iConquer - a nonprofit program under the It's Your Life Foundation - is a youth-driven program which seeks to develop healthy habits for young children between the ages of three and seven, in order to reverse the trend of diabetes and obesity in adolescents. The curriculum utilizes fun and colorful characters, memorable jingles, and self-created animated videos. “It is much easier to create good habits than to change bad habits,” explains Zoya. The curriculum has since been implemented by 35 schools, and taught to 15,000 students over 5 years.
The project enhanced its reach further in the summer of 2016 when Zoya’s sister, Saherish Surani, lost hearing in her right ear. One afternoon when both sisters were in a classroom together watching a video, the sisters realized the video did not have subtitles and that Seherish was unable to understand the video. The sisters recognized that overlooked details put individuals with physical limitations at a disadvantage - and they decided to do something about it.
iConquer: Ubuntu: is a project that converts all of iConquer’s movies into accessible books for the hearing and seeing impaired, the first of which is a book entitled Chews Wisely. Authored by Zoya, Saherish, and Sara Surani, the braille-enabled square-shaped book aims to ensures that every child, regardless of any hearing or visual impairments, is included and able to learn with their fellow classmates. The book can be found in over 60 libraries and is available on the Amazon Kindle. The work “Ubuntu” in Xhosa, a South African dialect, is roughly translated to "I am because we are."
The journey for Zoya from the initial stages of the project to now finding herself interviewing at local news stations has been an enjoyable and memorable ride. High schools and libraries in the Corpus Christi area, local newspapers and television networks, and volunteers from the Ismaili community, were all key in the success of iConquer. “Anything can be accomplished in this world when done together,” explains Zoya.
Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Senator for British Columbia, congratulates iConquer in a personalized letter. “The program is a truly inspirational feat and is no doubt creating a positive impact on your community.” The iConquer curriculum on nutrition, having been successfully implemented at a number schools in Texas, is now being sought out by states around the nation. Zoya and her sisters are developing a manual that can be shared with and utilized by schools. Zoya will be attending Harvard University and pursuing a degree in applied mathematics with a medical focus.