KOCHI: “My friend was trying for a baby for 10 years only to have a miscarriage while travelling on the Kundannoor road recently. The other day, a young biker lost his life when he fell into a pothole. We’re taxpayers and yet, we don’t have the most basic facilities,” says Aaziya Shafi, founder of the 'Women of Kochi', an organisation bent on speaking for people.
And this time, she’s chosen the roads of Kochi. ‘Walk for Better Roads’ is her campaign wherein a walk will be held from 8 am-10.30 am on Saturday. Lead by Mary Matilda, former principal of Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, the walk will commence at Subhash Park and conclude at the High Court Junction.
Aaziya, a blogger and makeup artist, is no stranger to such activism. Last year, Aaziya’s relative was asked to remove her bra for the NEET examination, citing the presence of metal hooks. Taking the bull by its horns, she saw to it that the issue was brought to the forefront. “That happened during my vacation in Kerala,” says Aaziya, who was formerly settled in Dubai.
Post the incident, Aaziya realised she wanted to be in the country to help and empower people. She moved over, settled in Tripunithura, and started the registered collective.
“Women of Kochi is a group of like-minded people. Currently, we have about seven to eleven members. Post the campaign, registration will be open. Women of Kochi is not an exclusive organisation for women. Anyone is welcome to join and help towards the cause,” she says. Started in January 2019, Women of Kochi made their mark with soap-making workshops to train and empower women and providing awareness classes on safety and physical abuse in schools.
“We also held mental health awareness classes. And on the legalities of reporting abuse. There are so many problems that people face daily here, and no one is talking about them enough,” she says.
As a collective, does Aaziya have plans for the group? “We have no such grand plans. But Women of Kochi aims to resolve problems affecting the people here. We will bring them to the forefront and fix them,” says Aaziya with a hint of pride in her voice.