“I strongly believe the TeachAIDS methodology will have a profound impact, particularly across the villages of Assam. Between my acting efforts and my legal profession, I come in contact with countless villagers who yearn for education and are keen on learning about ways to improve the health conditions for themselves and their families. I am extremely pleased that these materials have been formally approved by our government and will be put across to millions of young people.” – Zerifa Wahid
Zerifa Wahid, known as the “Leading Lady” of Assamese cinema, will play the role of the female student in the Axomiya language version of the TeachAIDS animations. A celebrated actress across film, television, and theater, Wahid is also a practicing lawyer in the Gauhati High Court, which serves the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh. Most recently, Wahid was bestowed the highest honor by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, at the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema. The actress was recognized as a luminary of Assamese cinema at the event that took place in Chennai, Tamil Nadu earlier this year.
Wahid started her acting career as a child star in Abhimaan, followed by numerous leading roles in films, television series, and stage plays. While attending school, she simultaneously managed to balance her career in acting while playing the heroine in a variety of Assamese feature films, television shows, music videos, and commercials. Her filmography is comprised of popular film titles of Assamese cinema such as Nayak, Tumi Mor Mathu Mor, Kadambari, and Ahir Bhairav, among others.
More recently, Wahid starred in Baandhon, a film that received national acclaim, garnering the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Assamese and Best Indian Film at the Bengaluru International Film Festival. She has also received Best Actress by the Government for Assam for her performance in the film Agnisakshi.
In 2007, she launched her own production company, Zerifa Wahid Productions, to promote the success of theater and the performing arts in Assam. The production house has several aims, including educating the public in the performing arts, producing socially relevant plays, and creating a space for the best directors and performers in the state to exhibit their work. She has had numerous successes, including producing and performing in “Nagamandala,” which was selected in the Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards with nominations in 10 categories in 2012.
In addition to her acting accolades, Wahid has demonstrated a strong commitment to social causes. Many of the plays from her production house support and promote social causes such as child labor, substance abuse, cancer, autism, and more. She has also set up a legal panel to support survivors of domestic violence, and serves an Ambassador of the Assam Autism Foundation and Bharat Special Olympics (Assam Chapter). An avid learner, Wahid also holds a B.A. in History and LL.B. in Law from Gauhati University as well as an M.A. in History from Delhi University.
Wahid feels that TeachAIDS materials would be especially interesting for youth, saying, “This interactive tool will be especially interesting for our younger generation because it’s very difficult to hold their attention. Using the traditional bookish approach is not effective for their learning. You can’t give them information booklets and expect that they will read and understand. However, if they interact with an animated production like TeachAIDS, I know that it will improve their learning and understanding significantly. It’s truly the best way of educating people on ways to protect themselves from such ailments.”
We are immensely pleased to welcome Wahid to TeachAIDS. In partnership with local stakeholders and the support of Assam’s esteemed Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, the Axomiya language version of the TeachAIDS software will be made available for free to the more than 31 million people throughout the state.
Photo: Animated character of Zerifa Wahid as the female student in a scene from the Axomiya language version of TeachAIDS animations.