Pakistan

Ajji’s: Changing Lives through Creativity

There’s a saying that states, ‘We are more creative when we are vulnerable’. Well I got a glimpse of that roughly a week ago. A few days back a friend told me about an arts n crafts event at a house in Johar town, Lahore. To be honest Lahore is a happening city and there are so many events going on throughout the week that it’s impossible to take time out of our busy schedule to go to most. Even though an arts enthusiast myself, I was reluctant at first but there was one thing, a hook that compelled me or rather I would say a feeling that I couldn’t just say no to. It wasn’t a regular arts n crafts exhibition, it had more to it, a higher purpose that in these times of poverty, instability and uncertainty in Pakistan, is hard to find.

The ‘hook’ I mentioned, is an incredible person with an even more incredible story, doing the most incredible thing; changing other lives for betterment. The person I’m talking about is Mrs. Azra Saeed, an inspiration for all of us and a messiah for some. Nicknamed ‘Ajji’ by her late husband, Mrs. Azra Saeed has raised her children as a single mother and that’s been very difficult and challenging for her. After being widowed, she took over her husband’s construction business but that didn’t went well as her inner artist became agitated. After keeping things from falling apart, she held her composure and actually started making things! Yes that’s right Mrs. Azra started making arts and crafts all by herself. Initially with recycled and items of daily use, she started making small decorations, vases, baskets, wall-hangings and more.

Now talking about the exhibition, the venue and in this case her house was so colorful and looked like a rich vivid aurora! From bed sets, cushions and floor seats to kid’s toys, she has a wide range of products. The event took place on the 7th of October 2017 and was attended by close friends and relatives. You can also visit Facebook page, her Instagram account “ajjiart” and see few glimpses of the event.

In the title of this blog post I wrote ‘changing lives through creativity’ and there is a reason for it. Obviously Mrs. Azra Saeed can’t mass produce these items all by herself, she does it by involving less fortunate or I must say struggling mothers who also want to change their lives for the betterment of their families. Thankfully I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to her as she shared her story with teary eyes but with a proud smile on her face. She talked about her two children and how well settled they are in their lives that makes her extremely delighted.

She emphasized on empowering women in a patriarchal Pakistani society and a good chunk of her revenue also goes to the poor. She’s helping and teaching how other women can spill out their creativity and make some livelihood just by sitting at home and change not just their lives but all others associated with them. People like ‘Ajji’ are our heroes, they are the ones who shape societies, motivate and inspire us to give something back to humanity.

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