About Perween Rahman

Perween Rehman, “Mother of Karachi”, In Service of Poor Worldwide

 Perween Rehman, quote,”There is no Enemy”, “It is circumstances that make people do, what people do“, unquote

Ghazala Akbar, a journalist said, quote, “Perween was a good soul, a plucky and feisty woman, who walked fearlessly where angels feared to tread”, unquote

Dr. Masuma Hasan, Chairman of,  Pakistan Institute of International Affairs and the President of the Board of Governors of Aurat Foundation, said, quote, “Slender, almost frail, with her hair down to her waist, her captivating smile and melodious voice, Perween Rehman was a legend in her lifetime. Sensitive, professionally meticulous and committed,” unquote.

Ghazi Salahuddin, a journalist, said,  quote, “Rehman represented hope in the city,” unquote.

SAFCO, civil activists and president Mr. Suleman Abro, said, quote, “Rehman’s killing is a serious attempt to demoralise the forces of peace and development, unquote.”

Zara Rehman, said, quote, “When nobody cared about them or even stopped to look at them, she gave them her hand, when they had no hope or a chance to survive, she helped them regain their strength and, taught them to have faith in themselves, when all they got was disappointment, she gave them the courage to start all over again, when nobody wanted to listen to them, she gave them a voice, when they would give up, she would give them a reason to try again. She gave them a reason to live, a reason to struggle, a reason to hope,”unquote.

Brief: Perween Rahman, was a Architect and Urban Planner. Joined, Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), in 1983, as Joint Director and managed the Sanitation and Housing programs. Since 1988, she has been Director of  Orangi Pilot Project – Research and Training Institute. Since 1983, she has been a visiting lecturer and taught Architecture and Urban Planning at the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology and now at the Karachi University. She is a founder member of the Non- Governmental Organization (NGO), Urban Resource Centre, Karachi and continued to guide and support their work till her last days.




13 March 2013

Cause of death





Orangi Pilot Project

Known for

Director of Orangi Pilot Project – Research and Training Institute


Perween Rahman was born in 1957 in Dhaka, then situated in East Pakistan. She moved to Pakistan as a teenager. She obtained a Bachelor of architecture in 1982 at the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology[2], and a postgraduate diploma in housing, building and urban planning in 1986 from the Institute of Housing Studies in Rotterdam. She worked at a private architecture firm before being recruited by Akhter Hameed Khan to become Joint Director of the Orangi Pilot Project in 1983, where she managed the housing and sanitation programmes.[3] In 1988, OPP was split in four organisations, and Perween Rahman became director of OPP-RTI (Orangi Pilot Project – Research and Training Institute), managing as well programmes in education, youth training, water supply and secure housing.[3]

In 1989, she founded the NGO Urban Resource Centre in Karachi[4] and was also part of the board of Saiban, another NGO dedicated to low-income housing, and OPP-OCT (Orangi Charitable Trust, the microfinance branch of OPP).

She was teaching at the University of KarachiNED UniversityIndus Valley School of Art and Architecture and Dawood College of Engineering and Technology.[5]


— 2013 – conferred March 23rd, Sitara- e –Shuja’at, Order of Bravery

– Honorary lifetime membership of the International Water Academy based in Oslo.[2]

– 2001 – Rotary Club Award for vocational services.[2]

– 2001 – World Habitat Awards winner (with OPP-RTI).

– 1997 – Faiz Foundation Award for community research[2]

– 1996 – UN-Habitat Best Practice (with OPP-RTI)[6

– 1994 – National Building Research Institute award for Housing[2]

– 1986 – Jaycees Award for community work[2]

– 1982 – Mehdi Ali Mirza award for Academic Excellence

Perween Rahman was a member of the Board of Directors of :

1.  NIPA




5. Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial Trust

6. URC

7. Member, Syndicate of Dawood College of Engineering and Technology

OPP’s methodology is taught at:

Northern academic institutions listed below:

  1. Harvard
  2.  MIT
  3. Berkeley
  4. University College London
  5. London School of Economics
  6. Institute of Housing Studies, Holland, wherein she assisted in the design of international courses in housing and planning

Southern academic institutions listed below:

  1. Sophia University, Japan
  2. Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok
  3. Osaka University


– Perween Rahman, 2009, Water Supply in Karachi, OPP-RTI

– Pervaiz, Perween Rahman & Arif Hasan, 2008, Lessons from Karachi: The role of demonstration, documentation, mapping and relationship building in advocacy for improved urban sanitation and water services (Vol. 6). Earthprint

– Perween Rahman, 2004, Katchi Abadis of Karachi: A survey of 334 Katchi Abadis

– Rahman, P., &  Rashid, A., 1992, Working With Community: Some Principles and Methods



  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21783304
  2. a b c d e f CV as Board member of Saiban, submitted to Homeless International
  3. a b IIED, Lessons from Karachi 2008 http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/10560IIED.pdf
  4. ^ Arif Hasan, The Urban Resource Centre Karachi http://www.urckarachi.org/URC%20Introduction%20Case%20Study%20by%20Arif%20Hasan.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/about/safe-world-blogs/andaleeb-rizvi/3790-parveen-rehman-rip.html
  6. ^ http://www.unhabitat.org/bp/bp.list.details.aspx?bp_id=3696


  1. I was going through Steve’s book ‘Instant City.’ I was checking the chapter covering Parween Rahman. I had to reread the paragraph where she left the firm without getting paid. I couldn’t get over with that move of hers. Then her entire life has been incredible. What a tragedy.

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