Hussain Zaidi

Swarthmore College

A first-year student from Lahore, Pakistan, Hussain intends to major in Biochemistry with a focus on Medical Anthropology/Public Health at Swarthmore College. His work on and off campus illustrates a profound commitment to increasing equity and decreasing discrimination through a combination of education, advocacy, and public policy. On campus, Hussain is a tutor with Dare 2 Soar (Swarthmore's oldest after-school tutoring program) and a coordinator with Learning 4 Life. Off campus, Hussain established his own non-profit organization, which works to improve the lives and conditions of the transgender population in Lahore, Pakistan. In summary, I view Hussain as a key player in the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders - able to innovate and collaborate with key stakeholders. I am confident that he will take on his role as a Newman Civic Fellow with an unmatched drive and determination in his continuous endeavor to work towards social justice.

Valerie Smith
Swarthmore College

Personal Statement

Being different in a society heavily regulated by backwards mindsets and outdated legislation puts a lot of pressure on those brave enough to do so. My project, Pehchaan was the first youth-led attempt at assisting Pakistan's LGBTQ+, specifically trans gender people's, communities, who are discriminated regularly as a result of the societal and religious stigma attached to their existence. Our work started off in the form of an awareness campaign educating students about the discrimination faced by such communities and the ill-treatment they experience, but I slowly realized that the only way lasting change for the community could be created was by changing the social factors and legislature that has subjected them to those conditions in the first place. The project focuses on creating sustainable employment schemes for under-privileged trans-gender individuals to improve their socio-economic conditions and provide safer working opportunities of their choice, while it is also actively involved in helping draft legislation with the Government of Punjab and Human Rights Ministry of Pakistan that forces the government to implement inclusive schemes of health-care and welfare for these populations. We hope to initiate change that is critical for the existence of one of Pakistan's most vulnerable populations.

Hussain Zaidi
Honors Biochemistry, Medical Anthropology/Public Health: Class of 2022
written 2019

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