Sarmad Soomar


Sarmad Muhammad Soomar is a licensed registered nurse and currently works under the domain of research at the Department of Psychiatry in Aga Khan University, Pakistan. Sarmad is passionate about integrating human sexuality into healthcare curriculum and about inclusion and justice in sexual health and rights. He works with gender diverse people, adolescents, refugees, disabled people, and men. Sarmad is also a youth champion of Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, a Global Youth Video contest winner for ICFP 2018, General Secretary of the Rho Delta Chapter of Sigma Global Nursing Excellence, and in 2019 he was selected as a 120 under 40 Future Family Planning Leader  by the Gates Institute. Sarmad enjoys using innovation in his work, including play therapy, laughter yoga, dance, and digital games.

Fiscal Sponsor: Pakistan Innovation Summit for Education

Project Title: “WO KAHANI (that story)”

The goal of this project is to promote gender equity, respect, and equal opportunity among children ages five to eight years old through an innovative storybook. Storybooks transmit societal values from one generation to the next. However, current Pakistani storybooks rarely portray women in leading roles and often reaffirm stereotypical gender roles. This project will create a storybook with diverse characters that promotes dignity and respect and transforms traditional gender roles. Young leaders will also train school teachers on using the storybook and facilitating discussions about gender roles and equity.

Rise Up Cohort: Youth Champion 2019