Mumbai, 1st February 2022: A Twitter thread went viral when Shaheena Attarwala, a Design Leader at Microsoft, recently tweeted about her experiences growing up in a slum. She shared how those experiences shaped her and how she turned her life around for the better. Her Twitter thread had over 4,000 likes and hundreds of comments.
Spotting her old home on Bad Boy Billionaires: India, she tweeted, “The Netflix series “Bad Boy Billionaires – India” captures a birds-eye view of the slum in Bombay I grew up before moving out alone in 2015 to build my life. One of the homes you see in the photos is ours. You also see better public toilets which were not like this before.”
“Life in the slum was hard, it exposed me to severest living conditions, gender bias, & sexual harassment but it also fueled my curiosity to learn & to design a different life for myself,” Shaheena tweeted.
By the time Shaheena reached the age of 15, she observed that many women around her were dependent on others, facing abuse and had no freedom to make their own choices. She was determined that she won’t follow the same cycle and carved a new path towards her future.
Shaheena was fascinated by computers and technology since her school days. She firmly believed that it will create numerous opportunities for her. But unfortunately due to her grades, she was allotted to a class on needlework instead of computer science. But Shaheena was determined and she continued to pursue her dream of having a career in technology. She asked her father to borrow money so she could attend a computer class.
She further tweeted, “In 2021, my family moved to an apartment where we can see the sky from home, good sunlight & ventilation, being surrounded by birds & greenery. From my father being a hawker & sleeping on roads to having a life, we could barely dream of. Luck, hard work & picking battles that matter.”
Her choice of making a career in design comes from her beliefs that design makes her believe that possibilities exist and technology can bring about change.