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Architect's TKN assignments in Pakistan's Northern Areas and Uganda

Posted on Thursday, 24 November 2016
The Aga Khan School in Kampala
Volunteer Name:  Fatimah Sorathia
Location:  Gilgit and Chitral, Pakistan; Kampala, Uganda
Host Institution:  Aga Khan Estate Office (AKEO); Aga Khan Education Service (AKES)
Role:  Architectural Designer and Space Planning Consultant
Duration of Assignment:  4 + 4 months
In 2011, Calgary’s Fatimah Sorathia, an architect with over 25 years of experience, travelled to Gilgit and the Northern Areas of Pakistan to assist in the construction of jamatkhanas in one of the most difficult terrains in the world. Fatimah developed construction management, monitoring and reporting templates to improve the local teams’ output. She also visited future jamatkhana sites in Gilgit and Chitral on broken roads, with irregular availability of hot water, electricity and internet connections.
Fatimah provided design and construction recommendations to the local and national AKEO teams, but most rewarding for her was the opportunity to mentor and share her knowledge with a young local architect, enabling him to utilize his newly acquired skills to design future jamatkhanas. It was a four-month TKN assignment, with one month on site.
Three years later, Fatimah served on another four-month assignment, with 10 days on site in Uganda with the AKES. She was asked to help in de-linking the national and international school programs in Kampala by creating two distinct, curricular pathways, giving parents a clear choice in terms of system and cost. Fatimah conducted an inventory of existing spaces, completed a standards audit, identified common functional spaces and proposed space utilization options in a detailed report.
Fatimah feels privileged to have been involved in projects, where she learned how to work with courage and dedication, and was also inspired by the examples of the local and national host institution team members.