When a suicide bomber targeted a community in Swat, Pakistan, Maria Bibi’s life was torn apart. Her husband was killed in the horrific explosion. A few days later militants from the same group destroyed her children’s school in a second attack. Maria Bibi spiralled into a desperate traumatised condition. Her anxiety was so debilitating in the aftermath of these attacks that she banned her children from returning to school and retreated from the outside world, isolating herself and becoming weaker and weaker as lack of sleep and appetite took its toll.
Aware Girls, a peacebuilding group working within the community, became aware of the problems that Maria Bibi was facing. Salwa, a trauma healing counsellor from Aware Girls, helped Maria Bibi to come to terms with the horrific attacks and slowly she began to regain the confidence that the bombings had stripped from her. Her daughters went back to school, Salwa’s work inspired Maria Bibi to want to help others like herself and, slowly but surely, her life took shape again.
“When I lost my husband I thought my world had finished,” Maria Bibi said. “When I met with other women from my own community who had shared the same experiences, I learned to overcome the pain and start a new life.”
With Aware Girls’ help, Maria Bibi started her own support group so that local women could work together to protect and promote human rights in the community. She adds, “Now I have learned that there is so much in this world that I can celebrate, and so much I can do for my community in return.”
With your help, we can continue to develop initiatives with Aware Girls in Pakistan, providing women with the support networks they desperately need in overcoming such crises. Make a donation today.