AKA Dhaka’s budding mental health specialist and author | Aga Khan Academies

AKA Dhaka’s budding mental health specialist and author

13 April 2024

Sumanah Safi Chowdhury, a Diploma Programme (DP) 2 student at the Aga Khan Academy Dhaka, curated and wrote a detailed, relevant and resourceful booklet on the mental well-being of adolescents. The booklet was published at the esteemed Dhaka International Book Fair on 24 February 2024 in Bangla and braille. 

Sumanah’s journey to authoring a booklet began when she decided to further explore adolescent psychology and the importance of mental well-being during puberty. Since her childhood, she has been known to be a good listener and empathetic towards her peers. She would provide advice to those who shared their concerns and grievances with her and found out later that she could have a thriving career as a psychological therapist.    

“Ever since I was a child, I have been working as a good listener in my friend groups,” she said. “They would bring me issues they couldn't discuss with elders. I had no idea about careers in psychology and therapy then. However, I later discovered that I could put my passion into a career.”     

Inspired by this experience of helping others, she spent a year gathering information from Bangladeshi psychologists and psychiatrists, adding depth and scientific explanations to her drafts. The DP2 student also worked with the Sporsho Foundation, a Bangladeshi non-profit working with visually impaired individuals and the country’s first organisation to publish braille books.  

“Good mental health is a universal topic, and everyone deserves to be aware of its importance and how to access related resources,” Sumanah said. “Physical disabilities should not hamper people's knowledge and learning. I am committed to leveraging my actions to impact people's lives positively.” 

The Academy’s DP coordinator, Usha Kasana, shared her pride in Sumanah’s achievement.  

“Our Academy inspires students to become better humans through the Aga Khan Academies Learner Profile,” Ms Usha said. “Sumanah took a courageous step by taking this wonderful initiative. She has set a wonderful example for her peers by crafting this book.”