Srinagar: Breaking the stereotypes, a 27-year-old girl from Srinagar is saving lives in villages along the Line of Control (LOC) by educating people about landmines and unexploded shells. Shabreena Sidiqi, a resident of Srinagar, says despite travelling difficulties and risks of cross-border shelling in these sensitive areas, the main aim was to save the lives of people, particularly children, through “mine risk education”.“It’s a very challenging job and it was quite difficult for me to convince my parents because it requires travelling to far off places, where there is no network coverage and those on security radar. But when you see the problems being faced by the people who live there, helping them just seems like an obligation,” says Shabreena, who is currently working in the border villages of Rajouri, Poonch, Baramulla and Kupwara. The districts that lie near the LoC are highly sensitive and most affected by the conflict. People in these areas have become the victims of poverty, health issues, death and disability as they have been forgotten by the government. Shabreena added that the field team had narrow escape many times while working in these areas.“Physical rehabilitation is one way of helping the victims. But there has to be another mechanism to prevent casualties. Thus there is a need to impart risk education,” she adds.Shabreena and her team give safety and security briefing to people living in these areas as to how they can enhance their knowledge and change their behaviour in order to avoid landmine or unexploded ordinance casualties.“We also work on community-based reporting system and make them understand how they can report the landmine incidents or its presence to the authorities. Mostly, we educate children through fun methods as to how they can save themselves from unexploded shells,” she adds.After pursuing MBA from the University of Kashmir and working for a marketing company for 10 months, Shabreena chose social work and is currently working as project officer at the HELP Foundation for mine risk education and Conventional Weapons Risk Reduction Project.Shabreena is among the women in the Valley who moved out of their comfort zone to become an inspiration for others and to help the victims of two-decade-long conflict in the border areas.
Under the “mine risk education”, 27-year-old Shabreena Sidiqi and her team give safety and security briefing to people living in the areas along the Line of Control. They tell them ways to enhance their knowledge and change their behaviour in order to avoid landmine or unexploded ordinance casualties. They also work on community-based reporting system and make people understand as to how they can report the landmine incidents or its presence to the authorities.
Tribune News Service