Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Assalam Alaikum. Peace be upon you all
Today was an exciting day for me as I got the opportunity to attend a Tedx talk in my city.
I’ve watched alot of Ted talks, both official and independently run, because it feels great to know that there are people in this world who are driven and committed to serving and helping out those in need and making the world a better place. In addition, such talks are so empowering that it gives me the motivation and encouragement to achieve things and have an impact similar to what they have done (which has a physical symptom of making me feel weirdly light in the tummy). The theme of the event is ‘Heroes Of Life’.
I had to fill an online form where I had to tell them a bit about myself, where I included my hobbies, social work I was involved in and this blog. I was so excited when I was selected along with 139 other people to attend the event from amongst 800+ applicants.
The event took place at a public library at Aiwan-e-Quaid in Fatima Jinnah Park.
The sculpture above shows the Founders of our Nation which show Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (if I’m correct), on the exact left followed by Allama Iqbal, Muhammad Ali Jinnah or Quaid-e-Azam and then Fatima Jinnah. The people on the right are the people, majorly consisting of Muslims, that had to migrate from India to newly-formed Pakistan in 1947.
I told the registration person to write Contentment in What makes me happy. He didn’t seem to get it so I told him to write Satisfaction. Close enough.
The above picture shows the stage where our speakers spoke. Don’t worry, the boxes were glued together so they didn’t fall.
Saad Hamid, one of the main organisers of this event. He gave a nice funny introduction where he made sure that we were each sitting near people that we did not know. I was already sitting with people I didn’t know, although I was talking to them for quite a while before he came on stage. The people seated on the left side of the stage were mostly sitting with people they knew and they took a while to re-arrange themselves.
He also emphasised on spreading love and celebrating each others’ successes rather than degrading them.
Sara Saeed – Healthcare Entrepreneur
Sara Saeed is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sehat Kahani. She won many awards like The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. She started off with saying that Pakistan has 60% of female doctors amongst with 23% leave their jobs once they get married. This unfortunate culture is called ‘Doctor-Bride’ culture where families encourage (sometimes force) girls to become doctors not because of the nobility and humility of the profession, but because the status of the doctor is high enough to secure good husbands, quoting an example from her own life as well. In addition, once women get married, their in-laws do not allow them to work.
In order to tackle that, she began an initiative where technology could be used to connect women doctors at home to patients in different areas of Pakistan and provide quality medical guidance and treatment. This can allow them to work at home easily while reducing the patient-doctor ratio in Pakistan. She plans to carry this initiative internationally.
She said that she’s not actually working as a doctor but as a social entrepreneur. Her family doesn’t understand what it means.
Dr. Ejaz Ahmed Khan – Associate Professor and Disaster Management Specialist
Dr Ejaz works in the field of public health and has special interest in preventing and managing trauma and injuries. He was part of the disaster management team during the 2005 earthquake. He talked about how there was no team available so doctors like him were chosen who had no experience in disaster management so it was hard from the start. But once they sat together, made a plan and proposal and implemented on it, their worries went away. They managed a hospital in Abottabad (or Muzafarabad, I don’t remember exactly) when patients were being treated out in the open. In addition, he had to communicate for supplies and more workers with limited resources.
At the end, he advised us to know basic first aid like CPR and TRIAGE. TRIAGE is where we must know how to differentiate between two or more patients that who is in a more critical state and who can be saved to ensure that the probability of lives saved is high even if we don’t have proper medical education.
Irfan Ullah Wazir – Wheelchair Tennis Champion
Irfan is a satellite engineer by profession. After an accident involving a car tire bursting, he developed a spinal cord injury. But he didn’t let that get in his way and he pursued many sports such as basketball, cricket and tennis, which he plays at a national and international level. In addition, he goes out and encouraging all disabled people to take part in sports because one shouldn’t focus on what people say when they say that something is not possible. Anything is possible as long as you put an effort into it.
Representative of ICRC
After the first three talks, the representative of ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) stood up and said a few words about the organisation, as it was sponsoring this event. ICRC began its work from the early years of formation of Pakistan and focuses on providing relief and aid to poverty stricken and disaster-effected people. Amongst many things he said, he ended his statement by letting us know that ICRC is an international organisation and doesn’t have a vast outreach in Pakistan, but the people of Pakistan can contribute their hard work and skill to support these people in an even more effective way.
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Our name tags had dots made on the back side. Some had one dot, some had two and some had three. I had two dots. During the break, the host told us that we had 20-25 minutes to find people who had the same dots as we had and introduce ourselves to them, describe ourselves in 3 words and tell them our ideas. I found a few people with same dots as me, but there were so many people so I decided to mingle with random groups of people, no matter how many dots they had.
There were so many kinds of people. There were medical students, DPT students, medical graduates, researchers, HR consultants, financial advisors, Businesses and People developers, a worker in Doctors without Borders, a Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist who’s also skilled in Reiki, chemical engineers, NUST students in engineering and business schools, videographers/filmatographers, comedians, journalists, workers in the British Council and so many more. Some people I had come across in the Facebook group specifically for attendees of this group so I would mention that to them which made them very happy. I took a couple of their cards for future references. They were all so interesting, motivated, skilled and exciting people.
Sharmeen Khan – Psychologist
Sharmeen Khan is a psychologist who has been involved in disaster relief and rehabilitation since 2005. She has worked in areas affected by floods, earthquakes, droughts, heatwaves, bomb blasts, and terror attacks. She started off with telling us to close our eyes and imagine that we’re riding in a car uphill, feeling the cold rushing wind, engulfing the scent of the pine trees. When suddenly the stench of flesh fills the senses.
She described her experiences in disaster relief, how helping so many people for so many days would make her forget how people in the cities could live so comfortably as if nothing bad had happened. She would look in the mirror only after days of working and such work would take a toll on her. But she enjoyed it immensely. She runs a volunteer organisation, Resettling the Indus, that aims to empower communities through a self-sustaining process, without disturbing the indigenous cultures and lifestyles.
Her Talk was one of the best talks of the day, and it seemed like her voice was cracking a bit during her Talk, which made me like her more as it was clear that this was an area that was special to her and she was passionate about.
Orooj-e-Zafar – Spoken Word Poet
Orooj e Zafar is a final year medical student at Shifa, non-binary, i.e does not wish to be identified as male or female, and a Spoken Word poet ( they were a judge during the Spoken Word event at SIST which I mentioned in a previous blog post). They’re also part of a comedy troupe called Aurat Naak and have written a poetry book called ‘Heart the size of a Loosening Fist’ which will be released through Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, and ‘Home and Other Debris’ which has already been published.
Their Talk started off by talking about a guy named M who was the only dark skinned person in a family of fair skinned people. He was an exceptional person but was not considered so by his family. Later on, when he grew up, he met Orooj and played a monumental role in their life. He encouraged them and motivated them when they didn’t feel like they deserved it. Eventually, he raped them and disgraced her in front of their family and leaving the deep imprinted label on them that they are broken.
They went through severe depression and eating disorder and tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, they picked themselves up and no longer started putting the hate of M on themselve and on their body. One of the strong statements they said was, “I’m not a victim. He is a rapist. Call the monster what it is.”
One of their last strong statements was “There are three most beautiful words in the English language. It’s not ‘I love you’ (the audience laughed)……………….It’s ‘I BELIEVE YOU’. I believe in you all, and most importantly, I believe in me”
Their Talk was also one of the best Talks of the event. Then they read out two poems from their new book which was a conversation between their depressed self and their depression. So like, depression explaining depression what it’s like to be depressed. Yep, a bit confusing but when you hear them speak, it’s crystal clear.
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After the Talks, we all took a group photo and were each given a box from the stack of boxes. We also took a few pamphlets and books that were displayed.
Overall, I had an amazing time. There were so many inspiring people, both on and off stage and I learnt so much from them. Such people give me an extended view on life, the troubles that are present but also the infinitely more possibilities of making it better. I have the intention of being a psychiatrist or neurologist/neurosurgeon in the future but by listening to the TEDxTalks and many other talks, such as SIST Talks, I develop a lot more goals in life such as taking part in disaster management, opening up shelters where poor people can be given free food and accommodation, starting workshops where people can be encouraged to be whatever they want to be because our country and the world needs diverse people with diverse ideas working in diverse professions.
Let us all follow, support and empower those visible and hidden Heroes of Life that sacrifice their today for our tomorrow, wherever they may be in the world, and let’s not complain about the life we live and the troubles in the world when all we have to do to fight these troubles is to climb over the hill of the negative thoughts of self-doubt, negativity, hopelessness and ego.
May our Ideas Worth Spreading shine bright.