“It’s quite impressive how just sharing stories after a conflict can result in such deep transformation that builds bridges and brings people even closer than previously”.
Fathima’s background is in Information Technology and Computer Science, where she is a qualified teacher. At some point in her career, after teaching, she moved to work in corporate and had several roles such as programmer, systems analyst, and solutions architect. Even though her original background is generally quite far from the one of a mediator, she got introduced to the mediation field due to her own personal circumstances. Through her own experience, she realized how beneficial it could be for both parties going through a conflict.
As a result, Fathima decided to follow a mediation course: “I found it to be something you can really apply across many aspects of your life, whether it’s in your family or the community”. Following that, Fathima did a lot of volunteer work around the healing processes for adults and children and followed more courses in the area. While working with others, she saw the importance of mediation in the healing process because conflict can be very painful and traumatic for many people, and it can be even worse if not handled correctly. Fathima also thinks that mediation and restorative practices are an excellent alternative to litigation, as it helps resolve a conflict more peacefully and amicably. For Fathima, mediation is, in the end, about serving others, whether on a volunteer basis or as a job, helping them move forward and heal.
Based in South Africa, Fathima decided to get involved in mediation after the riots of July 2021, when former president Zuma was imprisoned. The pandemic was taking a high toll, and the economy was breaking down. You can read more about these riots, also known as Zuma unrest, in this article, published by Aljazeera on July 13th, 2021. According to the Economist, South Africa had not experienced such violence since the end of Apartheid.
The training that Fathima attended had a significant impact on her. There she learned how to be conscious of past traumas and its significant impact on the present’ She also learned how to effectively mediate when there is trauma. Fathima attended international courses on healing processes and facilitates healing workshops to overcome stress, anxiety and trauma on a volunteer basis. She recently participated in a workshop which included storytelling by impacted communities related to the 2021 riots. This was a very emotional experience as various race groups shared their personal stories relating to the 2021 riots. “It made people so much closer. It’s quite impressive how just sharing stories after a conflict can result in such deep transformation that builds bridges and brings people even closer than previously”.
Fathima is also a recipient of the Africa Rotary Community Mediation (ARCoM) training led by MBBI, which provides a platform to establish a conflict prevention community mediation initiative which involves Rotarians and Non-Rotarians to deepen Rotary’s peace building work within and between communities.
Article by Sarah Vorms, MBBI Writer