My name is Raasti Said. I am a junior from Karachi, Pakistan majoring in Public Policy Studies and English. As a member of the Hart Leadership program and President of the Pakistani Students Association, I have learned to think deeply about social issues. There are a lot of issues in my country that I feel people need to know about. Initially, this is what inspired me to become a writer. But then, I discovered what I think is a more powerful way of conveying stories, and became fascinated by documentary.
Working on my documentary project with Tiffany not only gave me experience, it also gave me a new friend. Writing letters to her lawyer and judge about her legal issues, and giving her guidance during our late night phone calls was more fulfilling than anything in my academic career. As students we study social issues and about how to change society, but we rarely get the opportunity to delve into the human dimensions of a problem and help solve them. I hope I can stay in touch with Tiffany and that she will come to me for help when she is ready to apply to Durham tech.
I don’t know if I did justice to Tiffany’s story, and I don’t know if I even could have. The struggles she has faced are so difficult to imagine for the majority of us. Acquiring an education for most at Duke assumes we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and a place to come out of the cold. For many who live nearby, this option never even existed. I only hope that we as a society continue to create awareness about homelessness and one day this issue, and related social problems, can be eradicated.