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The Kahani of Meri Kahani : My Story

Looking to raise awareness and make a change, two social workers Mehreen Poonja and Umbereen Inayet decided to fuse their creative talents and academic knowledge to create, Meri Kahani: My Story, an innovative play that addresses the challenges faced by South Asian survivors of abuse. The idea of a play was conceived while the two were in a class that asked them to create a therapeutic product that could be used with a traumatized population. As part of the research, Poonja and Inayet spoke to survivors of abuse, front-line service providers as well as used their own personal and professional experiences to create the myriad characters that make up each kahani.

There is Anne, a lesbian who wonders as to if she should “just get married” and then faces abuse at the hands of her husband. There is Sathi, a 7 year old girl who replays her daily witnessing of domestic abuse as she plays with Mr. and Mrs. Bear. There is Amita, the up and coming young professional who is talking to her therapist about the abuse she has witnessed at home. There is Phul, a transgendered woman who talks about her experiences with sexual identity, love and abuse. All these characters speak of real life truths and are a compilation of stories that were shared through the research that Poonja and Inayet undertook.

One of the unique elements of the play is that it can be shown in its entirety or individually depending on the needs of the audience. As such, since its debut in May 2007 the play has been invited to several community events as a tool to educate and inspire audiences to resist ongoing violence and to overcome the barriers in seeking support.