British Chevening Scholarships

October 31, 2012

Last September I fell in love with London and decided I was going to move here to do a Master’s degree. When I told people that the plan was to apply for a Chevening Scholarship, most reactions were “Nabila, don’t get your hopes up. It’s very competitive” or “Wow, you’re confident”.

This year, I am attending School of Oriental and African Studies – 44th ranked university in the world, and working part time as a consultant in one of the biggest international organizations globally.

The Chevening scholarships scheme is taking in applications again as of 29th Oct 2012 for the next batch.

Please don’t hesitate to apply if you are passionate about something you feel you can make a difference in.

I am living my dream. Because I work hard, and I believed.

To Torch or Not to Torch

November 20, 2010


Recently with the set up of Championing SARA, I found myself back to being on-the-go.
From meetings A.M to P.M with sponsors and funders to networking with people and media talking about the cause, I hardly have time and energy to lug my laptop around to check my email or upload data.

I tried and I tried resisting getting a smart phone for the longest time, but I think, I am going to relent and give in.
Cause I am so darn in love with the new BlackBerry Torch 9800. And since I am already a Celcom subscriber, I wouldn’t have to sell a body organ in the black market  to be able to own one.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800

The Torch 9800 would provide me with the mobility of having email access at the palm of my hand, and it has a 5MP camera plus video recording, which means I could update live feeds of photos and videos , reporting from confict and disaster zones, straight onto the Championing SARA facebook page or blog whenever we go on project missions.

It is light, weighing only 161.1 g but with a 3.2″ HVGA + 480 x 360 pixel colour display.
Of course, these are just a few of the many impressive specs of the Torch 9800.

The Celcom Exec Plan has different flexible packages to choose from, and even if I opt not to have a commitment every month, Celcom would still be able to give me an affordable promotional price for the Torch 9800 unit without surrendering my soul to the Devil – because Celcom is after all, Malaysia’s No. 1 Blackberry Community.

Sounds like I am sold already, innit?

To Torch or not to Torch?

Busy Bee

November 19, 2010

I have been getting tons of emails and enquiries on the absence of update to this blog.

The set up of Championing SARA has been going so well, it’s truly unbelievable. Hence, all my time has been taken up by that. Though recently a close friend of mine kindly reminded me that I need to learn how to take some time off for my self.

Since July I have been completely immersed in the cause that I sometimes, forget to eat. Living on KitKats and boxed Milo drinks. Yes, I am aware these are not consumptions with proper nutritional values.

I decided to write this post because :

a – I just received possibly 657th comment about updating
b – I am feeling a little bit lost, restless and needing an escape to another reality.

Even as I type this, I am carelessly putting on a pair of earrings, and a long necklace – on my way out to a close friend’s bday dinner. Today I juggled meetings, baking a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache topping, AND replying backdated emails.

I will write some more, again. Soon.
For now, just know that I am still here. Always.

Championing SARA

August 20, 2010


I reckon it’s been a really fast-moving, productive and surprisingly pleasant week.

The aid and advocacy campaign I had initiated in my last post has turned into something quite amazing. To me at least. The support and responses from a lot of parties have been immensely positive.

To make campaigning efforts a little bit easier, I decided to give it branding , a name and identity people could easily relate to. Championing SARA. A campaign that champions sexual and reproductive health awareness, especially in post-disaster and conflict situations. Our first project is Aid to Pakistan Flash Floods 2010 survivors. I say first project because after this awesome week I am seriously thinking taking on other project, focusing on the same issues.

I approached a few like-minded friends, who said YES in a heartbeat and their enthusiasm, their commitment, their challenge in the discourse, their kind words, really made me started believing that this is really possible.

We set up a blog page, a facebook group, a twitter account, and established NGO partners. Now we are looking for corporate and public contributors.

The aim is to assemble

– 10 thousand clean delivery kits for visibly pregnant women, trained birth attendants, and midwives.
– 5 thousand female hygiene kits containing sanitary pads, clean underwear, headscarf, soap, etc
– 5 thousand male hygiene kits containing clean underwear, shaving blade and cream, soap, etc

We are also advocating the implementation of Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) – a module for Reproductive Health (RH) in emergency settings. And we want to make condoms readily available at all temporary camps.

Yes, I am aware that these items are not the norm, and can seem quite radical and unnecessary. But I am speaking from previous experience talking to other natural disasters, conversing with other volunteers in the field, reading past reports, and liaising with program managers in the RH industry. There is an urgent need for SRH to be integrated into the health, medic and items aid to disaster and conflict sites.

Do take a look at the Championing SARA blog for more info and updates on the campaign. Perhaps it will be a little clearer then …

I am now looking forward to a relaxing weekend with close friends, before we go full swing on the campaign next week.

Aid to Pakistan – Championing SRH issues

August 14, 2010


I am planning to coordinate aid to pakistan, championing sexual and reproductive health issues.

You see, from my experience speaking to previous disaster survivors in Aceh and Jogja, and reading countless reports, the issue that came up frequently like a red alert light, was concerning sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

Because in dire situations, we often take for granted that in chaos and instability, people still take advantage of women and children. Gender based violence rate shoot up, women and young girls taken advantaged of sexually in return for help, the rise of STDs and reproductive health issues due to lack of awareness, clean underwear, sanitary pads, pregnant women being neglected, etc.

Yes, it sounds funny … clean underwear? We give clothes, and food, and blankets and medicine … but we don’t really think abt CLEAN UNDERWEAR do we? I didnt think abt it much either til I got there and heard stories frm survivors myself.

I am going to contact MERCY, and Red Cross, and BAKTI, or any other agencies that are doing evaluations now and sending aid, and I am going to try and advocate this issue to them.

I am pleading to you, as a friend and fellow human being, that we highlight this issue. Because more people and concerned citizens need to be aware of this, and companies, would need leverage for helping.

Please do help me spread the word to our media and corporate friends who might like to get involved.

Media persons, can help by writing features, conducting interviews with sexual and reproductive health organisations.  Anyone at the Sun, NST, the Star, SinChew, Utusan, or any other meainstream media who would be able to write and highlight this, pls do help me spread the word. 

I can help with coordinating contacts and resources. A friend of mine, Amy, is an officer with a program under International Planned Parenthood Federation on just this – Sexual and Reproductive Health issues in disaster/conflict situations. I am also still in contact with previous disaster survivors who can testify it is indeed important.

Various companies can give, according to their field or capacity

– clean underwear
– sanitary pads
– birthing kits
– rape survivor protocol for volunteers
– more painkillers and drugs for SRH issues
– money or funding to agencies to execute RH clinics on site
– condoms
– funding for little info flyers to be localised and understood by young girls

My email is nabila(dot)nasir(at)gmail(dot)com.
If you have any suggestions, input, or anything at  all to share, feel free to drop me a line or a comment and I shall contact you, or keep you in the loop.

Please do let me know. I am but one person, but as a group of fellow human beings, we can do something together. Lets get the ball rolling now!

Fire in the Sky

August 4, 2010


The scattered lights are nothing but a beautiful blur. That is the rest of the world.

But not you. You are red. A fire in the sky.
Like passion. Like intensity of inspiration. 

And when you are feeling shrewn, and lost, with an irresolute in your path,

just remember.  

You are red. Like the inferno ablazed in your spirit.
Like the flame that burns in the hearts of people who love you.

This Sweet Ol’ Queen

July 29, 2010


I recently lost a dear friend. It was a sudden death that left us shocked for a bit. Now the dust has settled in, and the grieving will hopefully find the strength to move on, without forgetting. This is for the late Benjamin McKay.

The first time I met Benjamin, I walked in through the door of a party, huffing and puffing, all grumpy. And I grumbled, “Oh my GOD. I was dropped off at the end of the road and as I made my way here truck drivers couldn’t stop whistling, catcalling, and offering me rides.”

Ben said, “Lucky YOU! I wish I had truck drivers whistling at ME!”

I didn’t know this older mat salleh man then, but I knew. I knew my night was going to be fabulous. And so it was. As all other nights spent in the company of Ben came to be.

One evening after a lengthy day of punctured tyre, boss issues, boy problems, I bumped into Ben in Bangsar after grocery shopping. My face must have been long from there to Japan because he immediately asked, “Are you okay? What’s wrong, darl?”

I told him and I didn’t feel like going home yet, he made me put the groceries in my car and sit down for a drink somewhere.

At the bar he ordered a martini, and when I said I have never had one, he was quite appalled. First, they were dirty, and martinis were drinks of enjoyment, I should get acquainted. I had to step out on several occasions throughout, to pick up phone calls. I kept apologising for leaving my handbag behind so he couldn’t go anywhere, not even the bathroom, while I was on the phone. To which he replied, “It’s ok, it’s ok, I was actually taking care of the martinis.”

At the end of that night, I felt beautiful and alive again.

Ben turned my worst days into the best, with his witty lines and positive presence. He taught me that even when things are really down, out and just plain bad, it is not that bad after all. He always saw the silver lining.

There was a huge twenty years age gap between us. But Ben never talked down to me. I always felt that in our conversations, Ben listened to me, responded and advised me like a peer, with much respect. I never felt belittled or made to feel childish. Although at times, I must admit I can be.

He was always punctual. Always the first to arrive and saving the rest of us “stuck in traffic” good seats at plays, film screenings, talks, etc.

Benjamin was always cheerful, and kind. Beyond that, he inspired others to always be cheerful and kind. He moved me to always mean what I say, say what I mean, without actually being mean. He stirred me to live a life I love, and love the life I live. For this, and so much more, I am forever indebted, and he will always be remembered fondly.

Benjamin wherever you are now, I know you are happy and safe, and free of worries. And in true Ben style, I know you are saving us the good seats, making sure there will be enough and plenty of martinis to go around.

Thank you Ben for the time spent with us. We love you. And we’ll see you later you sweet ol’ queen.