Inauguration of the Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla

27 May 2024

The Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla, an all-girls hostel located in the Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan was inaugurated by Princess Zahra Aga Khan on 24 May 2024.

Inauguration of the Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla Inauguration of the Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla Inauguration of the Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla
The event was also attended by Princess Zahra’s son, Mr Iliyan Boyden, representatives from the local government and the Aga Khan Development Network, Ismaili local, regional and national council leadership, donors, students, and staff. It featured a performance by students, a speech by Imtiaz Momin, the CEO of the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES), Pakistan, unveiling of the inauguration plaque, a tour of the hostel and student and staff interactions.  

The Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla will provide its boarders with a safe, nurturing and academically engaging residential environment. Neighbouring the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School (AKHSS), Sherqilla, the hostel will enable its more than 100 female students to access quality higher secondary education they might not otherwise receive due to the remote valleys around Gilgit-Baltistan they hail from, such as Yasin, Ishkoman, Gupis and Puniyal. 

The newly built hostel features comfortable dorms, a dining hall providing healthy and nutritious meals, recreation areas, common rooms with digital display screens, and spacious balconies, which are all accessible for children with disabilities. A multi-purpose hall for indoor activities is also available, along with a space for students to paint, draw or sketch.  

Speaking at the event, Mr Imtiaz reflected on the effort invested by the local community to make the hostel possible.  

“Today, this dream is a reality thanks to the generosity of spirit shown by the people of Sherqilla,” he said.  

He went on to highlight the importance of the hostel and its relevance to the region.  

“...connectivity remains a challenge in Gilgit-Baltistan, as does the availability of good higher secondary provisions in remote areas of the region,” he said. “The critical role of residential provisions like this hostel becomes apparent in making educational facilities available to a greater number of people.”  

The Aga Khan Hostel, Sherqilla is the third of its kind run by AKES, Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan. AKES, Pakistan also manages 154 schools, providing quality education to over 55,000 students, of which 50 percent are female. 

Saba Nasir is a Grade 11 student at AKHSS, Sherqilla and stays in the hostel. Originally from Ishkoman valley, Saba was the emcee for the inauguration ceremony of the hostel and believes the school and hostel have provided her with various opportunities to strengthen her leadership and confidence skills. 

“I have been living away from home since I was 13-years-old, but never before have I felt as safe and comfortable as I do here at the hostel,” Saba said. “There is a strong sense of community since all of us attend the same school, and several avenues to partake in extracurricular and recreational activities as well.” 

Photos (top to bottom):
  • Princess Zahra and Mr Iliyan were greeted with a bouquet of flowers upon their arrival to the hostel.
  • Students performed for the guests at the inauguration of the hostel.
  • Imtiaz Momin, CEO of AKES, Pakistan, addressing the guests at the event.
  • Princess Zahra, Mr Iliyan and guests revealed a plaque to commemorate the inauguration of the hostel.