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Interview

Aayat Aziz.

My name is Aayat Aziz and I am an 18 year old from Kashmir. I am the Managing Director of Paper Planes Kashmir, a modest initiative by teenagers to create awareness about mental health. I am currently an IBDP student at The International School Bangalore(TISB). Till my grade 10, I studied at SRM Welkin School Sopore, Kashmir. Living in two different cities has made me resilient and  shaped my perspectives.

I see that you’re part of Paper Planes Kashmir. Could you tell us a little about the initiative and what you hope your audience gets from it?

Paper Planes Kashmir is a mental health advocacy platform where we aim to create awareness about mental health and destigmatize it. We create original content about types of mental issues, social issues which in turn lead to mental issues and motivational content to spread positivity. We also have weekly instagram live sessions with experts to address questions that the audience have around mental health.

What motivated you to become the head of Paper Planes Kashmir? Furthermore, what advice would you give someone who is wanting to launch their own start-up but are held back due to the fear of commitment and responsibilities?

Serving my community has always been my passion and during the pandemic, a lot of people were dealing with mental issues and I wanted to do something to give people hope in trying times. Also, Seeing myself struggling and not knowing where to go prompted me to start this initiative as an offshoot of Paper Planes Bangalore. If I have to give advice, I would say put your heart and soul in whatever you do, and have a balance between your study, work and personal life.

I saw your feature on The Purple Diary Project, in which you stated that you enjoy art/creative advocacy. Could you tell us a little about that?

I am a person who loves art and takes Theatre as one of my subjects in high school. I always wanted to create change through the medium of art as it is universal. I have been involved with a lot of advocacy platforms online to create awareness about various issues like girl education,gender equality, mental wellbeing, bullying etc.

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

After schools were shut, I was forced to move back to kashmir. Studying online and submitting all assignments on time due to government restrictions on the internet was hard and took a toll on my mental health.  I started involving myself in the arts, volunteering and cooking helped in my daily routine.Coping up with everything was hard but involving a hopeful element to it made things better. I learnt that having an optimistic approach and creating opportunities out of challenges is all one needs to fight.

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

Eat healthy food, drink lots of water, and do whatever you feel like. Take breaks in between work because you are not a robot. The amount of money you earn doesn’t matter if you are not happy or you don’t take care of yourself. Enjoy every moment you have and treat yourself whenever you can coz why not? Loving yourself is the first step for a sound mind.

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

Mental health should be considered as important as physical health.Prioritising mental health is important as youth is more vulnerable to mental issues due to their competitive nature and pride. They don’t want to lose and get labelled as a failure. We need to understand failure is part of life and accept it. We need to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again and come back bolder and stronger.

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

We are open to any kind of collaborations. If you have any collaboration ideas for Paper Planes or with me, you can message us instagram or email us at @paperplaneskmr@gmail.com


Check Out Aayat and Paper Planes Kashmir!

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