I am Zainab, and I have been a part of Aagaaz since it was first formed. I am a professional actor and have been part of all major productions by Aagaaz (Duniya Sabki, Raavan Aaya, Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan, Rihla). The last few months, my colleagues and I have been working on a script called ‘Luv U’, as a project with the Goethe Institut, which we performed at TCLP’s centres in Khirkee, Kotla Mubarakpur, and Sikanderpur. I am also an artist-facilitator who works with children through theatre based work/activities.
I graduated from Lady Irwin College in July 2022 and then decided to be a part of Aagaaz’s full time workforce because I was already doing so many things here. Being at Aagaaz gives me an opportunity to do many of the things that I learnt at my college. My job allows me to connect these learnings to my work with light designing, costume designing, direction, stage designing, organizational development and working within a community.
So finally from the 1st of July, I became a full time team member at Aagaaz. My primary role is assisting in the processes of setting up our new Library Programme at our Learning Centre in Nizamuddin Basti. As we focus on community building, our plan is to open a space for our community and for the children we work with. My colleagues and I are learning and experiencing how libraries works and how we want our library to shape up.
I am a little bit better at computer skills and English language, so I am always trying to help my colleagues with these. I believe in ‘जो तुमने सीखा वो आगे पहुंचाओ’ (transl. ‘if you learn something, share it with others’). That’s why I like working with children, because as I learn to see the world in my own way, and try to shape it into one I want, I am able to model this for them, and they are also able to deepen their understanding, and see the world in their own unique ways. I think being a part of Aagaaz I learnt to challenge my perceptions, to try and find more possibilities.
Not only at Aagaaz, but also in my own life where I face a lot of problems, confusions, and have to make so many decisions, I find this way of being very helpful. I can see how different I am from other people around me in these matters. And this is not a sudden development, but the result of long processes over several years. This is what I am interested in doing and want to do for the children I work with.
As a full time worker I am also learning how to be more responsible, how to manage my time, and also, how to focus on my own self too. I am in individual therapy sessions, participate in listening circles, and psycho-education sessions. These spaces allow me to spend time with myself, learn and explore who I am, talk my confusions and questions through with my peers. Each of these spaces adds to who I am becoming everyday.