Mera Jism Mera Hai is an illustrated children’s book in Urdu, the first of its kind in Pakistan, that helps children and parents navigate the complex conversations around body boundaries, personal space, and safety planning as it pertains to child sexual abuse prevention. It also contains an activity for children, guidance for parents and guardians, as well as links to free mental health resources.
It is a product of years of research and field-testing and has been vetted by mental health professionals, professors, public health experts, health workers, and members of the community to ensure its language, content, and style of delivery are culturally sensitive and appropriate for children.
To have this book incorporated into school curricula, used as a part of community outreach by NGOs, and become a household read for children growing up in Pakistan.
Ashhad Qureshi is an alumnus of the University of Chicago, where he majored in South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Having lived in both Pakistan and the United States, Ashhad has had the opportunity to witness the intersectionality of identity and mental health as it exists in the South Asian community.
He has worked in the mental health departments of multiple public health organizations over the course of several years, which has informed his attitude and approach to addressing mental health issues within his community. At university, he was the founder and president of UChicago MannMukti, a student organization with the goal to destigmatize mental health in the South Asian community. Currently, he works as a support specialist on the national sexual assault hotline in the United States.