“Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

– Noam Shpancer, PhD

HOPE has a yearly ritual of holding a well-being retreat for HRDs. We have infused these spaces with workshops and training on risk assessment, threat management, security planning, and digital security to equip the activists with the tools necessary for systematically working through the challenges they face in their work. These retreats have become central to holding essential conversations on health and well-being as well as strategizing around building sustainable movements.

In 2019, we co-organized an activist convention and retreat on the security, health, and well-being of HRDs, titled Qandeel. The week-long event honoring Qandeel Baloch, a queer icon for many, courted 40 HRDs from all over Pakistan and featured local and international experts on security and well-being. In 2020, we co-organized Umang, a union of hope and diversity, which brought together 30 HRDs for pieces of training on risk management, monitoring human rights abuses, and building sustainable movements that center on well-being. In 2021, the retreat to tribute to the late Khursand Bayar Ali, a beloved activist for transgender rights and a brave defender of human rights and rule of law, left us too early. Khursand was a mother, a sister, a teacher, and a friend who touched many lives and taught us the meaning of care. To honor her memory, we seek to celebrate her innumerable contributions to the community and remember her in power and joy.


What do we plan to do this year 2022?

As an activist, you play a crucial role in human rights and social justice. People who define themselves as activists are those who take action to change a problem that they see in the world.  However, along with this important role can also come a host of mental health problems including vicarious trauma and burnout.

Although it may feel like you must be always in action in order to make sizeable contributions to your movement, it has actually been shown in research, that activists who are burned out or facing other mental health difficulties, can actually negatively impact their agenda. With this in mind, this article contains a list of mental health resources and tips to help you protect your mental health and continue to pursue social justice.

Taskeen the retreat is designed to quiet the mind with calming, restorative methods. The mental health retreat is the perfect setting to begin the process of healing. This retreat offers unique and varied activities and method elements that help you focus on yourself and your needs.

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”

– Mandy Hale

Who can apply?

You can apply for the retreat if you are:

  1. based in Pakistan;
  2. between the ages of 18-50;
  3. a person marginalized on the basis of SOGIESC;
  4. working on SOGIESC issues with your local communities (in the form of networks, collectives, or organizations), and
  5. interested in learning about sustainability, well-being, and movement-building in marginalized contexts.

The selected participants are expected to:

  • Travel to the retreat location (disclosed only to selected participants) and reside on a shared accommodation basis with other participants at the site.
  • Participation is mandatory in all sessions and activities during all days of the retreat.
  • Provide feedback and share their learnings from sessions and activities in the retreat.
  • Cooperate with the site management and organizing team in all regards and abide by all logistical directions given by the admin team.
  • Abide by all rules and guidelines on the security of the participants. Obey guidelines for photography and social media use during the retreat.
  • Abide by all rules, policies, and guidelines for the shared residential spaces of the retreat.
  • Pilot programs, projects, events, and conversations on well-being and sustainable movement building in their local communities.
  • Support HOPE and their respective organizations in promoting conversations on well-being and movement-building among activists.

Note: HOPE reserves the right to take appropriate action against any participant for breaching security or ethical protocols for the retreat.


To apply for the Taskeen Retreat for Human Rights Defenders, fill out the form here.

Limited seats are available. If you have been selected for the retreat, we will reach out to you at the email address that you have provided. For queries and concerns regarding registration and logistics reach out to ts.communications@hopecommunity.pk.

For general queries, email us at info@hopecommunity.pk.

Share this post

Leave a Reply