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Rina Saeed Khan

Rina Saeed Khan is a Lahore-based freelance journalist, specialising in the environment and development issues. She began her career in journalism in 1992 when she joined The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first independent English weekly newspaper, where she served as Features Editor until 1998. Rina writes a weekly column on the environment called Earthly Matters for Dawn, Pakistan’s largest circulation English-language national daily.

Rina has been published in The Independent, The Guardiantwice, Web Islam (Spanish) and Gara (Spanish).

Journalism by Rina Saeed Khan

Headteacher faces down the Taliban


'Educate one girl and you educate a household' teacher Gul-e-Khandana saved her school from the Taliban - Muhammed Furqan | Panos London

Gul-e-Khandana, headteacher of a girls’ school in rural Pakistan, challenged the Taliban soldiers who came to destroy her school. Our journalist Rina speaks to her about the importance of educating girls.

A passion for cricket teaches valuable lessons


Children play cricket at the Sheffield Grammar School in Pakistan - Tim Smith | Panos Pictures

Maimoona’s school has organised a sports week, something that normally happens at expensive private schools in Pakistan. She blogs about the benefits of the event for her young students.

Amazing success for controversial school


In the hallway between classes - Carolyn Drake | Panos Pictures

Maimoona rejoices as every one of the students in her school passes their exams – a rare accomplishment that is boosting their reputation.

The chance to perform


School girls dance and sing during music lessons at St. Theresa's School - Warrick Page | Panos Pictures

Maimoona discusses how the recent Annual Day celebrations in Pakistan have brought together local families and their children.

We need to talk about our children


Students in the village of Panchkasi walk about 5km every day to get to the nearest government primary school - Zackary Canepari | Panos Pictures

As Maimoona laments another student whose education has come to an end prematurely, she reflects on the importance of teachers and parents communicating well for the benefit of the children.

Better cotton, better for farming communities


Two farmers stand beside the first crop of 'Better Cotton' in 2010 - Better Cotton Initiative

The pesticides used to treat cotton has been causing health problems for farmers in Pakistan, but the Better Cotton Initiative has a real solution.

School books are being priced out of reach


A student heads home with his books from the Mohripur Government Primary School. The school has no desks and no electricity - Zackary Canepari | Panos Pictures

Maimoona tells us about rising book prices hitting the poorest students at her school and how some families struggle to cope. What would you do to support a school child in need?

Lucky few study beyond high school


Rina Saeed Khan | Panos London

Once they complete their Matriculation exams, most of the children in Maimoona’s school, especially the boys, have to find work.

The real face of Pakistan


A man walks by a cinema signboard being painted for a Pakistani film in Lahore - Zackary Canepari | Panos Pictures

Rina Saeed Khan discusses the state of Pakistan from the inside – from the Taliban and ‘Halal’ police to café culture and boy bands.

People hope for change as elections approach


Maimoona teaching her class - Rina Saeed Khan | Panos London

We are not as politically aware, we mostly watch Pakistan state TV and there is not too much news on this channel. But even though the people are not following the news avidly, there is uncertainty in the air. And people do want change now.

School’s irrigation is fighting hepatitis


Constructed wetland for bioremediation - Rina Saeed Khan | Panos London

The stagnant pool of water would last for days and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It was especially hazardous for the younger children and older guardians who came to drop and pick up the children. There had been instances when they would fall into the dirty water.

Boarding over the holidays


Students outside of their classroom at the Mohripur Government Primary School - Zackary Canepari | Panos Pictures

On December 25 we plan to celebrate Quaid-e-azam day. It means “father of the nation” and commemorates the birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of our country. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but we do teach the children the importance of international events and special days.

“An educated child can change a family’s destiny”


Maimoona teaching Class X - Rina Saeed Khan | Panos London

Maimoona wants to see Pakistani literacy rates to go up and to do this the government needs to encourage more female teachers to enter this profession at the primary level.

Maimoona, teaching rural children in Pakistan


Maimoona outside her class in Taxila - Maimoona Shahzadi | Panos London

Maimoona reflects on returning to her old school and supporting vulnerable children to lead the best lives they can.

Next steps for the Noor Education Trust


A woman walks home caught in in a monsoon storm in Dhaka.

My NGO, the Noor Education Trust, is going through a transitional phase. My staff have spent the last two weeks in the field assessing the main violence related issues for women. They are also looking at the differences our programmes have made and collecting data.

Kidnapped and forced to marry


Through her NGO, Zubaida Noor, our blogger in Pakistan, is helping a woman who was kidnapped by her parents and forced to marry against her will.

Pakistan: land bought for flood victims


A couple stands in a new house built with help from Czech NGO People in Need. Zubaida Noor's NGO is also building homes for flood victims.

The monsoon season has started now and finally we have made some progress in buying land for people who lost their homes in last year’s flood.

Ramadan brings food for the poor


Zubaida Noor's charity provides food to hundreds of households during Ramadan

August is the month of Ramadan and we have a lot of activities going on. We give out food packages to around 400 households. These include dry food and goat meat.

Pakistan: outcry against stoning


In some Taliban-controlled areas of Pakistan women have been flogged and even stoned for violating Taliban laws

My NGO has recently become involved in the case of a woman who was stoned to death in Bairoch, a village in Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Bombings become a way of life


The remains of car damaged by a roadside bomb

Three members of staff in my NGO were injured in last Friday’s attack on US diplomats in Peshawar. The Taliban attacked two US Consulate cars near our office. My staff members were in their own car, crossing the road about 12 feet away when the car bomb went off.

Preparing for glacier disaster


Rina Saeed Khan explores a climate change project designed to protect Pakistani mountain villages from glacier collapse.

Tackling violence against women in Bangladesh


Towards the end of March I travelled to Bangladesh to visit a one-stop crisis centre focusing on violence against women. Members of the Pakistani government and health department came with me, along with a group of police. We learnt a lot.

Building to start on new homes for flood victims


My NGO originally planned to build around 40 one-room houses for the flood-hit community of Sehra Sang village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who have been living living in tents for the last seven months. Now we have revised this figure down to just 17 houses.

Flood victims still in tents six months on


Last week I personally went to visit Sehra Sang, a remote, flood-hit village in the sub-district of Tangi.

The area, which is located near a tributary of the River Swat, was cut off after the floods and has only now re-opened for cars. There is a small community of around 75 households living here.

No cash for flood-proof homes


I spent this morning at a TV studio, discussing women’s issues on a morning show on Khyber TV. Most women don’t want to appear on television in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province so they are always short of people to interview! This is a women-specific morning show and deals with women’s empowerment, with positive imaging of women….

Women have to fight for property rights


There is a big issue over property rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. They don’t give land ownership to women here. Women have to fight legal battles and settle their claims through the courts. This is something I have been doing at work and in my personal life as well! We have recently been involved in…

Bitter weather bites in Pakistan flood camps


Andrew McConnell - Panos Pictures

This year’s Eid break was very quiet for me. We didn’t celebrate Eid as a family because my former husband had recently passed away. According to our culture, whenever a family member dies you observe mourning for 40 days. My husband had had a dependency problem with drugs and was found dead one morning. We had…

Human traffickers pay off the police


Another case my NGO is supporting these days involves a young girl who once worked for us. This is a really tragic case – the girl was abducted and killed by some Afghans who we suspect are linked to a human trafficking gang operating in Peshawar. Kidnapping is quite common in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province these…

The location of our shelter home was exposed


The whole of last week was very draining for me. I had to deal with several crisis situations that have arisen around our shelter home in Peshawar for women who are victims of abuse. For a start, the location of our shelter was exposed. We’ve tried to keep it a secret from the authorities for…

Flood-proof homes just don’t exist


Just before the Eid holidays started at the end of Ramadan I went with my team to the flood hit areas of Nowshera to distribute food to around 1000 families we had previously selected. It was a three-day effort and we travelled from village to village with the truck, loaded with food. Perhaps it would…

My personal turmoil inspired me


I first started working in development in the mid 80s when Afghan refugees started arriving in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion. I began working at the International Red Cross where I helped establish a women’s project. It was my own personal turmoil at home that inspired me to do something on my own to help…

Pakistan floods: what the future holds


Neighbourly action in Pakistan's Charsadda district prevented the floods from being an even greater disaster. But what trouble does climate change spell for the region's future?

Diplomatic tip-toeing gives way to strong words at Bonn


“It will be tragic, a holocaust… I warn all the world that it will be at the expense of one billion people. We can’t afford to lose the battle.”

The glacier that buried a village


Scientists fear mountain glaciers are melting faster than ever as a result of rising temperatures, leading to fears that glacial lakes are becoming dangerously unstable. For Chitral village in Pakistan's Hindu Kush mountain range this has already spelled disaster.