In this very special conversation, Dr. Fatima Ali Haider shares about her personal tragedy and how it led her to start an organization to create a space for women and mothers to grieve in Pakistan. The toll of terrorism in clear and the impact of trauma cuts across cultures. This heartwarming conversation is further proof that the worldwide need for understanding trauma and creating access to mental health services is necessary. Listening to this brave and incredible woman will leave you inspired.
Fatima Ali Haider, a medical doctor and EMDR therapist by training, lost her husband and son in an incident of sectarian terrorism in 2013. Her personal experience and journey after the tragedy made her aware of those suffering in similar situations. Therefore, she co-founded an initiative in 2015 called ‘The Grief Directory’ that was intended to be a bridge of compassion between victims of terrorism in Pakistan who require support and individuals willing to offer it. Through this platform, she has reached out to countless victims of terrorism and their families across the boundaries of religion, sect or ethnicity, providing assistance in areas of health, education and emotional support. Other than directly working with the victims, Dr. Fatima has been conducting youth internship programmes from The Grief Directory’s platform for the last five years, training young college students on empathy, tolerance, acceptance, and resilience through in person meetings with victims and diversity tours. The programme has been well attended by young students, many of them women. In an effort towards countering terrorism and violent extremism in Pakistan, she regularly advocates for the rights of victims of terrorism in Pakistan including establishment of institutionalized mechanisms of support and state ownership on various platforms.
Dr. Fatima recently completed her master’s in Peace and Conflict from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and is now undertaking her Ph.D. there. She hopes to bring valuable lessons home to support those who have been marginalized due to religion, sect, and acts of violence.