Weeknotes 41

Special Edition: Transformative spaces and tackling inequalities

  • Joint learning on systemic approaches to reducing inequalities
  • Gather energy for further work and return home strengthened

What I did


I attended a storytelling workshop which was so powerful that everyone in the room was moved to tears by the end of it. Here are my notes.

  • We were told to learn more about Marshall Ganz He is the Rita T. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He came up with thethe successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign. He has a
  • This speech by James Croft was given as a powerful example of how to tell stories and how to “bring a value into the room”. This phrase is something I’m going ponder on more.
  • Talk about scars but not about wounds. Scars show strength, wounds show vulnerabilities.
  • Organise your speech into: challenge — what we are going through together; choice — what we will do about it; outcome — what will that achieve.
  • To move people into action, they need to think there is a point in getting involved. “String their emotions” (not sure about the word string here).
  • I also realised through the exercise that I don’t focus on anger and urgency enough. I do focus on hope a lot so I fixed it when I wrote that into a draft:

The first time a man touched me without my consent was when I was 6 years old. I was walking down a street, holding my mother’s hands. Every day I speak to women who experience violence in the home, schools, universities, workplaces, places of worship, halls of power and the streets. You’ve probably experienced it yourself or heard about it from someone close to you. Gender-based violence stops women and other marganlised genders from living fulfilling lives. The problems is patriarchy and rape culture. Boys grow up with toxic masculinity and feeling liek they must always be tough and that their self-esteem and honur is depending on the women (or lack thereof) in their life. Broken hearts. Broken homes. Broken spirit. Broken society. But it does not need to be this way. We can change it now. Together. We can call in and out misogyny. We can teach children and model what respect, equalityand love in relationships can look like. We can hold adults and powerful people accountable when they abuse those with less power around them. Patriarchy does not need to be forever. We can end it. Together.

What I learned

The power of places

The power of why

I attended a session on decolonising. The space was held beautifully by that facilitator. I would like to share more about this but I’m waiting to get permission from them. So I’ll update a future weeknote linking back to here once I’ve received it.

Decolonisation is messy

The session above was fantastic! Outside of that, all conversations or lack thereof around decolonisation were bad. It’s becoming a buzzword where people think there is one fixed, the right way of doing it. And instead of inviting a conversation and understanding the path of decolonising (can there be an end?), most people are jumping into the “checklist” or “this is what I didn’t like” mode rather than analysing systems and powers at play.

Future scaping

Once a facilitator, always a facilitator

Having organised many sessions, events, conferences and communities — the role of facilitator is not something I can lock in a box and push to the back of the cupboard of my mind.

Beautiful 5 min friendships

There are so many! We might never meet up again or stay in touch. And that’s okay.

What not to do at a multi-cultural gathering

  • make people who don’t know each other that well sing together;
  • and hold hands!

“No one knows you”

I met a few funders and they told me that I need to find a better way of encapsulating what Chayn does in “Activist-speak” so those kind of funders can understand the impact. And that I need to be going to way more events than I am right now because no one knows me in the philanthopy space. Both comments were helpful and I am all over it. You’ll see I packed the rest of my year with events. I basically said Yes to every single opportunity that came my way except one (online event where timings clashed with something else).

Something else



Building communities. Feminist. Pakistani. Founder @chaynHQ & CEO fighting gender-based violence with tech. Championing openness. Forbes & MIT Under 30/35.

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Hera Hussain

Building communities. Feminist. Pakistani. Founder @chaynHQ & CEO fighting gender-based violence with tech. Championing openness. Forbes & MIT Under 30/35.