Hammad Anwar

Friday, May 20, 2016

“As an individual, I consider responsibility to my community as an integral part of my identity, and I want to share it with others so that we all evolve towards a more conscious narrative which is otherwise condemned to amnesia.”

Through my own initiative My Voice Unheard, I aim to combine design thinking approach and the new media tools through visual story-telling and self-expression to highlight the invisible voices in our community.

I work around building an empathetic design in new media to bring communities together and closer, bringing consciousness to what shapes our collective behaviour, identity, culture, history and heritage in order to defy general media narratives of terrorism and extremism.

During my formative years, technological boom resulted in the creation of online forums such as Orkut, Facebook, & Twitter, which emerged as powerful platforms for individual, collective and social expression. 

Through these platforms, I experienced the ways contemporary technology could help people like me in self-expression and how these skills, when used together with critical tools and substantive knowledge of the digital world could help one to reach out to other socially marginalized and culturally restrained individuals. This was a prime motivation behind my startup.

I have always considered myself as an introvert. However, the kind of projects I was involved in created the most suitable circumstances for me to grow as an individual. 

In the course of events, as the founders of Rabtt- a social enterprise I was involved with; left for higher studies, I led the organisation for almost 2 years, which meant meeting and mentoring new people all the time. This is when I learned the most and grew out of my comfort zone into a more socially comfortable person.

In 2014, I joined CFx Comics, where I was introduced to advanced level, innovative digital communication tools. I also learnt how to engage with various tools such as comics, mini comics and animated videos for the purpose of expressing and addressing numerous issues. These events helped me develop skills to challenge my struggle as a person.

In retrospection I realize that my engagement in small initiatives and projects throughout my career were small steps towards my own initiative.

At My Voice Unheard, so far we have been able to bring forward perspectives from the lesser known communities of our Country. Let it be, children, vendors who we assume will have no story, Christian educators and Air Force officers or the stories of amazing working women.

Since the recent collaboration with Oral History Project with Columbia University, I have realized that MVU has the potential to archive these voices and preserve our traditions, heritage that gives us meaning so that we can stand stronger as a community, appreciating voices that exist at our core.

With each interview at My Voice Unheard, I find an opportunity to refine my communication and leadership skills. Dealing with my introversion has always been a challenge.

The process of exploration that entails fine balancing my social interaction and personality is a process of learning I believe, to continue the rest of my life. 

I am a firm believer in the power of collaborations; I believe that with the magnitude of problems we have, one sector cannot solve them on their own.

Secondly, we all talk about the impact which is mostly based on numbers but I believe even if you bring change in one or two lives, it is a huge achievement. Don’t over exhaust yourself, take care of your health and keep a balance between your personal and professional life. - Hammad Anwar, Co-Founder at My Voice Unheard