It is 2023 already!

As travel opened up last year, life seems to have gone back to the ‘old’ normal in many ways, instead of the much hoped for ‘new’ normal where we would have more investment in public sector and health services, greater awareness of the importance of frontline and health workers, better support for women involved in relentless unpaid labour and a deeper knowing of the massive interconnectedness of all our lives on this one planet that we share.

We witnessed human beings and social structures at their best in developing a vaccine at super speed but then falling back on the old power dynamics which meant Europe got the vaccine faster and cheaper than Africa could. We had many countries take up telehealth for medical abortion and retain those systems post pandemic while we had the Taliban takeover Afghanistan and stop girls from studying beyond 6th standard.

ASAP members and partners and allies everywhere showed up with courage and resilience and a capacity for rising to their highest and best selves like the champions they all truly are. We conducted out first hybrid YAI in Karachi in May, the first in-person YAI and YAR in Kathmandu in June and then went on to organize 7 more before the year was out. As much as we love our virtual spaces that allowed us to be more inclusive, we delighted in being in the same physical spaces. Sharing positive energies and those informal conversations where sometimes the golden nuggets of learning can be found even more so than in the planned sessions!

The pandemic caused an explosion in online engagement and we realized that safe abortion rights activists, advocates and defenders needed to step up our game and look into online safety issues that we face with every tweet, every search and every email. We also worked proactively to continue to build an inclusive movement and deepened our work with the deaf and hard of hearing community and
transmen across the region. A play turned into an online performance, a stage performance recorded as a
video and videos reflecting ethnographic research were also the amazing and creative highlights of the past year. We look ahead at an even more eventful year as we start to revitalize the network and the safe abortion rights movement in the region and we thank you all for being with us on this journey.

A famous couplet by a much- loved Urdu poet from India, Majrooh Sultanpuri, reminds us that it is not just the power of the one who starts the journey towards a goal, but the collective power of each one who joins in and contributes towards building a movement.

Main akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil magar,
log saath aate gaye aur karvaan banta gaya 
(I set off alone towards the destination,
but people joined in and the caravan kept on growing)

Written by ASAP Coordinator Dr Suchitra Dalvie. To know more about our work last year you can check out our Annual Report for 2022 on our website here.