Wounds of Wisdom (WoW): Community awareness on impact and prevention of intergenerational trauma in Pakistan

Wounds of Wisdom (WoW): Community awareness on impact and prevention of intergenerational trauma in Pakistan



The research project, “Youth Time Against Trauma,”, aims to create awareness among disadvantaged youth and communities in Pakistan regarding the impact of complex trauma, particularly community and gender-based violence. Led by youth educators, the project utilizes participatory approaches, including art, sports, and digital technology, to effectively deliver impactful key messages. Involving youth and adults, the project addresses intergenerational trauma and collaboratively develops preventive strategies with the communities.

The project evaluates its process and perceived impact through the use of participatory research methods. The participating communities face challenges related to socioeconomic factors and traumatic experiences, which have adverse effects on youth well-being and mental health. To break the cycle of trauma and mitigate negative outcomes, the project focuses on raising awareness, empowering youth as peer educators, fostering intergenerational understanding, targeting different age groups and genders, and disseminating findings to formulate preventive strategies. By bridging intergenerational gaps, prioritizing youth leadership, utilizing creative participatory approaches, and developing recommendations in collaboration with stakeholders, this project highlights its significance through its youth-led and trauma-informed design, participatory workshops, and inclusive evaluation that captures diverse perspectives.

Blog Posts from Wounds of Wisdom

Breaking cycles We all are carrying burdens-burdens of our ancestors. It may have changed its form, yet it exists

Throughout history, people have faced multiple life changing events resulting in traumatic experiences. Migrations, wars, discrimination, target killings and the list goes on. These traumas can be carry forwarded in generations and this theory is known as Inter-generational traumas. We gathered to observe these trends in our country Pakistan. Wounds of Wisdom (WOW) is a research project in collaboration with Rights of Time Network University of Birmingham UK.

The aim was to interact with the families from minority communities from Karachi to understand their stories throughout the difficult phases in life. The crisis they faced, the personalities they developed and the resilience they incorporated; we tried to explore everything. This project was divided into phases to efficiently maintain the flow. The first phase was the training phase where we as were trained to become efficient “peer educators” by certified professionals. Professor Panos Vostanis, Miss Shezrey Hashmi, Miss Sukoon Fatima and Dr. Naima Fatima are some of the prominent names who facilitated us. The online and physical sessions trained us about how to interact and probe the families, their triggering points, setting boundaries with them, employing empathy and broadening our perspectives.

Next, we met the families from two different areas; Lines area and Lyari. Lines area is an area where people who have migrated from Skardu or Gilgat reside. Whereas; Lyari is an area where gang war played a major for several years, impacting multiple generations. We met families in which people from 3 generations were present. Our meetings were planned and properly organized before hands. We had activities to involve the people from 3 generations and then in a very subtle way we heard their experiences and gathered some basic details. This was done in a careful environment to ensure the safety of the families and not to breach any boundaries. Dr. Sajida played a significant role supervising and accommodating us in every meeting, which proved to be very beneficial for all of us.

The third and most important phase was the one where we conducted awareness session in these 2 areas. Peer educators were divided amongst 2 groups, one for Lyari and other for Lines area. We planned awareness sessions separately for each generation i.e.; youngsters, adults and older ones. These were planned to give them a positive approach towards life. They were realized that they are not to forget what they went through but instead they should channelize it in a meaningful way to the future generation such that they would be able to benefit from it. Overall it had been a wonderful experience as it was not just us benefitting the others but we ourselves learned a lot of things and understood some of the major milestones. Afsheen Zehra Peer Educator WoW Project

Wounds of Wisdom Feedback

Stepping into ICAN’s intergenerational trauma project, I had no idea how much it would touch my heart. The focus on how different experiences trickles down through generations intrigued me, and I was excited to make a difference. My role as a peer educator involved creating safe spaces for conversations among different generations. The stories that emerged held immense power. We acknowledged strengths as well as areas of neglect, breaking down walls that had stood for years.

Focus on support was brought to forelight, where younger folks understood their elders’ struggles, and the elders felt acknowledged. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Balancing empathy and self-care was tough. The emotional weight sometimes left us drained, but with support from the ICAN team, we learned to navigate through. This project proved that coping isn’t a straight road. It’s a unique journey for each person. Some found comfort in storytelling, art, religion or strengthening family ties. Witnessing these transformations highlighted the incredible resilience within us. As I move on from ICAN, I carry stories of the past and a newfound hope for a more connected and healed future. This journey taught me that even though history leaves scars, we have the power to heal them, bit by bit, generation by generation.

Our Partners

Meet our amazing partners behind the Rights For Time.