How Genocide Survivor Taban Shoresh Rebuilt Her Life and Became an Aid Worker

February 10, 2022

My guest today is the incredible Taban Shoresh, a former child genocide survivor who suffered imprisonment as a four-year-old with her family, during the Saddam Hussein regime. They narrowly escaped being buried alive, and after a year of dodging bombs and bullets managed to escape with the help of Amnesty International and began a new life in London.

Over time Taban adjusted to life here, but the trauma of her experiences never fully left her. She married at a young age and settled into her university studies and subsequent career. Little by little. She came to realize that the relationship she was in was highly abusive and she feared for her life once more. Somehow, however, she finds the courage to escape.

By 2014, ISIS was waging another genocide and Taban made a radical decision to leave her career in the financial services sector and returned to Kurdistan as an aid worker. After this experience, she realized that she needed to do more for many. She sets up the Lotus Flower, a not-for-profit for women and girls impacted by conflict and displacement. Since its launch, it has supported ISIS survivors in three camp based centres. And to date has helped over 40,000 women and girls.

Its aim is to give displaced women and girls a sustainable future. We discussed Taban’s many, life-changing experiences, her epiphanies, the challenges and courageous turning points.

“Maybe it’s because I’ve survived death so many times that I know any decision I make won’t be life-threatening.”

Taban Shoresh

Points of discussion:

  • Introduction (00:00)
  • Going back to Taban’s childhood (02:43)
  • Coming to the United Kingdom (08:51)
  • Embracing both Kurdish and British culture during teen days (10:30)
  • Leaving abusive marriage (15:08)
  • Epiphany moment (24:09)
  • The genesis of Lotus Flower organization (32:27)
  • How does Taban manage her foundation and life (38:46)
  • Taban’s advice on how to go through hardship (40:01)
    Closing words by Dee (41:58)

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