When I arrived at the Hope Project Charitable Trust this year, I was greeted by so many friends and associates. I found out from them about the amazing progress going on in the TSP/Hope​ Partnership Programs.

           Zuleikha/TSP with Hope Project Director Samiur Rahman and TSP Facilitators

The three Facilitators I have trained are working inside of Hope’s designated areas of Education, Livelihood, and Health.

Parveen covers different neighborhoods inside and outside Nizamuddin Basti area and laughs with her women’s groups as she shows them how self-care exercises bring stress relief and joy in that very moment. She also works with women inside of the health clinic, when situations call for self-care.

Shaheen loves seeing the teenage girls find confidence and courage in their bodies after engaging every day in the self-care exercises (in what is called the Girls’ Nonformal School). She also brings the self-care program to the Kindergarten and Support classes.

Zeyba inspires the women who are working inside of the thrift and credit Self Help Groups. There are at least 80 groups with 12-15 in women in each group. She visits other women’s organizations in the area and leads the Vocational Training groups as well.

Hira is overseeing all of this, as a part of her Administrative Assistant position in the Hope Project. She brings clarity and humor. And the Director of Hope, Samiur Rahman, is always showing me something new and brainstorming with me about how to make it all work.

Hope Project facilitator Zeyba leading TSP self-care exercises

The TSP programs have been going on year after year inside this Nizamuddin Basti area. I have worked so hard learning different ways to communicate with the people of Hope and the community, doing exercises, sitting with women in burkas, hanging out with street kids, making jokes about the body in my “baby Hindi language” with teenage girls, drinking tea with everyone, and it is all coming into perspective. Now when I am out walking in the Basti often I am stopped by women and girls I don’t know, who look at me and say, “Zuleikha, Exercise?” Zeyba says she also is having this same unusual experience. This way of helping the women learn about stretching is really working. Now they know this is a real thing. Isn’t that amazing!

Hope Project Cutting and Tailoring Program

Many of the women who are in the Vocational Cutting and Tailoring Livelihood program have sore backs and necks, from bending over the cutting table or sewing machine. They actually like the Self-Care exercises, once we start, yet the idea of doing them is, like in all countries met with “I don’t have time” or “I don’t feel well today.” Somehow the teachers and TSP facilitators are taking this program so seriously that they not only encourage the young women to join, they tell them “it is time, let’s go!” And so everyone comes along to the library, and we all end up laughing and enjoying it.

I am so touched, pleased, and in awe that something I feel so strongly about is now being carried by others. Most cool and wonderful.


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