Healing Kashmir’s success is driven by our diverse and talented team. They bring together close familiarity with Kashmiri culture and extensive knowledge of human psychology, so delivering the best mental health care possible. Our staff combines backgrounds in psychology, counseling, medicine, and information technology. They come from different parts of the region, speak multiple languages, and they bring a broad spread of life experiences to the table. The diverse skillset of our staff, in combination with their strength and energy, drives Healing Kashmir. Most of all, their pride in the work they are doing for their fellow Kashmiris is what sets them apart. The self-empowerment they experience through the empowerment of those they treat is really what makes the Healing Kashmir team a closely-knit and highly effective family.
Healing Kashmir was founded by Justine Hardy who, after more than twenty years based in the region as a writer and therapist, began to understand that societies in conflict can only change if the psychological damage of violence is acknowledged and addressed (more about Justine at: www.justinehardy.com and you can follow her blog here). After setting up schools and rehabilitation projects with local friends in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in the region in October 2005, Justine began to research the possibility of creating a lean and easily replicable mental health care system that could work not only in Kashmir, but in any region of the world that is going through war, violence, or trying to rebuild in the aftermath of major natural disasters.
The team that we have created has been carefully chosen because they come from all over the region. There is a tendency in war-torn and conflict-ridden societies, for non-profit programmes to tap into an already comfortable middle class that ring-fences the opportunities that the programmes offer. This is a polite way of putting that non-profit and aid programmes very often simply shore up pre-existing bribe-based structures, and sometimes create whole new corrupt systems due to mismanagement and basic failures of communication and understanding.
Our team is made up of young Kashmiris who do not come from privileged backgrounds. Some of them are the first members of their families to be educated. For them, getting to college was already exceeding expectation. They have been defined and formed by the conflict and violence in which they have grown up. For this reason they have a far greater understanding of those they are treating than any outsider could have. They have learnt to understand how their conditioning has affected them, and to use this understanding as the main tool in treating and working with those who call the helpline or come to one of our centres for treatment.
The Healing Kashmir team is currently led in Kashmir by our senior team, Nazia Rashid, Peer Nazia, Rufaida Wani, Mudasir Dar, and our office administrator, Manzoor Tramboo. Beyond Kashmir our board members in Delhi are political journalist Vir Singh, former Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah, and retired Air Vice Marshall Kapil Kak. In the UK Healing Kashmir’s trustees are Denzil How, Samina Khanyari, Sarah Egerton-Warburton, our chairman Richard Morris, and Justine. Our consulting psychologist is Prerna Sud, PhD psychology, specializing in conflict trauma. The team continues to have on-going training, run by Prerna Sud and Justine. Justine continues to run the project from both Kashmir and the UK.
We have an internship programme that works in conjunction with Tufts University (Boston), The Oslo Scholars Programme, Delhi University, Ashoka University, and Cambridge University.