In the autumn of 2021, the second round of the development program for future leaders of NGOs has started. We asked all participants five questions. Meet Anne Haller.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am an idealistic world-improver, a passionate fighter, a thorough fact-checker and a curious why-questioner. All in all, a pretty good combination, which also causes constant internal struggles. I am a lawyer by education, with a master’s degree in women’s studies from Ireland.
I am working to ensure that there is less intimate partner violence in Estonia. Until the end of last year, I worked for almost four years at the Women’s Support and Information Center operating in Tartu and Põlva region. I gave legal advice to women suffering from intimate partner violence and represented them in court, mainly in disputes concerning children. Then I have moved to the Social Insurance Board and the Ministry of Social Affairs, where I deal with the same issues on a more general level.
In my free time I like to go running, do yoga and read.
Why did you join the Future Leaders Development Program and what do you hope to learn from it?
I joined this program because I felt that I needed more systematic knowledge about this field and management in general to act bolder in the field of advocating rights. What do I hope to learn? I can rather say how I hope to learn. I hope that learning process will constantly be uncomfortable. I need to be digging for the right answers, expecting not to know them. So that I must work hard to find the answers. So far it has been that way and I am very happy about it.
What kind of change would you most like to see in Estonian society or in the wider world?
I would like to see less violence of all kinds around and for us to be kinder. Not only against other people, but against everything alive in general, and against yourself as well. So that we can communicate without hurting and act caring.
Do you hope to contribute to this change and how?
A special heart issue for me are children growing up in intimate relationship violence. Domestic violence is being talked about more and more, but in my opinion, issues related to children raised in such families have not received enough attention. It happens too often now that decisions about whether and how children communicate with an abusive parent are made by specialists, whose knowledge or attitudes do not take intimate partner violence into account. They don’t know the subject of intimate partner violence and are not aware that it also affects children. This means that children growing up in such families will be left in trouble.
My great desire is to contribute with my activities to the fact that there will be less and less people getting into trouble. My dream is to create an advocacy organization that would stand for children affected by intimate partner violence, and that would be a useful partner for specialists who encounter with such children. Intimate relationship violence can only be faced together, nothing can be done alone in this area.
A book, film, show, podcast, person, or any other important influence, that inspired you and that you would recommend to others.
A year and a half ago, I made it my goal to read at least one work of fiction by a female author from every country in the world. I hung a world map on the wall and have continuously recorded my progress there. Very cool trip! Without this experiment, I probably would never have discovered authors like Ayòbámi Adébayò (Nigeria, “Stay with Me”), Shokoofeh Azar (Iran, “Enlightment of the Greengage Tree”) and Yiyun Li (China, “The Vagrants”) a few of my favorites. I recommend everyone to take a similar trip, no matter how big or small. Just thinking in the European context – how many Dutch, Portuguese or Romanian female authors do you know?
I will also add one podcast recommendation – vulnerability and shame researcher Brené Brown’s podcasts “Unlocking Us” and “Dear to Lead” are engaging and thought-provoking.