People: Sabrina wears many hats

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Domestic violence and Human Rights lawyer Sabrina Sahu Khan-Sharma. Picture: RAMA

First and foremost she is a wife and mother, a role she takes very seriously. Secondly, she is an advocate for women’s rights and all women who have suffered at the hands of their partners and husbands.

A domestic violence survivor herself, Sabrina Khan-Sharma has used her experience and legal acumen to provide a voice for Fijian women and girls who have or are experiencing physical, mental or sexual abuse.

Her passion as a wife, mother and advocate for women’s rights is powered by her faith in God.

Ms Khan-Sharma says her faith in Jesus Christ is what drives every facet and aspect of her life. In a bid to promote discussion in safe spaces, the Lautoka human rights lawyer authored a book Dialogue in Action.

She said the publication was dedicated to the change makers who helped create safe platforms for sensitive conversations to take place.

“Dialogue is essentially an empowering process that enables people to encounter the other in a safe environment; transforming the unfamiliar into the familiar,” she said.

“It is profoundly reciprocal and rooted in an open, mutually respectful approach.”

Ms Khan-Sharma addressed a myriad of topics in her book including — the importance of dialogue in human rights; conflict and cross-cultural dialogue; challenges to dialogue; and the impact of colonisation on dialogue.

In addition she has introduced a new dialogue process – a theory which is covered in her book – and undergoing extensive research at present. The American Center for Intercultural Dialogue has featured Ms Khan-Sharma’s book on its webpage among scholarly profiles and research projects, adding focus on her intentions to create awareness in this area.

“Our communities can certainly thrive when we come from a place of understanding and willingness to learn about others.

“Engaging in dialogue is a starting point for anyone looking to deepen an appreciation for others and to create meaningful relationships between people”.

Ms Khan-Sharma’s books are sold by Amazon alongside her best seller Jesus in Syria Lane which tells of her enriching experience with God in saving the life of a woman subjected to domestic violence in Lautoka almost four years ago. Ms Khan-Sharma scooped the United Kingdom Lead5050 International 2021 Champion of Change award last month.

The award was given in honour of the work she had done to bring about positive change in the lives of rural women in Fiji.

She established the Fiji Rural Women Empowerment Network, an organisation that conducts domestic violence awareness projects and training programs across Fiji; educational initiatives for women in rural areas; and providing office-based training workshops to help women prepare for job interviews through learning etiquette, professional skills and embracing modest dressing. Ms Khan-Sharma also received the Order of Fiji medal last year in recognition of her contribution to the marginalised in the Fijian community.