Belonging to Shopian town in south Kashmir, Adeeba Tak and originally from the same district Muhammad Moin Mir came into the limelight last year, after securing scholarship based admission into coveted IVY league institutions in the United States. The journey from Shopian to their respective prestigious institutions, University of Pennsylvanian and Princeton University, has been a life-changing experience for both Adeeba and Moin.
With fame and success, has come a sense of responsibility among the young achiever duo which is currently on a 3-month summer vacation in the Valley. The urge to pay back to their homeland Kashmir has made them join hands to launch an initiative Wath (the path).
As per Moin, Wath will help hand-hold students from standard 8 to standard 12 in shaping-up their careers in unconventional professional streams. “By and large the two careers most sought after here are medicine and engineering. We want to guide students in fulfilling their aspirations of getting into streams such as aviation, graphic designing, art and design, journalism etc,” said Moin. “After getting the Princeton admission last year, I have received hundreds of curious calls from parents and students on the way forward in career. Wath is an initiative to guide such students and parents across the lengths and breadths of the Valley towards evolving careers,” says Moin. Both Adeeba and Moin are all praises for Rise Institute which helped them shape-up their career. “Rise opened a window to a whole new world. It did a lot good to us and now is time for us to do our bit,” says Adeeba.” We are hoping that this initiative will be as big in other districts and towns as in Srinagar,” she says.
Adeeba who is pursuing her mechanical engineering at University of Pennsylvania in the US says it was initially the transition from Shopian to Srinagar during her standard 11 studies that brought-in the realisation regarding lack of guidance and facilities school students in her home town face. Adeeba says during last one year she has been invited by schools and other institutions for interactions with students during which she realised that it is important to shape-up young minds to help them choose a particular career path. “It was an altogether different world in Srinagar when I came here for tutions. There was so much in terms of knowledge about avenues which students in Shopian were not exposed to,” says Adeeba. “This last one year in the wonderful university back in US has taught me what experiential learning is. The educational system there is such that you are not stuck to a stream after choosing it. Even today I have the option of switching from mechanical engineering even after spending a year in it,” says Adeeba. “We want to leverage on our learning and help students realize their dreams of pursuing a career in any unconventional stream,” said Adeeba whose father is a government employee and mother a housewife. Adeeba says she had to not just work hard to make it to University of Pennsylvanian but be courageous in doing what no one from the town had earlier achieved. “Peer pressure is such as important factor in choosing of careers in Kashmir. Friends, family, relatives….all of their expectations and what not. We went through it but now with Wath we want to provide a professional platform to 8-12 standard students in choosing the unconventional careers,” says Abeeba. Moin whose upbringing has happened in Srinagar says Wath the initiative has been divided into three phases. To begin with the achiever duo of Moin and Adeeba are planning to hold a workshop in Srinagar between August 17-19. “We will finalise the venue for the workshop soon. In the second stage Wath intends to become a bridge between students and industry for creating internship opportunities,” says Moin. Adeeba is quick to add that lack of internship culture for high-school students is a lacuna in the educational system in this part of the world. “I was here for 3 months and wanted to do an internship but could not find a suitable place. With our initiative we want more students to get exposure to the real professional workplace culture,” says Adeeba. As per the duo, mentorship is the third important focus area of Wath as a part of which the school students will be mentored by students of prestigious universities and colleges. “We are using an online platform for this in which bright minds will be mentoring aspiring ones,” says Moin. When asked how the initiative will work once the duo is away in the US after their summer break, Moin says they have a team in place in Kashmir. “We will manage a lot through internet and already have a team present here,” Moin says.