has so much to offer and so much to look forward too and I love being apart of that 

Rohail Amjad: Why haven’t you marketed your awareness campaigns and social work, or is it the brand “Wasim Akram” that overshadows your work?

Shaniera Akram: Wait. I’m only just beginning 

Rohail Amjad: What was your opinion about Pakistani women and how has it changed over time? 

Shaniera Akram: Women are women. We are all different. But I feel we are leaning on each other an banding together more. I feel like we are getting stronger 

Rohail Amjad: You into the showbiz now, what role shall we expect you to do in “Money Back Guarrantee”?

Shaniera Akram: Haha you will have to wait and see. It was fun and I would definitely do it again. I hope that one day someone writes a movie in English about Pakistan for a foreign audience. I would love to be apart of that. Hey, you never know, maybe I’ll write one 

Rohail Amjad: Your advise to the readers?

Shaniera Akram: We are going through a very serious time. We are living in a pandemic and although we are survivors , our country is not equipped to handle a large amount of suffering. Our hospitals are becoming full, our medical workers are falling ill, we are lacking facilities and medical supplies.  Please I beg of you, listen to the SOPs, wear a mask, practice social distancing for the love of your families, please don’t take this lightly 

Rohail Amjad: Thank you so much, Shaniera for talking to me. Wish you all best. Allah Hafiz

Shaniera Akram: Thank you so much, Rohail, for having me on the show. Allah Hafiz

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