Faridah Lakhani - epitomising self-learning and personal growth | Aga Khan Academies

Faridah Lakhani - epitomising self-learning and personal growth

Faridah joined AKA Hyderabad in 2012 and has since worn as many hats as the number of years she has spent here. Initially appointed as PA to the incumbent Senior School Principal (Raymond Zinsli), Faridah has gone on to occupy roles in several different facets of the Academy’s operations. 

She has represented the Academy during talent identification trips alongside admissions officers. She worked as a learning support specialist in the SEN (Special Education Needs) department. In her capacity as community liaison, she recruits host families for international students from conflict areas. She is instrumental in the organisation of the annual graduation ceremony and in the creation of the yearbook. For the last two years, Faridah has also been responsible for coordinating various events in the outreach department, such as the Collaborative Discussion Forums, which facilitate exchanges between Academy teachers and their government school counterparts. In between, she is often to be seen chaperoning students on field trips, participating in city runs and rallies, and volunteering to put together staff get-togethers and farewell parties. 

These varied projects and activities are a testament to Faridah’s dynamism, eternal enthusiasm to learn, and diverse skill set. She is well-known for her graciousness and poise, while her beaming smile and affable spirit enable her to connect with people from all walks of life. “Usually a job comes with a set of criteria and does not allow you to explore other fields of interest,” she shares. “But I owe a lot to Mr. Ray, who played a major role in finding the best position available for me. To be able to focus on projects like the yearbook, or setting up a special learning support department – things which truly interest me, and bring out the best in me – is something I would never have discovered if not for the Academy.” 

Faridah’s personal growth has been paralleled by the giant strides AKA Hyderabad has made in scope and size since it began. “When we started out, we knew we had to set the standard for what the future would hold. The vision and the philosophy of His Highness the Aga Khan has been taught to us since when we were children; to see a culmination of this in the form of a school that aspires to raise leaders of tomorrow was immensely gratifying. And to have been a part of this process from the very beginning has been a true honour.”  Faridah speaks joyfully of the day His Highness the Aga Khan visited the Academy in 2013. “I was asked to give the family a campus tour and try to show them as many parts of the school as was possible. This daunting task was both a privilege and a chance for me to truly utilize everything that I had learnt thus far through my work at the Academy, and put it to practical use.” 

Of all the things she is involved in, perhaps the one that is closest to her heart is the yearbook. Rightfully so, considering she was responsible for initiating it in 2014-15. “I really wanted to implement the tradition of the yearbook here at the Academy, because I felt like it was a great way for students to always remember their school and their friends. We worked hard that first year to raise a budget, find a printer and gather the content. But all the efforts paid off when, at the graduation ceremony, we got to give the students something they could take away with them and use as a reminder of their time here.” 

Faridah is concurrently completing a B.Ed in Learning Disabilities, and hopes to gain more experience in this area in the future. “Working with children and helping them grow to be the best versions of themselves has always been very fulfilling for me personally. Learning is a lifelong process and the best way to learn is to be in an environment that facilitates self-learning and personal growth.” 

Written by Kamini Menon