Hellooo Loyal Blog Readers,
Yes, I promised to introduce you to eight Kurdish girls who in their own ways are creating great change in their societies and are running after their dreams, young girls I admire so much. This week I am excited to introduce you to Saz! (No, not Saza, and not me, Sazan, but SAZ!) That is, if you don’t already know her.
I first saw Saz in a Peer Education Training we did for volunteers of the I CAN organization in Slemani, before we even began her black glasses, long dark hair, energy and smile (with dimples) got my attention. She was the person you are friends with before you even say “hello!” to. It only took half of the first training day to see Saz as a sparkling young Kurdish girl who can own the world with her bubbly personality, views and perspective of life, more importantly her willingness to help people. Later I learned she hosts a TV show and does a lot of other things, hard to image this girl has 24 hours in her day, just like the rest of us. She lives a life full of colour, bringing herself challenges only because she is full of ambition. I have no doubt one day very soon she will be Kurdistan’s very own Oprah Winfrey (but much younger!) or lead a great organization, company or take part in politics. A role model, and a success story of a Kurdish girl who is pursuing her dreams, one day at a time. I threw a whole lot of questions at Saz, so get your chai ready (if you’re outdoors in Hawler and it’s boiling hot then resort to cold water instead) and read what she had to say.
Let’s get started, shall we?!
Name: Saz Aso
Place: Born and raised in Slemani (Sulaimaniya)
Education: Soon a business graduate from AUIS
Mandalawi: Let’s start broad, how would you introduce yourself? What do you do?
Saz: There are a lot of ways to describe who I am, this doesn’t mean I have different personalities, but different characters. I’m momy’s and daddy’s little girl. When I’m home and around my family, I feel like a little girl, and I love that feeling! This is only at home, but in regular time, I’m a very passionate, optimistic, and energetic girl! I make things simple, and I feel like if I set my mind into something, there is no way I will not do it of-course if it is reasonable. I never say, nothing is impossible, and I don’t believe in that because I don’t like fooling myself! Life is life, ups and downs, impossible things and possible.
However, even the things that I believe that they are impossible to be done, I take my steps to it and try to accomplish something in the few steps I make toward it, and learn from it. I like to keep busy, I love working in the fields that I like! Because I believe that if you don’t like a job, or a certain thing in your life, you can never be creative in it, or do it in the best possible way. Also, another thing that you have to know about me is that, I can handle a lot of pressure without losing hope in the matter. People always tell me how strong I am, but I think it is because I don’t show much emotion and I’m always positive even in the hardest times. I literally take everything bad in my-life, think about it by myself, find something positive in it, and move on! I always believe that life is so short and fun, no worth wasting it by negativity, hatred, stress, and some other things that will only take positive energy from you. One last thing, When I said I’m energetic yes I meant it! I love music, I love parties, I love going out with friends and having fun, and I love singing! Everything in my life is accompanied by a song! Even in exam time!
Mandalawi: What’s your journey so far, how did you get to where you are today?
Saz: First of all, I’m a Business student in the American University of Iraq, this is my 7th semester, one semester to go and I will graduate. I’m a TV show host, I had a show on NRT2 channel called “warzi NRT2” it was a social program talking about daily problems of people and people’s achievements. It was three times a week, one hour and a half! It was so much pressure with university, but I managed to do it. I did 50 episodes and I stopped, but only stopped in that channel, nobody knows what I have next. I’m also a Peer Educator and loving it because I feel like im doing something positive and beneficial for the community and my society. Moreover, I’m a member and a women activist in MOR Organization which is a women rights organization.
I’m a volunteer in I Can org. Hiwa hospital for cancer-stricken children, and in Kurdistan Save the Children institute. I write, so I’m a writer in “Freedom Writers newspaper” I happen to be the editor of the women page in the newspaper, and one of the founders of the newspaper. I’m also a member of a Student Mediation Club in my university. Last thing on the list is an honor I got in Ireland-Dublin by attending a One Young World summit as a Kurdish delegate representing Kurdistan, and I got the certificate of becoming Ambassador of OYW 2014!
My journey has been great so far! Had a lot of ups and downs, but the ups were always more. I have worked hard and will continue like this toward my goals and what I want to achieve. If a plan didn’t work for me, I changed my plan but never my goal, and I made it work. I have faced difficulties, negative comments from people saying I want a lot in life, so I will never get anything because I am greedy. Greedy is bad, but only in money. Yes I’m greedy when it comes to my goals and that greediness is passion and ambitions. The support of my family, and so many people have got me going to where I am today.
Mandalawi: What is your passion? What do you live for?
Saz: Interesting question! My passion is not in one thing to be honest, its all over my education, my show, music, fashion, and etc. and what I live for? Hmm I live for my family, my goals, my friends, and I sometimes live for today! Though I always think about the consequences and results of my steps in life to be honest. Also, I live for my country. In everything I do, I think about the part of it that will drive positive change in the society and in my country, and actually most of the things I do is for the making changes not self-interest.
Mandalawi: How is a day in your life like?
Saz: A normal day would be going to university, drink a lot of tea till I’m awake! Going to university’s gym, having lunch with friends, finishing the lectures, and if there is an interesting debate or an event in university, I always attend. After that I go to work after for about 5 hours. This changes because sometimes I have the volunteer works, so instead of gym or work, I do those.
Mandalawi: Your source of support? What or who keeps you going?
Saz: Family, my close friends, and people in general!
Mandalawi: What challenges do you face in what you do?
Saz: From the beginning when I started the show, and appeared almost every-day on TV, few people were against me doing a big show saying I have no experience or what so ever in Media! And that I’m not good enough. Well, I agree with them, it was my first time sitting in-front of a camera! And I started with live shows one hour and a half 3 times a week! It was not easy! But I continued, and proved them wrong.
Also, another difficulty was people around me saying I should not do that because I’m a business student and it has nothing to-do with media! And girls in Kurdistan they are safe, and better off if they are away from Media and cameras! But no! I never listened and believed in what I do, so many of those people are supporting what I do now thank God. But all this was nothing for me, my biggest challenge for now and have been my balancing between education and work. I become very tired that words cannot describe it having university and exams, and preparing for the show and appear energetic and fine in-front of the camera after being in university for alomost 7 or 8 hours!
There were times where I prayed to God not faint in-front of the camera for people to not say look she cannot handle pressure! Because I wanted to deliever a positive message to young Kurdish girls that if they want to do something, they can! No matter what. I always remind myself what are my goals, and that I’m young and capable of doing all this. With my own support I get refreshed and stay focused to continue the best way. Ofcourse I’m a human being and I’m not saying there are no times where the obstavles and the challenges brings me down and I’m like: “That’s it! Im done” but it’s only for a short period of time, after that I become myself again, saying: “What! Giving up! No! that’s so not me.”
Mandalawi: Anything we should keep an eye on? Future plans/ projects?
Saz: Yes! My next project (show) will be something different hopefully, can’t say much about it for now.
Mandalawi: Three dreams in your life
Saz: I will make it four dreams, Become a very successful business woman, become one of the top TV host in Kurdistan (I will not go far for now!) and travel around the world, and one day, even if I’m very old, I want to become a Kurdish woman leader! And I don’t necessarily mean in politics, maybe leading women rights, or human rights institure that will be talked about in history (dream big they say).
Mandalawi: Any advice for other girls in Kurdistan
Saz: Any advice for other girls in Kurdistan: Don’t ever listen to those who think you cannot do it! Some will make culture a reason to stop you, some will make your reputation, and some will just do anything to bring you down and stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. Always be strong! Say “I can do it… I can make the changes I want to see in the world” Also, do not hate on other people when they accomplish something you have not, take that hatred, make it a positive force to make you achieve better things than them. Never be afraid of trying, but always remember to stay humble, simple, and put personality and your principles in life before everything.
Next week it’s a very different person who is always doing amazing work. So do drop by, for now…
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan