As part of my series, I decided to visit my friend from school time, Zuha. Zuha is a 22 year old British Pakistani studying Medicine in London. She has known about my involvement in AWAKE for some time now, and often volunteered with my work at the Youth Project charity, doing what she could to give back to society as a privileged member of it herself. Here’s what we chatted about when I caught up with her:
Aadil: Hi Zuha!
Zuha: Hi Aadil, how are you? How was South Africa? How come you’re back?
Aadil: It was great thank you, we came back for lockdown to be with our families during this difficult time. We were in Johannesburg for part of the lockdown and things got really bad. The townships especially were really struggling with lockdown measures and the whole of society and the economy suffered greatly. It started to get better just before we came back to London though and now it seems much better than the UK!
Zuha: Yes, it’s awful here! I feel trapped and miss going out to see my friends…
Aadil: I guess where the UK has been so lucky compared to so many other countries on a whole variety of issues, this time we didn’t get so lucky. Reminds me of your video topic a bit i guess. Do you want to say a little bit about it?
Zuha: Well, I’m going to be discussing women’s reproductive rights around the world. In so many countries, women are forced into marriage and child-bearing at ridiculously early ages, sometimes forced to marry men much older than them without their consent. Countries in South America and South Asia, including my own Pakistan are renowned for this and it makes me sick. They don’t even get to live a real life, I’d say it’s close to slave labour or at least complete servitude of men. Then there’s the issue of contraception education and distribution, not to mention honour killings that ensue from disobedience or miscarriage. It’s a dark and disgusting situation that I barely touch on in my video, but I hope it’s the start of a serious that can raise awareness, create debate and perhaps even pressure governments into taking action as the conversation grows.
Aadil: I am already too familiar with this dreadful reality. I look forward to seeing your video and perhaps an entire series on the topic. Anything else you’d like to mention?
Zuha: I’d just like to thank you for creating this platform and making it so easy for me to voice my views on important issues. The world really needs this platform to grow right now. Let’s see what other young people bring to the app!
Aadil: Absolutely, I look forward to it too. Bye Zuha.
Zuha: Speak soon, Aadil!