OKARA: A German artist, teacher, graphic designer and philanthropist who imparted doll-making skill to some village girls nearly 30 years ago was honoured here on Sunday.
In a surprise visit to Thattaha Ghulamka Diheroka, some 28km away in the north of the city, Dr Senta Maria Anna Siller, 86, laid foundation stone of Senta Sillar School of Home Economics in a function arranged by Anjuman-i-Falah-i-Aama (AFA) headed by Rai Amjad Ali who had been a student of her in a school in Bonn, Germany.
Dr Senta who came to Pakistan in 1991 on the invitation of Amjad, recalled when she visited Diheroka some 31 years ago, there was no electricity, dispensary, clean water and approach road.
Seeing the living of poor village women, she planned to do something for their economic uplift. She said a doll-making project was started with six village girls. She remained here for 14 years till 2007, with occasional visits to Germany. During this span of time hundreds of girls were trained in making dolls.
She said the girls and women of this village developed confidence and started visiting abroad for sale of nearly 80 varieties of dolls, ranging from 20 to 50 centimetres.
She said with the passage of time, the artisans were able to reflect Pakistan’s culture of Sindhi, Makrani, Balochi, Kalashi and Kashmiri in their works.
AFA President Amjad Ali said Dr Sent helped establish four women centres, a school, a dispensary and two kilometre long approach road up to the doll centre through MNA Sayyed Sajjad Haider (late).
He said the dolls made here were available in cultural shops of Japan, Germany, USA and the United Nations.
The women arts centre of the village was named after Senta Sillar Design Centre.
Earlier, dozens of village women and her students welcomed Dr Senta. She hugged every one with motherly sentiments.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022