Volunteers In Action
Yasmin Jumabhai Ransome, a TKN volunteer from the United Kingdom, conducted an in-depth three-week training and certification program, focusing on women’s health rehabilitation, at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Pakistan in November and December 2017.
Shiraz Billing, a watershed management expert from the United Kingdom, served on a TKN assignment with Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Tajikistan in December 2019 and January 2020. Shiraz supported and advised AKF in its management of the “Improving Livelihoods and Food Security through Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project” in the Upper Zarafshan River Basin in Sughd Viloyat, Tajikistan. This major project is jointly funded by the European Commission (80%) and 20% by Aga Khan Foundation and other consortium partners.
Over the last ten years, several Jamati institutions have moved to a far more sophisticated, evidence-driven process for long-term planning for the Jamat. This is in no small part due to the tremendous efforts by a business school professor from Florida and a lot of trust placed in her by Jamati leaders. During this time, Dr Seema Pissaris, Clinical Professor of Management at Florida International University’s College of Business, has partnered with Ismaili Councils around the world to use research driven intelligence to improve the quality of life for families.
Over the last two and a half years, a husband and wife team from Vancouver, Canada, have helped to establish the palliative programme at the Aga Khan University (AKU) Hospital in Karachi. Through onsite visits, numerous remote conferences, and ongoing correspondence with the local team, the couple were able to set up a sustainable, long-term programme, the first of its kind in Pakistan.
Over the last decade, Vancouver-based Iqbal Lalany has served on several TKN assignments to provide extensive medical response training in areas that need it most. In 2011, Iqbal received a call from Dr Firoz Verjee, then Coordinator of the AKDN’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative (DRMI). Iqbal was asked if he could deliver First Aid training for six weeks, a challenge he graciously accepted. At the time, although Iqbal was working for Scouts Canada, he was fortunate to take four weeks of vacation time and a two-week leave of absence, (approved by Alamin Pirani, Scouts Canada’s Executive Director) so Iqbal could serve on this TKN assignment.
In October 2019, a technology conference entitled Digital Transformation in Central Asia, became the biggest event of its kind in the history of the region. Hosted by the University of Central Asia (UCA), in partnership with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the three-day event featured 25 speakers from 12 countries and focused on three areas – digital transformation in government, cyber security, and emerging technology in the education sector.
The Aga Khan Museum (AKM) is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and, within such a short period, it has become a global hub for education, cultural connections, creativity and innovation. Located in the heart of Toronto (Canada), AKM offers each of its visitors the opportunity to enter and gain new insights into the rich world of the arts and culture of Islamic civilizations. With the mission of connecting cultures and building bridges, the Museum aims at changing minds and perceptions by positioning itself as a thought leader and an educator without walls.
The Aga Khan Health Service, Tajikistan (AKHS, T) recently established the Aga Khan Medical Centre, Khorog (AKMC, K) as a private, not-for-profit hospital, offering high quality health care to the community. It began operations in December 2018, providing outpatient care, diagnostics and physiotherapy services. In April 2019, the hospital expanded its offerings to include inpatient, as well as emergency management services. The first phase of this expansion is supported with 48 beds and a provision for future growth, as needed. AKMC, K complements and supports the Government of Tajikistan's efforts to provide quality diagnostic and treatment services not currently available at the 450-bed Khorog Oblast General Hospital.
Being part of the knowledge society and sharing knowledge in multiple ways is an ethic and tradition that Ismailis have inherited from history. It is a responsibility that contributes to a better quality of life for ourselves and others, and ensures a better future for generations to come. Following in this tradition, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) has partnered with TKN volunteers to help prepare students for graduate-level studies.
Since 2016, dozens of volunteers have collaborated with the Aga Khan Education Board in India on the design and delivery of its flagship mentoring programme, Reach for the Stars (RFS). Launched in collaboration with the Ismaili Council for India, RFS was designed as a long-term programme for high-potential students between the ages of 18 to 25 years.
It had long been Nashir Karmali’s desire to offer voluntary service in a developing country. In 2007, he received a call that changed his career and life: He was asked to serve on a TKN assignment with Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) to conduct a strategic review of their operations in Afghanistan, aimed at expanding its mandate from refugee repatriation to include emergency management, disaster preparedness, and response.
Yasmin Shariff, a highly accomplished architect, visited Aswan in March this year for a TKN assignment. Aswan, the ancient city of Swenett on the banks of the Nile and frontier town on the southernmost border of Ancient Egypt, is the focus for the work of the Om Habibeh Foundation (OHF) in Egypt.