“These words will be windows, not walls!”

Josh looks at one of the first copies of 'A Sliver of Light' in awe.

Josh looks at one of the first copies of ‘A Sliver of Light’ in awe.

These words will be windows, not walls!” Josh pronounced as he started writing A Sliver of Light with Shane and Sarah.

Spending every day for more than two years engaging the world in their plight,
I was acutely aware of the physical and political walls that prevented them from sharing their words with the world. I felt them every time I posted on Facebook and Twitter, every time I sent a message, every time I told someone about them, every time I asked for help to free them. Without being able to communicate with them at all, I felt grossly inadequate at guessing what words they would want to share with the world. I found words grossly inadequate at capturing our collective horror. But I had to give every bit of energy I had to trying my best. The stakes were high. The stakes were their lives. Their freedom. Our lives. Our freedom.

I hold their words in my hand.

I hold their words in my hand.

Even now, after more than 2 years of freedom, I find their freedom to communicate overwhelming. And powerful beyond words. Their book is a manifestation of that power. In words. Every word I read, I feel everyone who fought for their freedom alongside me, with me. Free the Hikers core campaign team members who were with me every day, in person, via phone, Skype, gchat, email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Organizing, creating, collaborating, sharing, engaging, supporting. I remember those of you who followed their story so closely you asked me for updates if there was a gap of less than an hour in our social media posting. I will never forget.

Now you can all finally read their story in their own words. Better yet, you can attend one of their author events, and hear their stories in their own voices. We will be posting news about the events and media coverage on the Free the Hikers Facebook and Twitter accounts. Join us there! And we would love to see and hear your responses. Tag them #SliverofLight on Facebook, Twitter, G+, tumblr, Instagram, etc.

NOTE: A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran will be released on March 18, 2014. Preorder it here:

SPARKS TALKS WEBINAR: Inspire Action for Change: Social Media for Social Good

SPARKS TALKS WEBINAR

Please join our webinar hosted by the Girls Action Foundation, part of their Sparks Talks Webinar Series.

Register here and RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook.

Follow @_GirlsAction, @FarahwayGlobal, and @farah_way on Twitter for the latest webinar buzz.

During this webinar, Farah will share advice for inspiring action for social change based on her intensive experience with global human rights and mental health campaigns. Farah has applied her commitment to community engagement and social justice to a wide range of issues, from political prisoner campaigns, to mental health equity, to promoting and building capacity among peer support groups

Whether you are taking action in your local community or want to create change in the wider world, this webinar will inspire you to set your goals high and take practical steps to make them happen. Farah will share strategies for building the scope and level of engagement of supporters, within complex and sensitive sociopolitical contexts. She will highlight the importance of peaceful communication, and demonstrate the potential for amplifying impact by integrating social media with media, and community-based events.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Farah N. Mawani is a Visiting Scholar, Massey College. She has global teaching, research, and policy experience in social determinants of health, mental health, inequalities in health, and community-based research. She has national experience in roles including Senior Policy and Research Analyst, Mental Health Strategy, Mental Health Commission of Canada; Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre Steering Committee member; Mental Health Reform and Policy research team, Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities, and Mental Health; and National Coordinator for numerous national health research projects.

Farah recently founded Farahway Global, a non-profit organization, based at the Centre for Social Innovation, that engages the global public in action for human rights and mental health via social media integrated with community-based events. It builds on Farah’s experience co-founding and directing the social media and global public engagement components of Free the Hikers, which freed Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, held hostage in Iran for 2 years and 2 months.

ABOUT THE GIRLS ACTION FOUNDATION SPARKS TALKS WEBINAR SERIES

The SPARK TALKS webinar series features inspirational stories, advice and tools from ground-breaking women. Presentations are always followed by an interactive Question & Answer session. Direct from your computer, participate in FREE webinars on topics such as safe cosmetics; women in the arts; social, environmental and political activism; building communities and organizations; the law; and arts as a medium for social change.

ABOUT THE GIRLS ACTION FOUNDATION

Girls Action Foundation is a national charitable organization. We lead and seed girls’ programs across Canada. We build girls’ and young women’s skills and confidence and inspire action to change the world.

Through our innovative programs, research, and support to a network of over 300 partnering organizations and projects, Girls Action reaches over 60,000 girls and young women. We reach remote, marginalized and urban communities, including those in the North.

Register here

RSVP on Facebook

Fight for Freedom – The Ismaili Canada

Our founder, Farah Mawani, was featured in The Ismaili Canada, the publication of the Ismaili Council for Canada, representing Shia Ismaili Muslims in Canada.

Download PDF: Fight for Freedom | The Ismaili Canada, July 2012

Really Really FREE Market – TO

Mark ONE YEAR of FREEDOM for Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and the global community who fought to FREE them from 2 years and 2 months held hostage in Evin Prison, Iran.

Celebrate by joining the Toronto sister event to one initiated and hosted by Josh in New York City.

In Josh’s words:

“Stuff — Free

Haircuts — Free
Bike Maintenance — Free
Food — Free
You name it — Free
You bring it — Free


We celebrate freedom by sharing what we have to offer. It could be an extra this or an extra that. Bring stuff. Take stuff. No exchange, just gifts. It could be a potted plant, an new T-shirt, old suitcases, a massage, a drawing, or a story in the storytelling booth, a song on your guitar, a book or two, gleaned apples, reiki, .mp3s , quirky refrigerator magnets, sewing severed seams, poems or palm reading, there is no period at the end of this sentence”

Ask and ye shall receive” my Christian friends say.
“The Universe Responds” my New Age friends say.
“Undermine Capitalism!” the 99% says.
“If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution” a long-dead revolutionary supposedly said.
Don’t read Marcel Mauss, just give!

Come Celebrate Freedom! It’ll be precisely one year since Shane, Sarah, and I are out of Iranian prison. Free from being hostages and hikers. Let’s walk together! A step closer to the concept every day.”

***TORONTO peeps, PLEASE also bring your response to “FREEDOM is…” in words, quotes, photos, poetry or art, to create a collaborative mixed-media collage.***

RSVP and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

Drs Kamiar and Arash Alaei receive inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award from Sharon Stone on July 22, the opening day of the AIDS 2012 – XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Despite Iran’s Oppressive Regime, These People Fight On ~ Farah N. Mawani | Huffington Post

I woke up at dawn today and my first thought was of Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei winning the first Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award at the International AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. on July 22. I was beckoned by light streaming through an opening in my blinds, the light of a sunrise filled with hope and the promise of freedom…

I think of their lawyer, Masoud Shafii, without whom Kamiar and Arash would not be free. The same lawyer without whom Josh, Shane and Sarah would not be free…

TAKE ACTION: Read the full article and sign this petition urging the Iranian regime to return Mr. Shafii’s passport and let him do his job.

DONATE to Farahway Global to enable us to continue this campaign!

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

I Can See Clearly Now: Recovering from PTSD ~ Farah N. Mawani | Intent Blog

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, June 26, was the United Nations International Day In Support of Victims of Torture.  I spent the days leading up to it reflecting on psychological torture, and particularly the impact of psychological torture on me.  Although it is difficult to delve into, I want to share some of that experience. I hope it will increase global understanding of the devastating impact of psychological torture, the remarkable courage of those who face it, and the support people need on their journeys of recovery…Read more.

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3 Lessons Learned From Freeing 3 American Hikers: From Integrity to Engagement to Relationship-based Fundraising ~ Farah N. Mawani | Philanthropy Front and Center | The Foundation Center

Since our Free the Hikers social media campaign achieved its primary, seemingly impossible, objective of freeing my dear friends Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, I have received numerous requests to share our secret. Political prisoner campaigns, human rights organizations, mental health organizations, and even businesses, want to know how we built the global movement that it took to free them…Read more.

DONATE to Farahway Global

Check out our brand new Rally page!

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How cows figured in a Kenyan woman’s Toronto education | Toronto Star

Ryerson University graduate Teriano Lesancha, centre, with her father, Saidimu, left, Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, World Vision Canada President Dave Toycen and her mother, Mama Teriano. CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR

Ryerson President Sheldon Levy will be getting a cow from a student who graduates next week.

In the bold journey Teriano Lesancha has taken to get an education, cows were sometimes a sore point between a struggling farmer and his ambitious daughter who wanted the income from selling cows to pay her tuition. They became a point of pride when that debt was repaid, with interest. Interest on four hoofs.

But her outspoken mother, known simply as Mama Teriano, also played a key role. Though she never went past Grade 3, she had a fierce belief in education for her daughter….

University of Toronto doctoral student Farah Mawani worked one year as a tutor at the village school, and her tales of university here planted an idea that Teriano never forgot.

Years later Mawani was surprised when the former student emailed her for advice. She has remained a mentor and friend who helped Teriano get into Ryerson and gave her somewhere to live when her sponsorship fell through…Read More

Welcome to Farahway Global!

Farahway Global is a non-profit organization that engages the global public in action for human rights and mental health. It was founded by Farah N. Mawani (@farah_way), co-founder of Free the Hikers. It builds on Farah’s experience directing the social media and public engagement components of Free the Hikers, which played a large role in freeing Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, held hostage in Iran for 2 years and 2 months.

In collaboration with the core campaign team, Farah developed a social media portfolio (Facebook, twitter, YouTube, community blog, etc.) closely integrated with the website, public event, media and diplomacy components of the campaign. She centrally organized global events for the campaign that peaked with 40 events around the world at the one year mark of captivity for Sarah, Shane and Josh. The global reach of the events grew exponentially through Farah’s creative use of social media to engage large numbers of people unable to participate in the events in-person. For example, at its peak, when Shane and Josh were released, the campaign Facebook page included 31 000 supporters. The number of YouTube views on the most popular campaign video reached 364 000.

Building global support within the incredibly complex and sensitive sociopolitical context of the Free the Hikers campaign was challenging on multiple levels. Farah applied her experience in leadership, community engagement and global social justice to carefully navigate the sensitive relationships. As a result, the campaign was successful at engaging and garnering the support of people around the world, including high-profile public figures and diverse members of the general public of all ages, through a sophisticated integration of website, media, social media, public statements and public events.

Farah has been interviewed about the campaign on CBC Radio’s As It Happens (during campaign and after release), CBC Radio News, CBC TV’s Connect with Mark Kelley, NBC’s The Today Show, NTN24 (upon release and after first seeing Shane and Josh). She has also been interviewed for articles about the campaign featured in The Atlantic. She has made presentations on the Campaign at McGill University, Montreal, QC and Rally, San Francisco, CA. She has also written about the campaign on the Huffington Post and Intent.com.

Farah’s expertise integrating social media and public engagement on a global scale is sought by organizations, businesses, political and advocacy campaigns, and leading publications in multiple sectors. Her expertise in global mental health is sought by organizations, policy makers, service providers, researchers and students. It is in increasing demand from organizations and professionals who need to enhance their understanding of trauma in order to better serve their clients.