Qaisra was born in Pakistan on 9 August 1963 and came to the UK with her parents when she was just two years old, settling in Manchester. She studied History and Archaeology at university in Wales. She moved to London for work and took up a place at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London studying for an MA in Islamic Societies and Cultures.
Her career path has led to work across different organisations and sectors including the voluntary sector and as a Homecare Organiser for a number of London boroughs. Through all of the roles she has had, she has always been fascinated by religion and spirituality and so was offered and accepted the post of Spiritual and Cultural Care Coordinator for Oxleas NHS Trust. Her role crossed all faith backgrounds − she managed the chaplaincy service within Oxleas, co-ordinating all of the chaplains representing different faiths. She advised staff about any spiritual needs that patients had and ensured that whatever religious support a patient requested could be found, from asking for Holy Communion to wanting someone to pray with. Often people who are ill or distressed simply want another person to talk to and Qaisra was available for this. She believes that the best assistance that she can provide is to use whatever a person believes in to help them. She has written many publications including contributions to: Spirituality and Mental Health: A handbook, by Pavilion and Understanding Wellbeing by Lantern Publishing. She also jointly edited the mental health newsletter of the College of Healthcare Chaplains.
She was made redundant in August 2011 but has since returned to provide spiritual care on a freelance basis. In addition she does so at St Andrew's Healthcare Essex and works as a Senior Wellbeing Officer at Mind in Enfield.
Childhood in the UK
I remember once saying to my mother, 'English was so easy for me to learn', and she said 'Oh yeah?!' and then she told me of a story when I was very little; my brother was being beaten up on the street, I went up to this bloke and told him to stop beating up my little brother and the only English word I used was 'No!' - the rest was all Punjabi!