Published: 01st May 2019
#YouGoGirl: This girl-powered club in Hyderabad is starting conversations on Islamophobia, Discrimination and more
Ayesha Syeda feels that, "We just want to share information and experiences. It doesn't have to amount to anything, but it surely might lead to something."
This might sound really silly," said Ayesha Syeda, when we asked her why she picked the name The Firefly Community for her organisation, "But one firefly might not be able to light anything up, while a community of them sure can." And that clearly summarises the purpose of this community — to get together in large numbers and shed light on topics that we would rather see recede into darkness. And what would these topics be, you ask? A screening of the movie Bachelor Girls and a discussion around all the stigma attached to living alone, especially for women; a workshop on Indian sign language and so on.
At BITS: At a session organised in collaboration with The Firefly Community | (Pic: The Firefly Community)
Ayesha (21, studying in Dr VRK Women's Medical College) and her sister Aaliya (18, studying in GITAM) along with Alifiya Khan (22, studying in ICFAI) and Neeti Sudarsi (19, studying in Apollo Institute of Medical Science and Research) came together to start The Firefly Community in June 2018. They organise talks and workshops around taboo topics and do it for good reason. "Three of us are Muslims while Neeti is from a minority caste. So, we have first-hand experience of what it is like to go through discrimination on the basis of gender and religion, and now, we want to talk about it. All around us, we see only boys organising such events, it has become such a boys' club. We, as girls, wanted to be heard too," says Ayesha.
By the end of May, they will tentatively conduct a workshop on their own
The Firefly Community has organised workshops on gender disparity at BITS and on mental health at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology as off now and they want to do a lot more with schools. They also had their own session during the Hyderabad Literary Festival called Out and About - Unraveling Queer Lives. They have also organised workshops on LGBTQIA+ and usually, when they do, people take them to be from the same community. "It's like they haven't even heard of the term 'allies'," says an exasperated Ayesha. Mental health is another subject which is close to their heart, especially because Ayesha has suffered from depression. "But I did not even know I was depressed, I thought I was in a perpetual bad mood," regrets Ayesha who wants to make sure that other youngsters don't have such regrets and learn to identify depression and, if possible, stop it in its tracks. "All this comes from a very personal space, these are not just workshops," states the second year medical student.
Full house: Participants during a session conducted by The Firefly Community | (Pic: The Firefly Community)
In the future, they want to conduct talks around Islamophobia and caste-based discrimination. And what advice does she have for young girls, who just like her, have faced discrimination? "Stand your ground and surround yourself with supportive people," she says.
Their previous events
- He for She: Recently, they conducted the second edition of He for She in collaboration with other communities. This helps every gender understand what role they play in making gender equality a reality.
- First Aid: A workshop on mental health was conducted at CBIT
- Ab Bas: In collaboration with others, they conducted this event where speakers included Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi; acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and others
For more on them, click on facebook.com/