Kanwal Ahmed

Kanwal Ahmad is an Pakistani entrepreneur, activist, talkshow host, executive producer and the founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, a Facebook group created for women to discuss taboo topics and break the culture of silence.[1][2] She is also the host of her own web-series "Conversations with Kanwal".[3]

Kanwal Ahmed
NationalityPakistani
EducationBachelor's in Business Administration
Alma materIBA(2014) , Karachi Grammar School
OccupationEntrepreneur, talk show host

Personal lifeEdit

Kanwal was born in Karachi. Kanwal competed her high school from Karachi Grammar School. she then went to Institute of Business Administration(IBA) where she completed her Bachelor's in Business Administration in 2014.[4] Kanwal got married at the age of 22 and now has one daughter. She now lives in Canada.[5]

Kanwal had always enjoyed writing diaries. As she got older, she got introduced to blogging. However, her parents didn't want their children spending too much time on the internet and so had their time limited. Kanwal then started maintaining a Wordpress journal using the internet at her school. Through her blogging experience, she learned about many social issues which set the base for her future career.[6]

CareerEdit

Kanwal started blogging about social issues in 2000s during her school years. She later started working as a makeup artist.[7] During this time, she often heard the brides she was dressing up, talking about issues people face after marriage. The conversations inspired Kanwal to create a community where these subjects could be talked about in a safe space without women having to face any judgement.[8][9]

Soul Sisters PakistanEdit

In 2013, to give women from Pakistan a safe space to talk about their issues and encourage dialogue, Kanwal started the Soul Sisters group on Facebook.[10][11] She said she wanted women to discuss taboo topics without being harassed or judged. Kanwal said she was looking to break the culture of silence and to help women discover their voice.[12][13] Kanwal's group gained a lot attention on Facebook and soon it had over 264,000 members.[14][5] The group now has women from other South Asian countries as well.[15][16] Much of the conversation is on marital problems, divorce, domestic violence and other social issues.[17][18]

Soul Sisters also has in person meet ups in Karachi. According to Kanwal “We arrange a sitting for about 500 women in one event. Here, they can confide in one another without having the fear of being judged or being laughed at. Nobody is belittled.”[5] Women in the group, who call themselves ‘Soulies’, offer each other emotional and mental support and advice on various issues.

In 2018 Kanwal got selected for the Facebook Community Leadership Program.[19][20] The program saw 6000+ applicants from around the world and shortlisted 115 community leaders.[21][22] The program's purpose was to give the selected leaders a chance to develop their leadership skills, further their proposed initiatives and funding and networking opportunities to become community leaders.[23][24]

Talk ShowEdit

Using the funding gained from the Facebook Community Leadership Program, Kanwal started her show digital talk show "Conversations with Kanwal".[25][26] The show  was created with the aim to feature "real stories to spark conversations around important issues". The series launched its first episode on 17 November 2019.[27] It featured women telling their stories of abuse, domestic violence and other social issues. The show had 12 episodes in total with a new episode launching every Sunday. Kanwal’s show gained over 15 million views. After its success, the show launched season 2 of the series.[28][29]

Kanwal has also appeared in Neo Tv's reality show 'Idea Croron ka', a show that allows rising entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas with the adequate funding. The show is partnered with Facebook to fund entrepreneurs across the country.[30] Kanwal recently launched an initiative #SheMeansBusiness that aims to train women entrepreneurs and kickstart small businesses.[31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Soul Sisters Pakistan". Asia Times. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  2. ^ "Pakistan's online agony aunt tearing down taboos". 24 News HD. 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  3. ^ "Facebook selects 2 Pakistani women". The Nation. 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  4. ^ "IBA Alumna Ms. Kanwal Ahmed selected for Facebook's Community Leadership Program". www.iba.edu.pk. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  5. ^ a b c Taskin, Bismee (2020-09-06). "Meet Kanwal Ahmed, Pakistani woman who has given a 'safe space' to women to talk about taboos". ThePrint. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  6. ^ "Virtual Reality". Newsline. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  7. ^ "Pakistan's online agony aunt tears down taboos". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  8. ^ "Thinking Big with Soul Sisters Pakistan Founder Kanwal Ahmed". The NewsRun. 2019-02-25. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  9. ^ AFP (2020-09-03). "What is Soul Sisters Pakistan group on Facebook?". Global Village Space. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  10. ^ Anonym. "Pakistan: Soul Sisters, to make women's voices heard - France 24 | tellerreport.com". www.tellerreport.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  11. ^ Viqas, Rumaisa (2019-07-12). "Nida Yasir Lashes out at People Objecting on the Contents of her Show, and Dragged the All-Female Group, Soul Sisters Pakistan into it". ACE NEWS. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  12. ^ "Pakistan's online agony aunt tearing down taboos". Arab News PK. 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  13. ^ AFP. "Pakistan's online agony aunt tearing down taboos". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  14. ^ Jabeen, Yusra (2017-09-21). "Inside the exclusive female-only meetup of secret Facebook group Soul Sisters Pakistan". Images. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  15. ^ "In Conversation With The Founder Of Soul Sisters Pakistan". Mashion. 2020-04-03. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  16. ^ "The Pakistani Soul Sisters: Virtual Safe Space to Discuss Abuse, Sex, Marriage, Abortion, and Other Taboos". Al Bawaba. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  17. ^ "Pakistan's Online Agony Aunt Tearing Down Taboos". News18. 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  18. ^ "Soul Sisters: The Facebook group giving voice to Pakistani women". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  19. ^ "Pakistan 'Soul Sisters' among women selected for Facebook leadership program". Al Arabiya English. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  20. ^ "The Nation: Facebook selects 2 Pakistani women". Arab News. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  21. ^ "Pakistan's online agony aunt tearing down taboos". uk.finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  22. ^ Khan, Sahil (2018-09-25). "Soul Sisters, Sheops founders chosen for Facebook Leadership Programme". South Asian Telegraph. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  23. ^ "'Soul Sisters Pakistan' founder gets own digital talk show". Something Haute. 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  24. ^ "Facebook selects two Pakistani female entrepreneurs for its Community Leadership Program | Pakistan Today". www.pakistantoday.com.pk. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  25. ^ "Kanwal Ahmed - the soul sister Pakistan needed". The Express Tribune. 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  26. ^ "Kanwal Anes Ahmed - Soul Sisters". Naseba. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  27. ^ Magazine, Womens Own. "Up close and Personal With Kanwal of Soul Sisters & CWK". Women's Own Magazine. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  28. ^ Staff, Images (2019-04-08). "Soul Sisters' Kanwal Ahmed launches digital talk show with an episode about domestic abuse". Images. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  29. ^ "Conversations with Kanwal, a digital talk show to empower women | SAMAA". Samaa TV. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  30. ^ admin (2018-09-24). "Facebook partners with Idea Coreron Ka to support community building in Pakistan". News Update Times. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  31. ^ "After Soul Sisters Pakistan, #SheMeansBusiness to empower women entrepreneurs". Daily Times. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2020-11-22.