Aaliya Mithaiwala.

Hey, my name is Aaliya Mithaiwala, i’m a grade 10 student currently writing my final exams for the last semester. I’m someone passionate about social service; this passion has stemmed from a personal loss a while back owing to which Aaliya’s aid was born. Apart from this my key area of interests would be political sciences, history & current affairs.

I see that you’re the founder of Aaliya’s Aid. Could you tell us a little about the initiative and what the overall goal of it is?

Aaliya’s aid essentially is a non-profit organisation that bridges the gap between those who want to help and those who need the help. We started almost a year back, over the course of which we’ve tied up with several NGO’s & charities to provide our services to them. May it be financial or humanitarian. Our largest tie up till date has been with an organisation called “Access Life” which is dedicated to providing childhood cancer care. We’ve conducted various workshops, visits and donation camps for the NGO. Through the course of this year we look forward to various other tie-ups to achieve our goal of providing aid to as many people as possible, while upholding our morals firmly in mind.

What inspired you to create Aaliya’s Aid? Tell us about some of the obstacles that came along the way and how you managed to overcome them.

Almost two years back I lost a close family member to Cancer. This changed me as I came to the realisation that there’s a whole different world beyond our comfort zone wherein people are suffering and dying. That’s when, for the first time the idea of starting Aaliya’s aid came to me. After continuous brainstorming, in June of 2019 Aaliya’s aid was born. Our key area of aid being Cancer care & people facing other chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS.  During the early course of our start, I faced various obstacles along the way. May it be unsolicited advice, discouraging acquaintances or other roadblocks. But overtime, seeing the work we did and the tasks we undertook it changed to praises & applauds. And naturally, any change will always be met with resistance, but resilience is when we’re correctly able to overcome that resistance.

What words of advice would you give to your younger self?  

I think one of the main pieces of advice i’d like to give my younger self would be to stop paying heed to what “others” say. They’ll keep talking but you do you! Only once you prioritise yourself & your needs above others is when you’ll be the best and truest version of yourself. Just focus on what you have laid out for you in the near future and strive to achieve it with everything that you have!

How has the pandemic affected you mentally? What things did you learn about yourself during the course of this pandemic that you didn’t know before?

I think that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on everyone mentally & physically. There’s been a vast switch of personality within me & i’ve noticed myself taking a different approach to things in life ; one that I may not have taken if the pandemic wouldn’t have hit us. I believe that pace of life for me and things around me has genuinely become slower. I’ve started to take things as they come and appreciate it for what it is. I’ve learned to prioritise and value family & friends above anything else and realised the need for humane touch in this world of social isolation. All in all, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me the value of life, and how unknowingly we underestimated the worth of every minute that we were safe & sound within the comfort of our homes. And that, we’ve all come to realise a different appreciation for our lives, one that’s here to stay.

What self-care practices do you recommend? Furthermore, why is it important to scope out time for yourself each day?

Watching a good crime thriller on netflix, eating my favourite foods & enjoying a good cup of coffee are by far my favourite self-care practices. I recommend each one who may be faced with any adversity, or something that might trouble them to chalk out some self-care practices that help them in relaxing and getting their mind off things. It could be anything, treating yourself to some comfort food & wine, going out to your favourite spot, could be the beach or a bakery or even a cafe! (with a mask & sanitiser, of course!) or listening to some good tunes. We often get so caught up in the everyday affairs of our life that somewhere we miss out removing time for ourselves. One thing’s for sure, this pandemic has definitely taught us the importance of self care & self-love in a world of chaos and panic.

Why do you think prioritizing mental health is so important, especially for youth?

In a world like today where work, money and employment is the need of the hour we’re so caught up in stabilizing our present and securing our future that we’ve forgotten to stop and think about our mental health, that being of the essence currently. A sound mind is the one that’s going to help us navigate through corona. Thus, prioritising mental health and looking out for ourselves is the smallest step we can take towards self love. Taking therapy if necessary, talking to loved ones & checking up on them are small but essential aspects of keeping our mental health in check. The youth today must understand that despite constant stigma from society, mental health must be spoken about and understood. If you have parents that stigmatise mental health issues like anxiety & PTSD, sit with them, be patient and talk them through these issues with calm & composure. Tell them why prioritising mental health is necessary & what good comes out of it.

What are your future plans for Aaliya’s Aid

In the near future, Aaliya’s aid looks to help significantly in the healthcare sector working for as           many causes as possible may it be malnutrition, child development, and other illnesses. We look to form more & more strategic relations with NGO’s to cater best to their needs while providing aid in terms of finances. We have quite a few activities and events laid out for the coming year that we’re looking to synthesize and work on very soon.

What does mental health mean to YOU?

Mental health to me, in it’s truest aspect means understanding what’s good for me, what triggers my anxiety, how to cope with it and knowing when to take some time off for myself. It’s the understanding of my flaws and allowing myself to work on them while giving myself enough time and space to do so. It also means that every decision I undertake must be from a rational and a practical point of view after correctly analysing the consequences attested with said decisions.

Is there anything else you would like Revive’s audience to know?

Aaliya’s aid is working round the clock to achieve it’s goal which wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for our dedicated team of volunteers & members. With that being said we’re always on the lookout for young minds that resonate with our cause and have something unique to bring to the table. From social media managers, to content creators, volunteers and writers for our magazine we have it all! If you feel for our cause and are passionate to provide your services, reach out to us at: 

Check out Aaliya and Aaliya’s Aid!

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