In the past 25 years, the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby has hosted a wide range of events, opening its doors to government officials, prominent academics, leaders of many communities, and the wider public.
Over the years, the Centre has provided a distinguished venue for the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Awards, hosting 19 Bronze Award ceremonies and a Royal Gold Award ceremony. These ceremonies have permitted Award recipients and their families an opportunity to tour the Centre and engage in dialogue with leaders of the Ismaili community.
As part of its year-long commemoration of the 25th Anniversary, the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby hosted a Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award ceremony on 4 June with His Honour the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. It was the first time a Silver Award ceremony has been held outside of Government House in Victoria.
Antalya Popatia, a Silver Award Recipient, is also a member of the Girl Guides, and represented her group during the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. “Receiving my Silver Duke of Edinburgh award gave me a great sense of accomplishment, confidence and satisfaction,” she said.
“In the journey to get this award, I was able to make new friends, participate in physically challenging activities and learn about and appreciate nature. Many of the skills I developed- teamwork, leadership, discipline and serving others - will help me to succeed in life.”
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was established as a challenge from Prince Philip to all youth between the ages of 14 to 25. Participants have to satisfy the requirements of four sections of the programme: service, adventurous journeys, skills and physical recreation. The Award represents a personal commitment to constructive endeavour, promoting qualities of self-discipline, self-help and self-reliance, and seeks to play a role in grooming the leaders of tomorrow.
During the ceremony, Rashid Fatehali – who has been instrumental in leading the Ismaili youth through the Duke programme since 1986 – was honoured for his 25 years of outstanding service. Fatehali along with the expedition leaders Al-Karim Virani, Ebrahim Bawa, Shane Virani, Aly Sachedina and Zahra Ramji have had the privilege of guiding numerous Award recipients, and watching them develop into outstanding individuals.
“I was very honoured to have been recognised for my 25 years of time and energy,” explained Fatehali. “I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was a part of helping the youth achieve their goals through this programme, which has been very rewarding for me.”
Eighty-five youth from 38 different groups across British Columbia received their certificates of recognition from the Lieutenant Governor, including 12 Ismailis. The youth had successfully completed a variety of unique adventurous journeys that included kayaking, hiking, cycling, and mountain climbing.
“The programme has helped me develop a variety of different skills,” says Matina Kamdar, who received her Silver Award at the ceremony. “Over the many camps and expeditions that I have taken part in, I have felt myself grow as a person and have been able to connect and share new ideas with others within the community.”