A Candid Conversation with the Remarkable Manizeh Bano
Sahil Foundation is a well-known organization which has tremendously contributed to the society in creating awareness to stop all manner of child abuse. Not only has this organization done its best to protect children but has also provided hope and a new beginning to many battered victims. After years of incredible hard work and persistence today Sahil is a nationwide child protection organization. It has a main head office in Islamabad and regional offices in Lahore, Abbotabad, Sukkur and Jafferabad. Recently team YOLO had the opportunity to have a conversation with Manizeh Bano the Executive Director Sahil Foundation and this is what she has to say to our readers.
Where did you spend your childhood? Please share some of your fondest childhood memories?
I grew up in Karachi I remember it being a very safe and vibrant city. I remember playing in the streets and walking to my friend’s house. Karachi was a very clean and modern city as it was considered the economic hub of the country. I have some wonderful memories of the beach.
How did the Sahil Foundation come into existence?
Sahil was founded by my youngest daughter Anoushey Hussain at the age of 19. She along with her friends decided to talk about all manner of child abuse as no over ever talked about this topic back then. Consequently Sahil was registered in 1996.
How many people have benefited from this organization?
Some 13.4 million people have benefitted from Sahil which includes our media exposures and interaction trainings for school teachers. Sahil daily monitors national,regional and local newspapers at its Head Office and 4 Regional Offices to collect data on Child Sexual Abuse, Abduction and early forced marriage cases. Cruel Numbers is published annually of these statistics.
Please share with us what kind of difficulties Sahil Foundation has faced over the years?
Sahil has faced a lot of difficulties as initially it was objectionable to talk about such an unthinkable topic. Therefore Legal cases were setup to hinder our progress. However, today the society has changed for good as people are more informed and aware.
How can an average person (citizen) help the Sahil Foundation?
Everyone should know and understand what abuse is and how it affects children. Everyone should take the responsibility of protecting children.
Do you agree to the idea that early childhood experiences lay at the root of most of the challenges which our society faces today?
All childhood experiences will lead to the foundation of the character of an individual. If you are putting children down by giving them low self- esteems. If you provoke your children to anger and even want them to pursue careers of your choice. Then one should expect a society comprising of frustrated individuals.
How many well-known personalities or celebrities have offered support to this organization?
None expect for Fariha Altaf who has recently emerged as a strong support by introducing a whole channel of activists to Sahil.
What is your message for the Pakistani youth?
My message for the youth is that everyone should understand what abuse does to children and then take the responsibility to protect a child.
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