Interview With Dom at ZUMIX

Two weeks ago, Tabia and I visited Zumix to meet up with Britany’s class to conduct our interviews. I was excited to see the space as I missed the whole class visit due to a concussion, so I was really excited to be able to get more of an understanding of what Zumix was about. When we walked in the door we were met by two people the sitting behind a desk collaborating on a what seems to be a song. The younger looking one holds a guitar and seems to be explaining a section of the song to the other person. The older one looks up long enough to tell us how to sign in and where to go, but both are clearly quite invested in their project. Tabia and I follow their instructions down the stairs and to a small classroom where students work fairly independently in front of computers, each headphone clad student cutting up sections of audio together various audio tracks.

We ended up interviewing a student named Dominic. Dominic is a sophomore in high school who has been taking classes at Zumix since last summer. Zumix is an organization that works with kids teaching them how to make and produce their own music; some of which they play on their Zumix Radio and stream online. Music is not their only focus, however, and Dom’s class is currently working on a project about a problem that greatly effects his community of East Boston: gentrification. In his interview Dom explains how his class conducts interviews with members of the community to learn their stories of how gentrification has effected them or people they know, and he hopes that by sharing these stories with a wider audience, the city might begin to address the legitimate concerns of the community.

Clear Eyes, Warm Hearts, Can’t Lose: Interview with Zubyn D’Costa

  • Zubyn D’Costa is a Freshman at Wellesley College potentially majoring in Political Science. When Zubyn was in 6th grade, friends of the family, Michael Shafer and Evelind Schecter, traveled to Thailand and were struck by the sight of so many young girls whose poverty and circumstance left them with no other option than to go into sex trafficking. For many of these young girls their situation was the product of a vicious cycle of prostitution as young girls are often born to mothers who themselves are prostitutes and so are unable to support a child. Shafer and Schecter believed that education was the key to breaking this cycle, so they started an NGO called Warm Heart and poured their life savings into it to see if they could make a difference. They now live full time in Thailand at the headquarters of Warm Heart where they have homes for the children whom they send to school each morning, provide food, clothes, and educate outside of school. Their once small project has grown to be more than just focused on education as they have branched out into other projects that include providing healthcare to elderly and disabled in the surrounding hill tribes, and many projects focused on environmentalism and sustainability.

    Zubyn was only in middle school at the time of the NGO’s creation, but that didn’t stop her from joining in efforts to help. She organized fundraisers with her Interact Club where they gathered donations of kids books, movies, school supplies, stuffed animals, and old clothes that they would send to Thailand. Zubyn continued her efforts throughout middle school and the start of high school, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that Zubyn was able to truly see the impact she made first hand when she was given the opportunity to go and volunteer directly in Thailand for an entire summer. This experience really changed her relationship to the cause because as she explained, it was no longer just sending boxes of old clothes to nameless children; a fact that became obvious the moment she arrived as many of the children running to to meet Zubyn wore clothes she herself had grown up in. At only 15, Zubyn was by far the youngest on the team as most of the other volunteers were college students getting college credits through Warm Heart’s volunteer program. However, Zubyn said her age didn’t stop her becoming an important part of the team as they taught English to the younger children at Warm Heart and ventured out into the surrounding villages to try to help the elderly and disabled residents get access to healthcare during the midst of a military coup that was happening at the time.

    Although Zubyn has not been back to Thailand since that summer, but when asked if she was planning on continuing her work with Warm Heart (or with NGOs in general) she responded “Hopefully. I really enjoy the work. I think it’s work that you can see your effect just instantly, you can see the effect you have on people, and i think it’s work that is really worth doing because people need help, and just making the effort counts for something, and I think that’s very significant.”