Reinventing what it means to be human: Interview with Waseema Khawaja
For more than two decades, Waseema Khawaja, Headteacher of the Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi – Nursery School, has been encouraging young girls and boys to step out of the box they are placed in.
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Seeing how different children were when I first started working versus now is a key reminder in ensuring changes are equally present in the way we approach children, their education, their minds. What worked then would not work now, and therefore being willing to change with the minds of young children is a first start to moulding them in the right ways.

Over the last quarter century, I have seen gradual changes in children, as well as big leaps of change in parents. There’s a drive to make children fearless, enrolling them in activities, encouraging them to engage in conversations with adults, etc. This has brought about many changes in the way children carry themselves and consider themselves a part of society. Their confidence, courage, curiosity and awareness are remarkable.

What gives me hope for them is knowing that they are no longer compromising for the identity the world has created for them – they are reinventing their [own] identities. It equally gives me hope to see the world accommodating their curiosity and validating their thoughts. This will encourage them to think more, learn more and share more too.