Touching Lives-The Choreographer
Shenaz lives with her mother Yasmeen and three siblings…an older brother and two younger sisters. They live in one of the parks at Jama Masjid in central Delhi, along with a number of other shelter less families. Jama Masjid is a historical and religious place. The mosque was built during the Mughal times and is one of the largest mosques in India. Yasmeen, Shenaz’s mother earns her livelihood picking scraps. She earns about a $ 1 and 50 cents every day. Her father died when she was very young.
The family of Shenaz originally belongs to Arariya district of Bihar state. The family migrated to Delhi in search of work about 2 decades ago and since then they have been living in Jama Masjid area.
We met Shenaz during our work with other children of that area. We found her to be bright and interested to continue education. Shenaz used to pick scraps too. Once she started being regular in our study classes she gave up her work and concentrated on her studies. We admitted her in a government school.
Presently Shenaz is studying in 9th grade and is a topper in her class. She is regular in Butterflies study classes. We support her in her studies.
Shenaz participates in all Butterflies programmes. In the year 2012 Shenaz along with 8 other girls and boys visited Germany at the invitation of MISEREOR, a German Development Agency. They performed modern dance in various German schools and also taught German children a few steps of bollywood dance. Since 2010, Shenaz has performed in the youth festival organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Delhi government. It is a huge event and is performed at the central park, in the heart of Delhi city. She has been an effective advocate for girls’ education within her community. Shenaz is an icon in her community, most parents want to educate their daughters and not send them to work or get them married very young.
Shenaz has been a Child Health Educator as well and as a Child Volunteer Manager (CVM) in Children’s Development Khazana. During her tenure as a CVM she had motivated many children to become members of CDK and as a Child Health Educator she had helped children access medical treatment at the government hospital. In fact the government hospital staff recognizes her and is prompt in giving treatment to whoever she brings to the hospital.
Shenaz completed a basic computer course organized by the international IT Company Convergys.
Shenaz is actively involved in National Cadet Corps (NCC) in her school and she completed training on self defense organized by Delhi Police (WOMEN CELL) Force. Apart from learning modern dance Shenaz loves football and she was the goal keeper of the girls’ football team.
At the request of Shenaz we sought admission for her in a residential school in Dehradun. She voiced her concern that she was unable to concentrate on her studies while staying in the park. Her mother consented to it with a request that she should be able to visit her and talk to her on the phone. Today, Shenaz is in the final year of her higher secondary education. Butterflies keeps in touch with her on regular basis, the staff based in Dehradun visits her every month.
You just need to spend 10 minutes with her and you would come away feeling happy. She is cheerful, small things make her happy and she is determined to study and change her destiny for the better. Shenaz dreams to be an Indian Army officer or a modern dance choreographer.