Speaking Out Against the Fear: An Interview with ‘13 LEADer Saniya

2013 LEADer Saniya shares how her time at Women LEAD as a LEADer and an intern has helped her become fearless.

saniya
2013 LEADer, Saniya.

Saniya (2013 LEADer) is not a girl one would describe as “shy.” In person, and one-on-one conversations, she exudes a confidence that is almost indescribable. Whenever she is up in front of a room, she not only fills it with her positive energy, but commands it.

Three years ago, as she was contemplating why she wanted to join Women LEAD, Saniya could not as confidently articulate the issues that today she is so passionate about. In an interview with Women LEAD, Saniya talked about several incidents of sexual harassment she had faced until that point in her life. “The incidents of sexual harassment that I faced in different phases of my life had left me mentally traumatized and disturbed for quite a long time until I made it to Women LEAD,” she recounts. “At first, the only reason was to take the fear out, rooted beneath me.”

But at Women LEAD, Saniya found a safe place where she could confront the tough issues that had once held her back. “The sessions on violence against women, self-defense, and time management were really helpful,” she says. “They helped me understand that I am not only the victim of harassment and many other types of violences that prevail in the society. Moreover, to say ‘NO’ is the biggest self-defense that I have ever learned.”

“Girls, if ‘we care,’ then ‘we do’ and if ‘we do,’ who knows what surprises might come out. All we have to do is give it a try. We can change the world one day.”

Soon, Saniya began to find out just how powerful she could be. Through the School Leadership Program, Saniya helped younger, high school students find their voice by leading similar sessions on the same topics. After her graduation, she went on to become a Leadership Institute Intern in the summer of 2015. “Interning at Women LEAD was a great accomplishment for me that I am really proud of,” says Saniya. “The responsibilities carried out during the three months of internship made me stronger, caring and motivating others.The 2015 batch of LEADers are the results of our hard-work, which I am proud to say I was a part of.” When the devastating 2015 earthquake shook Nepal, Saniya helped distribute 54 mosquito repellent nets in Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst-affected districts.

Today, Saniya continues to be a role model in her community as she pursues a degree in law. As for the next generation of young women in Nepal, Saniya has some words of wisdom.

“Never hesitate to speak out. The more you share, the more you learn, and the more you grow,” she says. “Girls, if ‘we care,’ then ‘we do’ and if ‘we do,’ who knows what surprises might come out. All we have to do is give it a try. We can change the world one day.”

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