Stepping into the light
It’s the early hours of August 2, 1990, and Intisar is roused from a deep sleep by her sister-in-law. With her eyes still adjusting to the light, she learns the bewildering news that Saddam Hussein’s regime has invaded Kuwait, the country the AlSabah family has ruled for more than three centuries. Unable to process what she is hearing, she throws open a window to witness the horror of Iraqi army trucks and tanks rolling across the flyover in front of her home.
For two days, her family lies in wait under protective armed guard with their children before daring to move to what is believed to be the safety of her brother’s house opposite the Bayan Palace, the official office of the ruler of Kuwait. Then, to everyone’s horror, the invading forces begin bombing the palace to subdue all resistance from the guards inside. Despite doing her best to distract her young daughters by playing games, as the rockets rain down and the blasts shake the very foundations of the complex, Intisar knows that staying in her beloved homeland is a perilous folly.
Fleeing for their lives
Although fraught with danger, the decision is made to make a daring bid for the Saudi Arabia border to join Intisar’s father, who has accompanied the Emir to the safety of Kuwait’s neighbour to evade Iraqi capture. Gathering together whatever they can as a means to bribe their way through the checkpoints, the family – along with 15 children, their mothers and grandmother – make swift progress in their convoy of cars. However, their unwavering belief that they are going to make it to the border unscathed comes to a shuddering halt when their passage through the final frontier is refused.
With extraordinary courage, the convoy has no choice but to speed through the checkpoint ahead, and in amidst the hail of gunfire that follows, all Intisar can do is huddle down and protect her terrified children. With her heart beating out of her chest, it’s only when she steals a gaze out of the window to see that they are safely across the border that she dares breathe a sigh of relief; they have made it, they are safe.
Celebrating a victory
There is often remarkable strength in adversity, and Intisar is living proof that you can survive the trauma of war and be stronger in spite of all you have witnessed. Those terrifying events of 1990 have shaped the life she leads today; a life dedicated to empowering women, of giving a voice to the voiceless because, as she herself says, ‘In the Arab world, women are not encouraged to be themselves. They are not encouraged to stand up and be heard, particularly those of us affected by war. Because all we had to do was not be seen and not be heard to be safe.’
As the pillars of society – the glue that binds communities together –Intisar believes that it is through the empowerment of women that we effect positive change for all. Her steadfast desire to make a measurable difference to humanity – for voices to be heard – is what drives the Foundation that bears her name, a hugely impactful organisation that helps women overcome the devastating emotional scars of war and the turmoil of post-migration. At the heart of its pioneering programmes is group therapy, the power of which our founder has experienced first-hand.
It was hosting a colour therapy workshop with her daughter Fatima that a lightbulb moment struck. Witnessing the extraordinary impact colour therapy had on the emotional and physical wellbeing of the participants, she soon realised that harnessing this power could be tremendously transformative. And by taking this knowledge and weaving in the evocative effects of scent, she knew instantly that they were onto a revolutionary idea that could drive meaningful change: the seeds for Prismologie were sown.
Discover a brighter world
Intisar, rather fittingly given all our founder has had to overcome, means victory. The extraordinary challenges she has faced has allowed her to conquer adversity and emerge bolder and brighter. Today, she continues to inspire others to stand in their power, to step out from the darkness and into the light.
Light, of course, can create beauty. Consider our name: Prismologie. It’s based on the idea of a prism refracting light and dispersing it into a glorious spectrum of hues. And it is those gorgeous colours that we see – the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – that have inspired us. There is power in colour.