Sadaf Usman – Rejoicing Womanhood
From a poet, blogger, writer and social activist to a certified trainer. A mother of three daughters, Sadaf Usman celebrates womanhood at its best.
She did her masters in mass communication from Kinnaird College Lahore and continued her journey of learning by engaging with different learning platforms such as Coursera, Herself Program at PITB and also topped the ‘Train the young trainer’ program by the School of leadership Karachi.
Sadaf also started her own children’s designer wear label, Dija but due to increasing demands of motherhood and her passion for writing, she discontinued Dija and pursued her ultimate dream.
“I don’t consider myself an expert, in fact, I have come to realize that the more I learn, the less I know. So life is a learning process for me. However, my passion is writing and training and I believe that we should take up what comes naturally to us as that is where we are most likely to excel”
As a writer Sadaf believes that through words she is best able to express herself and make a difference. Her blog, is a platform through which she voices her opinion on different on going issues such as women rights, education, environment, peace and nuclear war. Sadaf is working on her own reading circle ‘For A Cause’ primarily for stay at home mothers, who rarely get the opportunity to participate in literary activities. Not just this, Sadaf aims to put forward the untold heart wrenching stories that reflects our society’s unfortunate realities through her book of anonymous stories, My Story Untold. It is a compilation of letters, stories, encounters, confessional notes that people have been unable to voice because of fear of judgments and lack of justice.
Besides this, her biggest commitment is as a trainer and program designer with SHE, through which they aim to celebrate womanhood in Pakistan by presenting the positive side of Pakistani women.
“Training is a challenging profession especially here in Pakistan but somehow, I end up exploring avenues that are unconventional and it excites me to wonder where they will take me. As a trainer I realized how rewarding it was to inspire, encourage and motivate people. The best part is that it works two ways; you listen as you speak so you end up motivating your own self too.”
While living in a predominantly male subjugated society, Sadaf is amongst the fortunate to have the support of her father and husband. With her work and life story, she not only represent a different Pakistani women but also throws light upon the Pakistani men who respect and appreciate woman.
There have been instances where she came across typical shallow mindsets but not so surprisingly it came from both the genders.
“To me, the challenges that women face come not just from men but from women too and that is also an area we really need to focus on when we talk about women empowerment; women supporting women.”
Her dedication and work shows that women are free to pursue their dreams and there is much more to their life than is typically believed. Her biggest aim is to break the stereotype about stay-at-home moms. Sadaf plays her part in contributing well to the society through her words, volunteering and her own ventures. Her book club is also an unconventional project that promotes women to be active in literary and intellectual activities, especially the mothers.
Moreover she beliefs that a lot of work needs to be done when it comes to rural areas and awareness about women rights. Sadly, we have confused culture with religion. Our culture in no way is a reflection of our religion as Islam is the biggest supporter and torchbearer for women rights. Sadaf emphasizes on understanding and promoting the true picture of women rights in Islam, from the stage of the birth of a daughter to her rights when it comes to marriage. Islam encompasses all aspects of enlightenment and empowerment when it comes to women rights.
“In many segments of the society, girl birth, education and marriage is still debated with misleading arguments conjured up in the name of religion.”
Sadaf Usman brings hope for all the women out there, her work and life delivers the message that being a woman is not a sign of weakness. Having faith in one self and the ability to believe in your dreams is all that matters.
“I want all women to know that they are all achievers in whatever capacity that they are in. Be a mother, a corporate professional or a cotton picker. The beauty of Pakistani women is that they still put their homes and children first, for they understand that it is the mother who makes a home. And while fulfilling that responsibility, they manage to pursue their dreams as well. My aspiration for Pakistani women is a society that celebrates and respects its women. For the women to have wisdom, flexibility, confidence and the drive to live to their full potential.”
Written by Zahra Abbas | Interview by Hammad Anwar