Zomila Begum

Zomila: She talks and dances

Uzanbajar Shishu Vidyalaya & NEET's Community Library regular

The girl who smiles with her eyes

It was December last year when 7-year-old Zomila arrived in our Community Library with her elder sister Zarina. The library was as usual filled with the hurly-burly of the children and the educators were busy preparing them for an extempore speech competition. In the midst of all this, we decided to have a round of introductions of the new visitors. When Zomila’s turn came, she stood up and smiled, her eyes twinkling. Her sister told us that Zomila does not talk with anyone. It is not that she cannot speak: it is just that she chooses to not speak with everyone.

The first drawing

Zomila started spending days at the library watching her friends play. She would walk or lie on the carpet with a picture book or listen to stories. She slowly started to open up, responding to our questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or wishing us ‘good morning’ and saying ‘bye’ before leaving the library. One day in January, she asked us to give her some paper. She started to draw and when she completed her drawing, she showed us her masterpiece with a proud smile. Her sister Zarina couldn’t believe it was Zomila’s work – it took us some time to convince her. That day, Zomila started her journey of exploring her talents.


The first dance

Zarina came running to the educators and screamed, “Today Zomila will dance. She has learned to dance by watching YouTube dance tutorial videos. The song was played and Zomila started her dance. All the children crowded around her and cheered for her. It was a good day for her and she laughed as she danced.

A new Zomila

Zomila is playing a pairing game with her new friend Moromi. Moromi is a new visitor and Zomila is lecturing her on easy ways to find pairs. After playing, she gathers the play cards and puts them inside the box. She then takes her friend for a tour of the library, showing her the books, paintings and other games they can play together.

From the girl who refused to talk Zomila seems to have already come a long way: But her journey has only just begun – one filled with hope, opportunities and endless possibilities waiting to be explored.

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