Actress Somy Ali, who now runs a US-based NGO called No More Tears and works to rescue victims of domestic abuse and rape, says that the foundation for her ambition in life began as a child. She says that she was shocked at the poverty she saw around her when she grew up and couldn’t understand why or how she could help those around her.
Talking about her childhood, she says, “I began dreaming of what I was truly passionate about at a very young age. The majority of that thought process stemmed from the environment I was brought up in as well as the poverty I witnessed as a child growing up in Pakistan. I would always wonder and couldn’t comprehend why my parents and I lived in a 28-bedroom 3-story house while there were countless children, women, and men sleeping on the pavement. I must have been seven years old at the time when I sneaked four young Afghani refugee girls into our home and hid them in my cupboard in my room for a few days and would secretly feed them, let them live there, and even played with them with my toys. They couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old themselves.”
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“It was when my father found out and told them that they had to leave. I was so angry with my father even though he sat me down as I cried profusely explaining to my dad that they were my new friends and they didn’t have a house to sleep in, but my father did not listen and tried to shove some rationale into my little brain of a spoiled and extremely stubborn child. I could not understand and was in total defiance of my dad’s decision to have them leave. I did however make my father give them money and remember giving the girls a bag full of my toys. Sometimes I wonder what must have become of them as they got older and if they made it through the harshness that comes with living a life on the streets,” she shares.
Somy further adds, “This is when I truly believe my true calling in life was born, the minute I began questioning anything and everything that did not make sense nor seem fair to me or if anyone else was treated unjustifiably.” Talking about her career, she says that acting was a mere step in her journey to actually help others. “Well, my career in India was a fantastic fluke given I didn’t go there to act in movies, and neither did I have the slightest interest in doing so. My real career began in 2007 when I initiated No More Tears with a mission to rescue and empower victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. I ended up working with all the police departments and the FBI to rescue several sex/labor trafficking victims brought to the US from India under the guise of marriage or a promise of a job which did not actually exist.”
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“These young girls and even boys were sold to traffickers and then there were many women who were brought here from South Asia and the Middle East through arranged or love marriages who ended up being verbally and physically abused. Given I was extremely privy to that kind of setting growing up and having lived in a domestic violence relationship for almost nine years during my time in India, I used that knowledge to help these victims get out of those situations and empower them. I am a trained victim advocate and in addition to that having two degrees in psychology truly came in handy to help and comfort the victims. My NGO taught me a great deal about human behavior in addition to my training and education and I was able to extrapolate a great deal from the great Viktor E. Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I will always appreciate this specific quote of his: ” To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.” I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is feeling down and searching for meaning as to why we are here and our purpose,” concluded Somy.