These initial experiences helped Farisa join a local civil society initiative to promote peace and social cohesion in violence prone communities. Her first work assignment took her to Korangi, a low income locality inhabited by Memon, Mohajir, and Bengali communities. She observed that children and youth needed trainings on anger and conflict management to prevent regular fights and clashes in the streets that were often given an ethnic angle. To address this, Farisa and her team organized fund raising events and cultural festivals in schools that celebrated Pakistan’s strength in diversity. She also mobilized and trained youth from Korangi to organize street theatre performances on social cohesion and encouraged children from different ethnic backgrounds to play together.
In 2018, Farisa was selected as one of the 50 youth activists from Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the ‘Capacity Building and Mentorship Trainings on Leadership, Negotiation and Communications Skills’ initiated by UNDP’s Youth Empowerment Programme. The trainings will help grassroots activists in learning the necessary skills and knowledge to upscale their existing community development projects by networking with relevant power actors, taking personal initiative (where required), and effectively communicating their message and achievements to target audiences. As a young activist, who acquired most of her skills through on ground learning, Farisa was pleased to go through a structured course on essential skills for development practitioners and youth leaders.
‘I was motivated by the passion to work for communities. I did not have the required skills to convey important messages to my audience or to effectively network with power brokers and change makers. This training has helped me in honing my communication and negotiation skills.’