Aspeq news

Turning adversity into advocacy

Jan 22, 2024

Aspeq’s Assessment Coordinator Anum Najif is a force of nature who is always looking for an opportunity to help others. She’s ambitious and determined in every aspect of her life, and is happy to have found a supportive home at Aspeq which allows her to reach her full potential both personally and professionally.

A natural people-person, Anum Najif draws you in with her warm personality and infectious smile, but her bubbly exterior betrays a steely determination and strength in spades. 

Anum has always been ambitious. As a little girl, she remembers having big career aspirations: “In the city I grew up in Pakistan, I used to walk by a beautiful new facility that was slowly being built. One day I asked my dad what the building would hold, and he told me it was to be Pakistan’s Reserve Bank. I said, ‘I'm going to be the president there one day’.”

Anum figured out the academic path she needed to take to get there, which led her to a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce.

Although she’s yet to land the top bank job, she’s pretty happy with where she’s ended up. In her role as Assessment Coordinator at Aspeq, Anum is responsible for working with subject matter experts to design and evaluate assessments for flight crew exams all over the world, as well as ensuring the technical parts of the exam process run smoothly.

She’s also currently seconded into the role of Business Development Manager, where she’s getting experience bringing new customers on board. “Supporting people is a major part of the job, and I love that,” she says.

 

Sakeenah

As much as she loves her job, Anum’s real passion lies outside of work, where she dedicates her time advocating against family violence among Islamic communities.

“It’s a hard topic to talk about in Islamic communities and I felt that wasn’t right. If no one talks about it, how is anything supposed to change? Someone who is gathering the courage to leave an abusive relationship should be encouraged and given support to do so.”

Together with the Islamic Women’s Council, she launched Project Sakeenah, which means peace and tranquility in Arabic. Anum explains that Sakeenah is about educating Islamic communities to recognise signs of domestic violence and where to go for help.

“There are resources out there, but often our communities aren’t educated about how to reach them or don’t want to admit they need that kind of help. When we talk about experiences of violence, we talk about what Islam says about marriage, and how things can be twisted to justify violence against women.”

For Anum, success will be the day when Sakeenah gets shut down because it’s no longer needed. But for now, there is still a lot of work to do. Anum is working on getting Sakeenah up and running, and bringing the Islamic community on board. After that, she hopes to hand it over to the Ministry for Social Development to support its wider programme working with ethnic communities on violence prevention.

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