The first session of “Bola Chali” series by My Voice Unheard took place at Kickstart Café, Lahore on Saturday October 28th, 2017. The ceremony started with the introduction of My Voice Unheard and “Bola Chali” series by the co-Founder Hammad Anwar. He explained the concept of “Bola Chali” which is an extension of My Voice Unheard , a digital media project that envisions highlighting stories from all spheres to life in order to create consciousness towards a counter- narrative around Pakistani lives. Inspired by the tradition of story-telling My Voice Unheard incorporates passing down and preserving traditions at the same time acknowledging the efforts that every individual invests in their lives. “Bola Chali” ventures to explore the wisdom of a common Pakistani, by creating a space that spotlights personal struggles, accomplishments, success and disappointments alike.

“Bola Chali” is designed around a hybrid version of story-telling and oral history. Each session is intended to focus on the personal journey of struggle of the narrator, amidst, sharing an incomparable voyage to identity formation. Each session is premeditated by a moderator who establishes personal connection with the narrator, supports for a detailed expression of self and acts as a liaison between the audience and the narrator thus, transforming a simple narration into a personal experience and journey for everyone. 

Dr Fatima Ali Haider and Dr Narmeen Hamid Altaf , Co-Founders -The Grief Directory were the guests at its inaugural gathering. TGD aims to become a bridge of compassion between the families of victims of terrorism and those who would like to reach out to them to show solidarity and offer support. Dr Fatima talked about her struggle after losing her husband, renowned ophthalmologist Dr Ali Haider  and Murtaza, her 11 year old son in a target killing incident four years ago. Dr Narmeen, a family friend, was the one who reached out to her in this hard time and the first bridge of compassion was formed.

The Co-Founders shared how since its inception, The Grief Directory has reached out to numerous families who have been victims of political terrorism. Along with the emotional needs that are usually ignored, these families have some very rational, everyday needs like guidance for in banking, legal and financial issues which were dealt by the deceased and not the female partner. TGD is a platform where professionals from different aspects of life can help the grieving families, especially females, to equip them with survival skills.

Mr. Anwar emphasized the need of highlighting such narratives as an example of resilience, and create an image that is not associated with Pakistani’s all over the world. There is a dire need to feature these unheard voices and stories in order to build sustaining partnerships even within the Country. He shared that My Voice Unheard will continue to bring forward such stories as they have done so during the last two years. They have covered over 250 such stories ranging from different social initiatives to entrepreneurs and from Pakistani’s in US, Canada, UAE and UK who are all creating a narrative that defies the stereotypical image of Pakistani Muslims.

“Bola Chali’s” inaugural event was attended by people from different walks of life which included journalists, writers, student, veterans and professionals. The audience appreciated the efforts by organizers and wished them well for their future projects.  The event ended with a few words from the guests in the audience and was proceeded by a networking session where the guests interacted with audiences.