Zain: "Despite the odds, we need to face our reflection. For just a moment's thought, is enough to best our darkest loss."
Issue X Emerging Empowerer Interview Empower
Interviewed by Dhanvi Nirmal
Edited by Hrudhai Chand
15th September, 2021
Zain, an Ashoka Young Change-Maker & a Global Teen Leader is a robotics enthusiast and expressive artist, making fiction, a reality and aiding humanity. He's most notably known for his work, ExoHeal, a project that combines robotics and neuroscience to help paralysed patients recover 30% faster. For this, he won 1st place in Social Innovation category at Diamond challenge and was previously selected amongst 20 Global Finalists at the Google Science Fair (2016 & 2019). Zain is an advocate for mental health and is now working towards developing a platform for teenagers to cope with their mental health.
Being able to dwell on many fields at the tender age of nineteen, does it feel pressurizing or independent?
Zain: Everything I do stems from a place of passion or innate curiosity. Hence, keeping my hands on multiple things has become quite natural and fulfilling for me. It makes me feel in control and independent!
If you had to choose one passion for the rest of your life, would it be poetry, photography or robotics?
Zain: If I had to choose one thing for the rest of my life, it would have to be robotics. I have a commitment to fulfil, which is to one day make a robot that would take care of all my mother's chores for her and all the other mothers around the world.
Watch our interview with Zain Samdani, Emerging Empowerer Feature of Issue X
Since you have achieved so many things already, what's your favourite accomplishment so far?
Zain: My favorite accomplishment so far has been being selected as a Global Finalist in the Google Science Fair. The event changed my perspective on my capacity and capability to make a positive impact in the world.
Do you think being a roboticist is the same as being an artist?
Zain: Being a roboticist is more about creating something that accomplishes a defined task or a set of tasks. Whereas being an artist is the expression of self through a medium such as poetry or painting to invoke various feelings in the audience. Being a roboticist and artist is complementary in many ways. Wherein creating art gives life to my creativity, robotics enables me to materialise it!
Do you incline yourself more towards earning a living out of your passion or being passionate about it because you enjoy yourself?
Zain: I'm inclined towards enjoying my passions. At the end of the day, I recall events and experiences that make me feel fulfilled. I believe that working in a field that you're progressively passionate about is very important as it will constitute a significant part of your life, which in essence would enable me to find ways of making a living out of my passion. I hope to one day be able to monetise my other passions, such as art and poetry.
The market and economy are constantly clashing among artistic and scientific professions. According to you, since you have a hold on both of these professions, which one is more prospering in nature?
Zain: I believe that the value art brings into this world can never be replaced by anything else. It's human nature to express and experience distinct feelings and emotions through various mediums of art. In today's (world) day and age, virtual art pieces are being sold for millions of dollars. The era of art has been rapidly changing. Despite all that, I still believe scientific professions are more progressive because with scientific progress comes the capability to impact the lives of millions of people!
I'm pretty sure there are a lot of nineteen-year-olds struggling to reach where you are. What are your thoughts on it, and do you have anything to tell them?
Zain: Many potential changemakers give in to their fear of not being capable enough to create a significant difference. However, as has been proven to me time and time again, a small start can turn into a much larger movement. For instance, my first big step was applying to the Google Science Fair. I vividly remember showing my mom that I hadn't done an excellent job with ExoHeal and that I'd make advancements, perform more tests and apply next year. But to my surprise, my seniors who applied that year intrigued my competitive side and convinced me to apply at the last second. To my surprise, I got selected as a Global Finalist. We all have the potential to give life to the greatness within us. Look at the plethora of opportunities around and get involved. Learn and become better with every experience, and you're bound to come across your avenue for success.
You have been nominated as Global Teen Leader in the past. How much does this title mean to you?
Zain: Being nominated as a Global Teen leader was a fantastic honor, and I am forever grateful to We Are Family Foundation. However, I'd like to add that the experience of being part of a global community of changemakers and the concept of family-found are what hold a deeper meaning. The 'Just Peace Summit' was a turning point in my life. The things I have discovered and the relationships I have formed as a changemaker have helped me recognize the plethora of emotions in the people around me and develop a mindset of togetherness that allows me to transcend my limits and achieve. I have also gained a renewed appreciation for connection and support through my family, friends, and collaborators.
Your message to our readers and youth.
Zain: I believe that every one of us has the potential to use our ability to benefit humanity. We should never stop asking questions because you never know what wonders lie in the answers you will receive.
Zain's Social Profiles