Muslima Niyozmamadova (Class of 2017): Embracing opportunities as a global citizen | Aga Khan Academies

Muslima Niyozmamadova (Class of 2017): Embracing opportunities as a global citizen

I was surrounded by rocky, naked mountains throughout my childhood. Little did I know that one day, I would have the opportunity to get my secondary education in one of the most prestigious Aga Khan institutions, which would then lead me to get accepted to the best university in Canada. I look back at the days in my childhood when I had to hike over six kilometers on the mountains during the frosty winters, to get to my school in Tajikistan. By the time I turned twelve, my life turned completely around when I got accepted to the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa with full financial aid and travelled thousands of miles away from home. Not only did I not have to commute to school in the cold anymore, but I was also given the opportunity to sculpt my raw mind and unstable character while learning from a very diverse community of peers and teachers in the IB curriculum.

The Academy cultivated me into a self-aware, empathetic, organized and balanced individual – it allowed me to develop my primary life goal of going back to Tajikistan and contributing to its development.  It all started when we were required to be involved with the community around us as part of the service requirements in IB. I started a project with my peers called “Little Angels”, where we provided orphan babies with resources and most importantly maternal and paternal love that they didn’t get from others. After a few years, this transformed into an initiative called “YOUTHeory” after I attended the Global Citizens Youth Summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the Summit, I was able to engage in conversations about pressing global issues of education and poverty, with the knowledge that the Academy equipped me with over the years. During the last two years of my IB, I devotedly worked to empower young people from the Kongowea slums, to exceed their circumstances through self-discovery and identifying their passions in life – the ambition was to provide these children with resources, direction and purpose and I believe we were very successful.

Aside from developing into a responsible global citizen, the Academy nurtured in me an endless list of vital qualities and skills which have helped me become the person I am today. I will never be able to express the deep gratification I feel towards those that took a part in it, especially Ms. Rukhshona who helped me stay rooted, Mr. Gumba, Mr. Prashant, Ms. Catherine and many more extraordinary mentors, who always believed in me, even during times when I stopped believing in myself. Thank you!

Currently, I am specialising in Architectural Studies at the University of Toronto and I am a recipient of the Ontario Tuition Waiver and the AKDN scholarship, which I received because the Academy believes in my potential. I am determined to use this opportunity to become an architect who will completely transform the urban landscape of Badakhshan and design buildings which will not only develop the land physically, but also progress the society’s thinking. I intend to find creative ways to preserve the culture and values of the people, while eradicating poverty, empowering males to excel in their education, reducing unemployment and encouraging others to be more involved citizens. After my studies here, I hope to get a Master’s degree at either Harvard or MIT, the two universities where His Highness the Aga Khan implement his curriculum for the study of Islamic Architecture. After this education, hopefully I will be equipped with the skills and knowledge that I need in order to transform Tajikistan.

By Muslima Niyozmamadova