There are certainly a lot of people who feel empathetic about the taboo issues present in our society. Still, you may find a few who actually gather courage to step forward and help in creating awareness of these matters. Laraib Abid is one such name who has gained popularity for striving to improve the general well-being of people dwelling in Pakistan. Her efforts led her to lay the foundation of a non-profit company, Mashal. This organization sheds light on the importance of equal health rights, and also puts emphasis on the need of people to express their fears and concerns.
The Journey towards Leadership
Laraib Abid graduated with a degree in Social and Socio-cultural studies from the University of Punjab. She also studied Sociology from the Emporia State University. It was the time when she made up her mind to address the countless issues which embed a voiceless fear in people. Her first step in this direction led her to successfully administer the “My Rights, My Voice” campaign that was organized by Oxfam Novib. This campaign revolved around creating awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and here Laraib gained a platform to speak about the different health issues that are considered as “taboo topics” in the Pakistani society.
Fortunately, her efforts were well-recognized and in 2016, she was endowed with a position among 200 women leaders by Women Deliver – a leading global advocate for the health, rights and well-being of women. Following this, she was invited to Denmark with the request to share her work globally. Laraib was awarded a cash prize in 2017 by the UN Women who selected her idea of strengthening the safety of women. Moreover, her ideas and campaigns were so brilliant that they helped her gain a spot in the pool of Young Talent in the UNLEASH Innovation Lab.
Not just this, Laraib was certified twice by the US State Department for her ideas and unique implementations. In addition, the International Rescue Club presented a “Youth Icon” award to the young leader, whereas Samaa TV has termed her as “Hero of Pakistan”.
She was also invited to a peace festival in India as a representative of Pakistan. Her most-recent achievements include the title of “Emerging Young Woman Leader”, awarded by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies. The list of her commendable social work is never-ending, and this year she continued to break through the stereotypes by launching her own organization, Mashal.
Spread Positivity, Be a ‘Mashal’
There are so many people who live below the poverty line and lack awareness of their sexual health rights along with suffering from little or no education, shelter and even food. People tend to avoid talking about sexual problems, which eventually lead to horrible consequences. In order to lead a quality life, it is essential that everyone gains ample knowledge and access to proper resources to handle taboo issues with ease.
Mashal means “source of light” in Arabic, and this is what the non-profit organization strives to be – a source of light to all those who find themselves engulfed in helpless situations provoked by the society. The purpose of creating this company is to empower all genders for breaking stereotypes, promoting inter and intra-faith harmony, educating. It also focused on training individuals about discriminations and reshaping their perceptions towards different genders and religions. Mashal runs several projects and campaigns to struggle for the rights of indigenous people and local cultures. It also strives to win equal rights for the poor as well as women, transgenders and other minorities.
Due to her endeavors under the umbrella of Mashal by Laraib has emerged as one of the winners of 120 under 40 – a forum that recognizes and highlights the achievements of family planning and reproductive health leaders from around the world.
Do you think you can be a “Mashal”? If yes, then take part in the cause by sharing an innovative idea with the team members, or by donating for charity events. Help the dream of a healthier society turn into a flourishing reality. Will you?