Culture Weekly


December 8 - December 14, 2021
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Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Bahrain resident Shipra Dhir Passi has joined writers from around the world in penning her life-inspiring story with the aim of empowering women of all ages and backgrounds.

The 186-paged She Dares book features tales of courage from 36 women of different backgrounds and nationalities, including those from the UAE, Argentina, the UK, the US, Netherlands, South Africa and India, and Shipra is thrilled to be a part of such an inspirational collaboration.

“I have been brought up by my parents in the most empowering ways possible and I’m happily married to a man who believes in women’s rights,” said the 41-year-old former corporate finance professional who has been living in the kingdom for the past 13 years.

“This book is an excellent reminder of the inherent power that lies within each woman, whatever background they may be from. It aims to rekindle that fire within and inspire women to rise from the ashes on their own instead of waiting for anyone to help them.

“Each chapter is a real-life story by a different writer conveying the same message that ‘you are empowered, just realise it and use it irrespective of your age, circumstances and pressures’.

“This book is also a gentle reminder for men who need to realise the worth and capabilities of women around them whether at home, work, or public spaces.”

Shipra’s story, entitled Focus on Yourself highlights that ‘nothing is perfect’ and ‘life happens’.

“Injuries, traumas, broken relationships and so on happen, and may be followed by loss of purpose at a certain stage of life,” said the short filmmaker, poet, environmentalist and social activist. “However, we can choose to focus on everything wrong or to be grateful for what we have in hand and then focus on building ourselves up from there!

“My story is of a woman in a neighbourhood whom everyone can relate to. It is not about the physical pain a woman goes through after trauma, but the emotional pain that one has to learn to deal with.

“These stories women shared not only inspire others but also are eye-openers to identify the ‘unsaid’, unnecessary pressures society puts on women.

“When women are living safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can reach their full potential, contributing their skills to the workforce and raise happier and healthier children. They are also able to help fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”

Shipra attended the pre-book launch staged at the Swedish Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai last month, alongside other authors and book creators MENA Speakers. The group, based in the UAE, also aims to empower, educate and entertain using strong and intelligent voices throughout society.

“During the pandemic last year, I participated in an online book writing course and after successfully completing it this year, I connected to the MENA Speakers and signed up to their collaborative book project,” explained Shipra. “After six months, She Dares happened thanks to Saana Azzam, who headed the project and her team as well as the daring women that came forward to make it possible.”

Twenty per cent of the proceeds made from the sale of the book will be donated to Al Jalila Foundation. It is a charity organisation for promoting medical education and research and it was founded by UAE vice president, prime minister and Dubai Ruler, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“Only a few copies are left with me in Bahrain but an e-book is available on the MENA Speakers site and will be sold on Amazon, Google Play and at book fairs across the MENA region,” added Shipra.

“I’m planning another book, but, inshallah, this time it will be solo. Lastly, anyone aspiring to become an author is most welcome to connect with me and I would happily share the path I walked with them. If I can do it, so can you!”

For details, follow @shipradhirpassi on Instagram.

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