Living in a large muslim populated community, some saw the need to educate women unnecessary in comparison to other needs, such as finance and family. Overpowered by the struggles of simple daily living, her parents couldn’t support their daughter in pursuing her education. Nassim only studied until 7th standard. Fighting to persuade her parents to believe she had potential and share her passion, she was eventually admitted to attend school for higher education. But due to the journey alone, to and fro, fear seeped in. The dangers of the outside world drowned out Nassim’s voice. Protecting their child, they forbade her to travel alone. Secluded, isolated, and disconnected, Nassim felt ostracised. If she wanted to overcome these pressures, she would have to leave her home and family. Being only 14 years old, this was impossible. Consumed in an environment where one is constantly restricted, she gradually lost hope.
When we entered Shivaji Nagar, we saw the need and we replied. We saw the oppressive state of mind and heard the whisper of a dream. What is commonly known as “The largest dump in Mumbai”, we saw as a place of opportunity. When our first community centre opened up in the same area, the team visited local families. There we met Nassim who was hungry for a new ambition in life. Suppressed and drained by her current situation, she was convinced her parents would strongly disagree with further studies.
Four grey walls were all it took to spark a light throughout the narrow slits of the slums. Working within the community, long-lasting relationships were raised up on strong foundations. We never once gave up. Each child had their own voice and we believed it needed to be heard. After two weeks of counselling, the parents saw their daughters future as a top priority.
On her first day, she was extremely shy and held herself back. She wasn’t interacting well with the other students. She lacked confidence. A week into the course, after seeing the skills the teachers had equipped her with, Nassim slowly grew in confidence. Even with a simple tool like tailoring, you can change someones mindset. Having this ability transformed how Nassim saw herself and others around her. This small room was stretching further than we thought. Bold, courageous and assertive, we believe we are building world changers.