Mawlana Hazar Imam last year approved new guidelines for our uniformed volunteers. Among the key changes are a new name – Ismaili Volunteers – a new motto – khidma – and new uniform designs, all aiming to contemporise the identity and image of the volunteers as an Ismaili community-based civil society organisation.

The new uniforms will be the most visible aspect of the approved changes and, in the run up to Salgirah this year, volunteers are looking forward to serving in the newly designed uniforms, which are now being shipped to Jamats around the world.

For over a century, uniformed volunteers have been vital to the wellbeing and progress of our community. In all Jamati geographies and cultures, volunteers spare no effort in serving the Jamat in diverse situations and contexts, within and outside Jamatkhana. Time and again, Mawlana Hazar Imam has recognised and appreciated the importance and value of such service. 

The new set of guidelines marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the Ismaili Volunteers, long recognised for their dedication to service. In setting out the new principles last year, Hazar Imam said in a message to the Jamat that the aim is “to bring about standardisation and parity in the various elements relating to the organisation of the uniformed volunteers, without compromising their spirit of service.” He also emphasised that the new guidelines will fully respect the global Jamat's socio-cultural diversity. 

One of the first jurisdictions to implement the change is Pakistan. Volunteers there have already begun serving in the vibrant new blue and white uniform, which includes variations for functionality and climate adaptability.

“The new designs convey inclusivity, diversity, and acceptance,” said Sarah Abdul Rasool from Karachi. “It feels delightful and empowering to be serving in a uniform which brings all the individual volunteers together under one umbrella.”

“It gives an elegant and professional impression, and it feels great too,” added Saima Aziz, also from Karachi.

As images of the new badge and uniform spread on social media, volunteers from across the world have expressed excitement and anticipation ahead of the launch in their own jurisdictions. Envisioned not only as a practical tool for identification, the new uniform is also a visual representation of the community's commitment to service and compassion.

“Having the same uniform globally highlights the identity of the Ismaili Volunteers as an institution with a cherished history and legacy, and makes all volunteers feel part of one team,” said Asif Sarangi, who began volunteering as a child in France. He now serves as the Ismaili Volunteers Executive Director for the UK.

Khidma says it all,” added Asif, referring to the new motto which features on the updated badge. “It's about making a positive difference in other people’s lives.”

Arabic for the word ‘service,’ khidma expresses the core value of Ismaili volunteers and unites Ismaili volunteers across all countries, ages, and cultures. Rendered as khidmat in Jamats of Persian and Indic language usage, it succinctly expresses the notion of unconditional service.

For Ismailis, the ethic of volunteering has a long-enduring history. Besides reflecting the values of our Tariqah, this centuries-old tradition of offering time and resources encourages initiative, develops leadership capacity, and offers opportunities for an individual’s personal and professional development.

As shipments of uniforms begin to arrive in all jurisdictions, the new badge and visual identity is poised to become a powerful representation of shared values, which unite the diverse yet dynamic group of Ismaili Volunteers worldwide.

“It’s more than just clothing; it's a symbol of our shared purpose,” said 17-year-old Rahee Hajiani, who has served as a Jamati volunteer in Angola and Portugal. “I can't wait to proudly wear it and feel connected to my fellow volunteers, no matter where they are.”