Sohaila Ink
Freelance Writing

Nonfiction

Bye Bye Mati:  A Memoir in a Monsoon Landscape is a nonfiction project supported by The Ford Foundation's South Asia bureau for forests and environment. It is a social ethnography of sorts – a book that explores the life history of an aboriginal woman in Karjat, Maharashtra, in Western India. The story is bound up with the story of Sohaila's family, which settled in the village of Tembre 17 years ago. The book explores issues of land, water, culture, communal and caste conflict, family, politics, labor and corruption, among other things. It is a scholarly, yet personal book, in which babies are born, trees are cut, rice is harvested and much tea is drunk.

Oxfam India

AIDS-Free World – Sohaila was the Director of Communications for the international advocacy organization for two years. She researched, wrote, ghost-wrote and edited substantive articles and essays for publication on the organization’s website, by major international news outlets and professional journals; researched, wrote, ghost-wrote and edited leaflets, press releases, reports, and other informational, advocacy and outreach materials; solicited staff contributions to the AIDS-Free World website; and worked with multiple contractors to create a new website. She initiated a major project, PlanetAIDS, which involved hiring staff and consultants and a year’s worth of intensive research and writing on the AIDS pandemic. She had her own column, “Speaking Up.” Her writing covered, among other topics, the United Nations’ response to sexual violence in conflict and HIV; homophobia in the Caribbean; political leadership in southern Africa; advances in prevention and treatment; criminalization of sex work, drug use and HIV transmission; the connections between injustice and AIDS.

Some samples of AIDS-Free World writing.

Oxfam India

In the early 90's Sohaila worked for Oxfam India as their Anniversary Coordinator. Her job was to promote Oxfam during its 50th year, and also to promote sustainable development and raise awareness of development-related issues both in India and abroad. To this end, she directed all aspects of communication, public relations, fund raising, and materials production for the Oxfam program, which included 500 development projects, dealing with issues from water harvesting to bonded labor. The communication and fund raising strategy exceeded all targets.

She wrote press releases and produced other publicity materials, such as brochures, T-shirts and posters.  She liaised with the media, leaders of development projects and government officials. She was on the air and in print in India and the UK. She produced a film on Oxfam's work, which aired in the UK, India and the New York Women's Film Festival. She organized an extravaganza in Bombay, where 750 artisans and craftspeople from all over India performed and sold their wares.

Her favorite part of the job was the traveling, and writing. She roamed all over India and stayed in tiny villages, visiting rural development projects and writing about everything from weavers' collectives to midwifery education. Her articles were published in India and in Oxfam's in-house publications abroad.

Oxfam brochure
Journalism and Essays

In the US, she has been in Huffington Post, Papotage, an online literary magazine, The Philadelphia Daily News, Banker and Tradesman, and Brandeis and Stanford University publications.

Elsewhere Anthology

In India, Sohaila is the author of the title story in the anthology Elsewhere, Penguin India, 2000, a bestselling collection of nonfiction stories about India. She has also published articles in the Times of India, The Indian Post, Outlook, Outlook Traveller, India, Femina, and Manushi.

In the UK, she wrote an article on non-literate women who make award-winning movies for People and the Planet, a respected development journal.

India Magazine Outlook Traveller
Copyright © 2004 - 2011 Sohaila Abdulali. All rights reserved.
People and the Planet