Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad - Student Voices | Aga Khan Academies

Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad - Student Voices

09 July 2020

You aren’t who you were yesterday, and you also aren’t what you’re going to be tomorrow.Every conversation you have, every Instagram post you see, every book you read, every movie you watch, every leaf you see falling down a tree shapes you, the way you think and the way you look at the world.

Before I joined the Aga Khan Academy, I spent majority of my school years in an ICSE school in Pune, I was younger and I had a lot of things I wished to accomplish at that age but everyone needs a platform where they can showcase their talents, for me I didn’t have that opportunity for over fourteen years of my life. I joined the academy when I was 14. 

It was a drastic change for me. The Academy was like a small world that warmly welcomed me in. When I look back at the person that stepped foot in the Academy three years ago, I wouldn’t be able to recognize her. Everyone has certain experiences in their life that makes them reflect on their lives harder and changes them in a certain manner and just like everyone I had one too.

Mine was during a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), as part of our IB curriculum, visit during my junior year. I recall the day clearly, it was in September, our first visit to a girl’s orphanage called ‘Rainbow Home’. I had visited other orphanages, government schools, animal welfare shelters and old age homes while I worked on my projects and attended service classes and so I didn’t expect anything to be different this time. I prepared a timetable and a few easy quizzes for the children just like I always did. We left at 11:00 am and it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to reach the orphanage. We got down from our buses, I was the first one to get down and I was listening to music on my headphones when suddenly, I saw around 30 students running towards me. First, I thought they were going to throw stones at me for trespassing but as they came closer, things became clearer to me, they were all smiling and screaming “didi aa gayi”. I had never met any of those girls before and they all came and hugged me. As three of them held my hand, we walked towards the building – I felt an overwhelming sense of varied emotions.

As we went inside, my friend and I approached the lady in charge, and I asked her how they knew us? She said that they told them a group of young women were going to come to spend time with them and that they were overcome with happiness. I ran upstairs to the room where the orientation was being conducted and within 15 minutes, I made three friends there, the same girls who held my hand and walked me to the building. The three of them were of different ages, one was 11, the other one was 13 and another one who was my age, 15. The first task I had planned was to get to know them and so I asked them a question, something that changed me, “what’s your story?”

I didn’t realize what was going on until I was walking back to my bus after spending 3 hours with these children, each of whom began to have an impact on me. None of them had parents, no place of their own, no siblings either, some of them did not even know who their parents were? But, they had one thing which so many of us take for granted, they were happy.

Those 3 hours meant so much more to me than the many years I lived. The entire journey back to the Academy, I played music and I told myself how much disadvantage I had been taking of the privileges that I was given. From that day onwards, I made sure I was content with what I had, I made sure I was humble, and I was grateful to everyone who was a part of my development and my growth.

This experience and opportunity is something my school, AKA Hyderabad, offered me and I will always be grateful for it. It made me become a kinder person.

I am proud to be at AKA Hyderabad.

Arzoo Vastani