Across India this 15 August, Ismailis celebrated their nation’s independence through acts that contributed to the wellbeing of society. Members of the Jamat planted trees, cleaned up local monuments and put on street plays to educate about traffic safety.
With a major expansion underway, the Aga Khan University is planting institutional and intellectual seeds to produce the leadership that East Africa will require in the years ahead. Dr Farouk Topan discusses some of the ways in which the university hopes to contribute to the East African Community.
In November 2014, the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Canada’s 19th Prime Minister, delivered a lecture at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby on the topic of Building Civil Societies: The Role of Women Leaders. Ms Campbell is the first woman to have become Prime Minister of Canada as well as the country’s first female Defense Minister and Minister of Justice.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell — Canada’s first female prime minister — delivered an Ismaili Centre lecture in Vancouver in November. She spoke passionately of the need for more women in positions of leadership at all levels of society and the importance of ensuring their voices are heard.
London, 7 July 2014 – Over 5 000 parcels of food and provisions were packed at UK Jamatkhanas this Saturday to help some of the most vulnerable populations in London, Birmingham and Leicester. Local charities will distribute the packages under Share a Smile, an Ismaili community initiative to help those in need during the month of Ramadan.
While the annual Premier Cup cricket tournament brought Ontario Ismaili Muslims together in April, it was also part of a wider effort to build cricket pitches and support programming in Toronto neighbourhoods that are home to large South Asian immigrant communities.
Marking Navroz, some 2 500 Ismaili volunteers gathered on 30 March to plant 5 000 trees in the city’s Afshar area. Organised by the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan, the tree planting took place in the presence of Kabul’s mayor, Eng Mohammad Younus Nawandesh, and was part of an ongoing effort to make the city more beautiful and greener for its inhabitants.
Dedicated to promoting harmony among peoples of all faiths, World Interfaith Harmony Week is observed around the world each year during the first week of February. In Portugal, the UN Alliance of Civilizations sought to present a unique multicultural perspective on the week. The Ismaili Muslim community was among 15 religious traditions represented at the event.
A selection of photographs from the Dear World Afghanistan campaign, taken by Grace Chung while she was an intern at Roshan in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, everyone has a story to tell – stories about the country’s people, their hopes for the future, of peace and development – yet most go untold. But when a Harvard student working at Roshan decided to launch a Dear World campaign, she gave new voice to the people of Afghanistan and to the many stories they have been waiting to tell.
Described as grassroots because they are led by concerned citizens rather than governments or established institutions, such community action initiatives can be a powerful means in addressing difficult issues. Some Ismailis are successfully using grassroots action to magnify the impact of their volunteer work.
Thirty Ismaili volunteers extended a hand of friendship and support – and many bottles of water – to some 8 000 runners at the 2011 Brighton Marathon. The event was an opportunity to get involved and give back to the wider community.
As owners of a Kenyan beach resort, the Visram family maintains a firm belief in improving the lives of the local community. Their efforts to help people understand the real and present dangers of illegal human trafficking earned them a nomination for the first-ever Business Leader's Award to Fight Human Trafficking, for which Mawlana Hazar Imam was a jury member.
When the Government of Tanzania requested support for the victims of an explosion on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, the Ismailis in the area were eager to help. The Ismaili Council for Tanzania partnered with the Aga Khan Hospital to organise a blood drive, and members of the Jamat donated emergency supplies to victims of the disaster.
Aftab Jalia works with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Delhi and is part of an initiative to revitalise the area surrounding Humayun’s Tomb and Gardens, and improve the quality of life of the residents in the neighbouring Nizamuddin district. A graduate of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT, he shares some insight on the progress of the project and its impact on the surrounding community.
Sixteen-month-old Jimla Kasenga and 61-year-old Mukadi Kabengele both have a reason to smile. Each of them underwent facial reconstructive surgery at Operation Smile’s recent medical mission to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The week-long mission was broadly supported by members of the local Ismaili community.
The Jamat in Dubai includes a disproportionate number of bachelors and young families, who, with all the pressures of work and modern life, find it difficult to prepare traditional home cooked meals. Meanwhile, many older women in the Jamat possess exceptional cooking skills and an enterprising spirit. The opportunity to come together was obvious, and led to the creation of a Golden Alliance.
This year, the Girl Guide movement turns 98. Over the years, the organisation’s impact on the physical, mental and spiritual development of girls and young women has been phenomenal. Many Ismaili Muslim women who are part of the movement have become inspiring role models and leaders in their communities and the world.
Over the decades, the Toronto neighbourhood of Don Mills has opened its welcoming arms and helped many new immigrants make Canada their home, including Ismailis and other Muslims. On 28 May, Mawlana Hazar Imam will lay the foundation for three important new projects that will invite Canadians – Muslim and non-Muslim – to explore their connected heritage and celebrate their unique backgrounds.
In January, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shattered the Republic of Haiti. Horrified by the disaster, countries, civil society organisations and individual donors responded with desperately needed help. Among them were many Ismailis who used their resources and skills to find creative ways to provide timely assistance to Haitians.