Ms Shafina Iqbal Interview

An Interview took place with Shafina Iqbal, on our WhatsApp-Based group called Women Rights and Sexual Minorities. Shafina Iqbal is a housewife, mother, as well as being actively involved in the community. She was married at very young age which restricted her from continuing her education. However, she is a proud mother who takes credit for children having done so well in obtaining a good education and securing jobs.

Shafina has been working in the community for long time, she has been involved with many projects. Currently, she is running a mental health group which is called Sukoon. She is not receiving funding for this group but her passion for working with women who are suffering from mental health difficulties has never faded. This group provides solace comfort, overall warm and friendly environment where women can approach her and her team without any fear of being judged or being ridiculed. This group is run once a week and they provide different activities and meal at an affordable price. Shafine takes pride in being an important part of community and hoping to do this as long as she can.

Shafine also shared her experience with the community. she has experienced that Asian women have lot of mental health issues which are not cared with professional help at the right time because of the stigma attached to it. She also believes that some women are not willing to change their lives as they lack the motivation to bring the positive change in their life.

We were very pleased to have her in our group and warmly welcomed her.

Razia Sultana Junejo: welcomed in the group Shafine, please tell us about yourself.

Shafina Iqbal: Salam, my name is Shafina I am a housewife, mother to 3 children and also run a women's mental health group which is in a diverse community. Having worked with these wonderful women I have learnt how mental health especially within the Asian community is seen as a taboo subject. Thankfully, as time evolved slowly but surly more and more women are coming forward for mental health support. My group and I provide solace comfort and overall warm and friendly environment where the women can approach us without any fear of being judged or ridiculed. Every Tuesdays I carry out different tasks arts and crafts with these women, in addition to providing warm home cooked meals which is prepared on the day. We have recently worked together and created a beautiful mosaic which was awarded a first price at the women's neighbourhood event. I enjoy taking time out to help my women to keep them busy and most importantly happy. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to message me

Allah Bakhsh: Nice to hear from you. Thanks for addition of Shafina.

Razia Sultana Junejo: No worries

Marui Soomoro: Welcome Shafina, Nice to see you and doing very appreciable work.

Razia Sultana Junejo: How did you choose to work in mental health field?

Shafina Iqbal: Through personal experience while helping a friend out, she inspired me. My friend had no friends no family to help her and her kids were also small. So I use to go to her house a lot and talk to her.

Razia Sultana Junejo: That's really good, Shafina that people like you are making a difference in the community.

Shafina Iqbal: Thank you.

Razia Sultana Junejo: What kind of mental health issues she had?

Shafina Iqbal: She had depression, schizophrenia and she was also suffering from paranoia.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Right, I myself came in this field, because one of my best friend committed suicide.

Shafina Iqbal: How did you cope with it?

Razia Sultana Junejo: Well, I went for counselling.

 Shafina Iqbal: Ok

Razia Sultana Junejo: My kids were very young so I had to deal with emotional side in effective way.  I read somewhere how someone dealt with their loss, by crying once a day and not effect on other day to day things.

Shafina Iqbal: That what many women do we do not show our emotions. That’s how many of my clients deal with it.

Razia Sultana Junejo: So whenever I remember her, I took time out and remembered her, cried and told myself that this will not affect rest of the day for that day. Acha but Shafina it is good to show your emotions. Talk to someone close to or go to counselling. How do feel, when you observe that there are not many places available like yours in the community?

Shafine Iqbal: There were lot but because of funding had to close down, it is not good my client want the group to run a couple a day. Not just one day.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Yes, it problems, it is hard to get funding.

Shafina Iqbal: I agree with it being a problem

Razia Sultana Junejo: When did you start this work?

Shafina Iqbal: Last august

Razia Sultana Junejo: What do you think, what kind of issues women are facing in Bolton community.

Shafina Iqbal: Confidence, being uneducated. Living with extended families to many responsibilities.

Ali Palh: Hi shafina welcome to the group.

Shafina Iqbal: Thank you

Ali Palh: any difference between mental level and capacity to bear trauma of men and women? is it social or natural, what factors are involved? thanks, Razia for exposing us overtime to new resources and experts

Shafina Iqbal: Many are social, Many of my clients where traumatised by the families and friends. Some had good jobs but undermined.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Funny thing she shared with me that it took three years for her own husband to get use to the idea that she is speaking with men.

 Shafina Iqbal: The are a lot men with mental health in Bolton.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Through her work.

Shafina Iqbal: There is no difference between men and women.

Ali Palh: through our case experience we realize mental stability depends on circumstance and power.

 Shafina Iqbal: In mental health, as both scared and vulnerable

Ali Palh: secondly, we realize through family cases that female beat more stress through compromise and adoption.

 Shafina Iqbal: It does but it also people are stigmatised and then hide feelings. .

Ali Palh: recommendation: when women or men are in stress they must avoid make decisions -this will lead to disaster - they both see counsellor and then decide. is, that, right?

Razia Sultana Junejo: Those are very difficult life situations to deal with, but end of the day, we need to deal with every situation uniquely.

  Shafina Iqbal: Yes, agree to that. That easy say Ali. People must admit I they have problem first then they can accept the help.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Yes

Shafina Iqbal: Each of my client are individuals. I gave them my full attention when I am with them.

Razia Sultana Junejo: Ali, here in these kind of situations, court provide reconciliation service, which is free of charge.

On that point we ended the interview.

We are very grateful for her time with us.


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