Srinagar: Galvanized by his research on suicides in the Kashmir Valley, Omar Hafiz, a young development practitioner from south Kashmir’s Anantnag District, started the STEARS campaign with the aim of creating a safe space where women and third gender individuals could express their challenges, concerns and frustrations.
The S in STEARS, stands for stereotypical, and it describes the tears of the people who are inflicted with the pain of being marginalized, discriminated and outcaste by the socially dominant and powerful members of society.
Having conducted research on suicide cases in the Valley, studies showed that it was mostly women who were committing or attempting to commit suicides. Further research and analysis showed that women face huge pressures and are the ones who bear the burden of economic and social pressures and violence.
Furthermore, Omar saw that transgender individuals are being heavily marginalized and stereotyped as well. This typecasting has created disgrace, humiliation and fears in their minds. This initiative was intended to break the stereotypes that surround these groups.