Giveback goes #Local in #London (Good hair days for the homeless)

Give back has taken many forms for us, from PTP in conflict affected geographies in Pakistan to hot meals to soup kitchens in London.  A few weeks ago whilst nattering with Vangeli (Van)  my 2nd go to barber at Grooms barbers in Orpington another form of giveback came to mind, Vangeli (Van) a young enthusiastic character from north London wanted in on giveback. Then and there it was decided taking Van’s skills to the homeless in London will be his giveback; “if you look good the world looks at you differently right?” It was Van’s rhetorical question but is as true as it can get. I’ve experienced it first hand whilst doing field research for PTP

We spent a weekend planning and Van getting his kit together and on Sunday 1st November we headed off to London looking for willing participants. The deal is I take care of the awareness, ‘the digital front’ as Van puts it and he’ takes care of the grooming. Our aim is to take this beyond London i.e open source it!

We set up some rules, cruel they may sound but no drunks and no junkies, this is about empowering those who want a better future and want off the streets, we have limited resources and as such are keen to invest them in the right individuals. So the process starts off with a chat on who they are and what they want for themselves, any inclination of wanting off the street and that’s our man/woman. We may or may not follow these rules, we may flex and alter them in the future but on day one that’s what we stuck to.

free hair cuts for the homeless Meet George Adam 21 and homeless in London, George is a charmer, hard not to take a liking to this young man! He wants to get himself in a shelter, wants to get an address so that he can apply for a HGV license. George’s ambition is get a HGV license , get a job, go to a party, meet a girl and have a normal life. The least we could do was start him off with a smart haircut and a lunch, in return George educated us on the trials and tribulations of the homeless in London, thank you for adding to our body of knowledge George. Our foray this afternoon also got us introduced to Paul the park warden for Lower Grosvenor Gardens, Paul was apologetic for asking us to leave the park as he was closing down, and pointed us to a few homeless haunts for us to explore next weekend in search of other deserving candidates for Van’s services. Thanks Paul.

free hair cuts for the homeless

George, before and after his free haircut and shave

The ask for barbers reading this post (or for you as a topic of conversation the next time you’re in a barber’s chair) is to step forward and volunteer an hour or two over one weekend a month in their own town/cities, and of course we’re looking for a couple of volunteers in London around Victoria and the Westend, Van is off travelling in a couple of months and we’d like to carry on with this sort of giveback. However whilst travelling Van will be taking this giveback to cities he’s travelling to and my job is to convince other stylists and barbers to do the same in their cities and raise awareness of the state of the homeless across the third rock. We’ll be off next Sunday again, check back then for an update!


One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

OPEN London – an evolutionary leap…

@OPEN_London 20th of October was OPEN-London‘s chapter launch, a resounding success. 240 individuals came together to bring about an evolutionary leap for the London Chapter of OPEN global; a not-for-profit organization, whose focus is promotion of entrepreneurship and professional growth. A secular and non-political organization with prosperity and growth as its raison d’être. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 57% of all registered delegates attended,  42% of whom were students and 124 professionals representing British economy across the board; the NHS, BBC, Deutsche Bank, KPMG, Citigroup, BP, Oliver Wyman, Telereal Trillium, Vodafone, CPA Global, Deloitte, Marriot, Saudi Aramco, StudentFunder, BPP and the list goes on and on.

51% were women; including the founder of CARE Foundation, partners at law firms, consultancies, doctors, startup entrepreneurs, teachers in London, educational reformists to OFSTED employees. From hijabs, traditional garbs to skirts and suits.

OPEN_London_EmailComs_LE2013 On day zero in June 2011 it was four near strangers at Smith and Nephew’s offices on Adam Street in London,  this past weekend it was 240 representing technology, finance, social transformation and the healthcare sector. From industry leaders, rising stars, established, growing to wobbling entrepreneurs, a former prime minister to a Hollywood star the entire spectrum was covered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Though LA, Washington DC, New York, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Canterbury were represented it was mostly a London affair.

Keynote speakers included Seema Aziz of Care Foundation; educating 150,000 children studying in 225 schools, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Shaukat Aziz and Faran Tahir; of StarTrek, Elysium, Iron Man and most recently Escape Plan fame. There were four separate breakout sessions covering social entrepreneurship, technology, finance and healthcare with an equally impressive line up of panellists. The Alexander Fleming building of the Imperial College London was a fitting venue for the launch, Pioneers of sorts hosted in a building named after an epic pioneer himself.

OPEN London – to learn, share, connect, improve, seize and grow; individually, as a community in London and beyond.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

OPEN London – community 2.0 or something like that

Open_london Usually I shudder at the thought of a networking group built around an ethnicity/creed/religion or any sort of singularity for it represents something as far removed from the concept of a community as is possible.

So when a friend mentioned OPEN mid last year my initial reaction was dismissive,  Athar pressed on and it paid off! I checked out the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs and Professionals (OPEN) and found a few things that set it apart from the usual suspects! they drummed on about being secular and non-political, they were concerning themselves with the ecosystem they ‘lived in’ as opposed to focusing everything for the benefit of ‘back home’ –  a bunch of integrated folks – that in itself scored well on my scale.

I wasn’t sold yet… but was curious to meet the few folks meeting up to explore bringing OPEN to London. OPEN is from across the pond and it has successfully delivered to its mandate State side… so the Brit in me was curious as to why there was no OPEN London chapter … clearly the centre of the multiverse should not only be represented but be leading the way!

My first meeting ,with what was to later become the group of charter members, was refreshing! against the odds these were people I could relate to, integrated, secular, progressive, inclusive… quite OPEN! (every pun intended) and determined to build a community not a singularity.

A little over a year on, OPEN London is launching in some style at Imperial College London (Sir Alexander Fleming Building) on the 20th of October 2013 and I am proud to be involved in building an enterprise focused, inclusive and open community at home in London.

Thank you for badgering me many moons ago Athar and thank you Naseem for bringing this to the centre of the multiverse and of course everyone else for bearing with me and my awkward ways and awkwardly open world view!

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

Camping in Lahore – tales from Lollywood

Am back in Islamabad after two very long and tiring days to Lahore and a full on Camp!  details to follow, this is abridged version for the experience!

Drupal Cam Pakistan in Lahore was a strange affair, all in all a great experience, met all my objectives of promoting Drupal and the power of OS in creating jobs, opportunities and prosperity… introduced Drupal to a small army of students,  but could not quite understand the industry representatives in Lahore! of the 60 odd registered from Industry only 20 odd showed up… total count on the day was about 70+ of which the majority were students – which was great but would have been better for the industry to turn up to network and guide the local student population!

Stranger still was discovering that a perfectly normal Drupaler I know in the community in Pakistan turned out to be a bigoted, racist ignoramus! not so nice known ya fella’

We linked up with the Drupal Community in Bangalore and this guy went off on a nationalistic ignorant rant with them on Skype! of course I used my 6’3 110kg mass to push him aside and apologised for giving the podium to a bigot!

Any hoo… the Camp was great, we trained 41 newbies in Hello Drupal and expect the vast majority to keep at it… we linked up with the Faculty lead on relations with industry and convinced Bilal Arshad from UCP to introduce Drupal in their end of year projects for students.

The next camping trip for Drupal Camp Pakistan is in August to Karachi and then I am off Camping in Dubai to build links with the community in the GCC region…

As for right now… am off to host the inaugural 9others meal in Islamabad… more on that later.

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.

DrupalCamp Pakistan in Lahore – Build up… a wedding, submarine Cable repairs and the Mother of all DNS attacks!

An evangelist’s log: Star date – 28th March

Drupal Camp

0730 –  landed in Islamabad, 30 minutes in the immigration queue, walked to the carousel and my luggage is right there! out by 0815 – has to be a new record flying coach! Straight to the Crane’s nest, up since 0700 the day before, Bialetti on the stove, quadruple espresso and the world starts making sense again!

0930 am informed by one of our crane also a trainer for DrupalCamp that there has been a slight oversight on his part for the 30th March camp… it also happens to be the day his sister-in-law is getting married! in all the excitement of the Camp it slipped his mind that his attendance at the wedding is not optional! a key crane has to be excused, but an ex-crane steps in to save the session!

0940ish Asif our network ninja informs me that the net speed in Pakistan is not running at its best because of a damaged submarine cable! but the powers that be are working around the clock (somewhere under the Suez canal) on fixing it asap! I get online, start streaming off Vimeo and yes the speed sucks!

1000ish Fida our organiser supremo informs me that Campus at University of Central Punjab has a fantastic mega fat pipe line… the submarine cable damages comes to mind!

1200ish Atta sends me an article from the Guardian – Cyberbunker is kicking Spamhaus’s behind and the end users are paying for it with reduced speed! the Rock’s largest DNS attack is in play! and the net speed in Blighty is suffering! a three word expression come to mind!

But it would be no other way, the camp is going to Lahore home to the not so famous Lollywood, where the action movies would send Action Jackson cowering; featuring horses and Drupal Camp riders who can cover great distances in a flash… from Times Square NYC to Lahore Central in less time than it takes for a villain to pull off the distressed damsels veil, XXXL heroines doing Shakira numbers and heroes who would scare the pants of Jet Lee, guns that never need reloading, heroes who can spill more Red than the Red sea and still manage dialogues and live to fight another few dozen baddies in the next 30 seconds, actors with phenomenal stamina to shout out dialogues over 2+ hours!… and directors who evidently compete on how absurd a movie they can make!

There has to be drama involved! this is LAHORE not Sparta!

#Drupal #DrupalCamp #EmergingTechnologies

One more option to look on her packing at it levitra vardenafil it of course to take not so simply because a form another and there is a wish to hold in hand her not so strongly. You can carry by me on a wide field.