773 54 January 2019

“my dad is a mechanical engineer, but he had to work as a pizza delivery man during his first years in canada. my mom is a doctor, but she had to work as a cashier in tim hortons. my parents worked so hard to build a life for me and my siblings here; that’s put a lot of pressure on my siblings and myself to succeed and make our parents proud. i’ve been writing diary entries since i was in grade six; i have a decade worth of journals. in the diaries, i always reminded myself of my goal of making my parents proud. i would come home exhausted from school and clean the entire house for my mom. i would shovel the snow outside with my brothers and dad. being pakistani, the importance of family is greatly emphasized. there’s no such thing as “family life” in pakistani culture; your family is your life.”
hafsah is 19, a nursing student at the university of calgary, a social media ambassador for her school, a behavioural aide for a child with autism, and a henna artist. she also volunteers as a photojournalist with “humans of ucalgary” (inspired by humans of new york.) she told me “there is an intrinsic need for humans to feel valued and empowered, especially as part of a community, and that’s what i aim to do with the work i do.” when she is not doing all of the above, she loves finding herself alone in a park, watching the birds fly by and the people walk past. it’s the simple things that make her the happiest. when i asked hafsah what her proudest achievement is she told me, “running for vice president in high school. i struggled with insecurity for years as a south asian muslim. i hid my brown-stained skin, my lunch that smelled like curry, and my arms that were hairer than my peers. i went from hiding my face in hallways to having it plastered on posters in the hallways. this was the first time i truly i felt confident in my identity. it was my first step in presenting myself to the world, in a sense.”
❗️👇continued in comments 👇❗️

Likes (773)

Comments (54)

@culturedquestions January 2019

I’m going through very similar to what your parents went through! great to read about how you’re combining your passions in what you do ma 😄 good reminder about the detachment from results.

@allisonyoussef January 2019

I love @_hafsah ‘s vulnerability and alia, this shot is gorgeous 💛

@dreamerinstars January 2019

@_hafsah 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩q u e e b

@ashharkq January 2019

Being a metallurgical engineer, i can relate.

@creative__home January 2019

I am sure your parents are so proud of you... 💖💖💖

@tingting_yan January 2019

@_hafsah our inspiration!!! 💕

@k.bhanji February 2019

@_hafsah this is amazing!!

@h4diqa February 2019

Love this so much @_hafsah

@wajeeehahassan February 2019

@_hafsah for president 🙌

@rashasyeda February 2019

My girl you are such a proud of our family.. love you much 😘😘😘 @_hafsah ❤ i wish i could hug you tightly 🤗

@filzahm21 February 2019

@_hafsah you are amazing, i love this ❤️

@hajer_bm February 2019

@_hafsah a great inspiration mashalah proud of you hafso 😘😘 you are amazing!! i am always amazed by you and your efforts to excel in whatever you do !! ❤️❤️❤️

@fizzaowais February 2019

Omg hafsa so proud of you! ❤❤❤

@ben.cooperj February 2019

@_hafsah you really are awesome

@abbydarwish February 2019


@iamkaisarmir May 2019

May god bless u with all of his blessings @_hafsah

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Combatting negative stereotypes of Muslim women by showcasing the diverse & inspirational stories of them Concept, photos & words by @aliayphotography