ISLAMABAD  - Survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) on Friday performed in a theatre play ‘Inspiring Change’ organised by Aurat Foundation under USAID supported Gender Equity Programme (GEP).
"It was like telling our story to the world. We did not have to act," said Warda, a survivor of acid attack, who performed on the stage for the first time. "I enjoyed doing this play thoroughly. We appreciate the organisers for providing us with this opportunity," she added.
The performance was themed around social mindset that terms domestic violence a private matter. Theatrical performance by GBV survivors was the result of intensive training and rehearsals with GBV survivors conducted by Director Interactive Resource Centre Muhammad Waseem and choreographer Imran Nafees.
"It took us fifteen days to prepare for this play. The GBV survivors were incredible in all sense. We are also impressed with the level of confidence they have displayed," said Director Interactive Resource Center Muhammad Waseem. 
Combating GBV is one of the four main objectives of GEP. To meet this objective, GEP supported private shelters for psychosocial counselling and economic rehabilitation of GBV survivors. Under this initiative, GEP provided support to 12 private shelters, 954 women took refuge in these shelters, 598 were rehabilitated and 1,870 were trained for economic rehabilitation under 94 trainings.
Rehabilitation centres applied many innovative techniques to rehabilitate the GBV survivors.  One such technique was drama therapy which was meant to combine theatre techniques and choreography with psychological intervention method.
To further rehabilitate and encourage the GBV survivors and highlight their resolve to live and contribute as useful citizens, the GEP team decided to involve the GBV survivors trained under different GEP projects, in its main events.
The theatrical performance on IWD was part of the same effort. It provided GBV survivors of Dastak and Acid Survivors Foundation with an opportunity to exhibit their talent besides further rehabilitating them. At the end, anchorperson Qurat-ul-Ain Ali distributed certificates among the survivors. She said that In Pakistan, GBV is a complex issue and major forms of violence are considered private matter, as it occurs in the family.
"When women have confidence in their selves, no one can stop them from perusing their dreams," she said.