Hiba Dar

PR-manager Roots International School, Pakistan

I met Hiba Dar at the SSAT international conference in Abu Dhabi. She was there for her employer, the Roots International School, Islamabad, Pakistan. We started talking in the Mercure Hotel in Al Ain - UAE, after we saw the sun set on the second highest mountain of Abu Dhabi, Jabel Hafeet. Hiba Dar


Hello Hiba,
Thank you for taking the time for this interview.

Do you know the concept "vitality", and what does it mean to you?

Yes, I know the concept, for me it means being energetic, having a balanced lifestyle, paying close attention to your diet, and have enough daily sleep.

Can you tell me how your week looks like?

I work six days a week, and make twelve hours a day: I start at 8:00 am and leave the office at 5:30 pm. I have to travel one hour to and from work two times a day. So I make long days.

What kind of activities give you energy?

Meeting friends and family. And especially spending time with my mum. I live with my parents, but when I leave home in the morning she is asleep.
When I meet with friends we dine out. I also like dancing very much, but I am mostly so tired that I don't go to parties even if I am invited.
I also like to go to the top of the mountain in Islamabad, it is green there.

What kind of activities drain your energy?

I enjoy working but sometimes at work I get demotivated if someone is involved in office politics. My strategy is to avoid the 'whole drama', I keep things to myself.

Since my father does not work anymore I support the family financially. That can be a drain sometimes.

Is there in Pakistan the possibility of someone at work that you can talk to, a counselor for example?

Yes, in Pakistan we do have a good support system. You can go to a psychiatrist for example. But we don't do that very easy.

No, I understand that. But do you also have psychologists?

No, not much.
You always can talk to your family of course, but I keep things to myself, I don't want to stress my family.

How is it for you as a woman in your line of work?

I was working in the Telecom sector, there is gender discrimination and male domination. For example there are no laws to punish men. But there are the finest jobs. But for women it is not a safe place to work, and not a respectable place to work. I worked there for a few months and then I had to look for another sector to work in.
Now I work in the public sector, that is considered a respectable environment for women to work in. 90% of women work in this sector. It is also a safer environment.
For me it is not easy, because now I have to travel for two hours everyday. I have a cab that brings me to and from work, nevertheless it is very tiring for me.
When Pakistani women get married their husband gets a say in where the woman works. Very few Pakistan women have a good education. The children in our country are not told that they can be someone, all they know is that they have to get married.
Sure, it is possible that you can finish your studies once you get married, you als can have a child on your own, but it is very difficult.

How do you keep fit?

I usually don't.
There is so much pressure for me. I eat, that is a way to keep fit.
I have a nights sleep, that is another way to keep fit.
There are facilities, but I don't have the time to use them.

Does your organization have prevention programs for professionals to keep fit?

School gives professional training to their teachers, but no programs to keep fit, they don't appreciate this.

Are you familiar with stress coping theories?

No I am not.
You see, there is in Pakistan a big gap between the classes. You have the elite, the upperclass, the middle class and the lower class. For the first there are lots of possibilities. For me it is much more difficult.

What would help you to stay balanced?

Things that save time, for example if my job was near my house, or, if I had a gym nearby.

Thank you very much, Hiba!

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