Ismailis in Action
All over the United States, Ismailis, either individually or as part of a Jamati or institutional program, are engaged in interesting activities that are informative or inspirational.
In his speech at the Inauguration ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Hazar Imam spoke about the power and influence that younger generations have in shaping their communities and societies as they progress through their education.
“It is my hope that it will be members of this new generation who, driven by their own wide knowledge and inspiration, will change their societies; that they will gradually replace many of the external forces that appear, and sometimes seek, to control our destinies,” Hazar Imam said.
Editor’s note: Sadly, while this Senior Spotlight article was being prepared for publication, Leila Visram passed away at the age of 87, in Los Angeles. While we do not usually post obituaries, it was felt appropriate to publish the story of her life as she had dedicated so much of it to others.
Last year, Nazarali Momin took a family trip with his grandchildren to Boston to revisit his roots. On this trip, they visited his old college building, the places he worked, the apartment he stayed in, and the location where he and his peers met to pray -- their Jamatkhana. Nazarali recounted his journey to his grandchildren, from his upbringing in the Methan village in the Sidhpur district to his schooling in Bombay, and on to his arrival in the United States.
A short and poignant new film captures the imagination and underscores social issues leading to suicides among girls in Northern Pakistan. Depicting the strains caused in families and villages by the impact of higher education, the film Darya Kay Iss Paar (This Bank of the River) makes its statement with little dialogue. The emotions, confusion, and despair are all too obvious in the actress who plays the part of a tormented young girl.
Dr. Gulshan Harjee’s smile lights up a room and she shares her life experiences that shaped the person she is today. Gulshee, as she is fondly referred to, is a co-founder of Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC), a non-profit clinic that provides patient-centered medical care to the uninsured and underserved residents of Clarkston, a city known for its ethnic diversity and recently settled refugee population. She serves pro bono as the Chief Marketing Officer, Board Member, and teacher/mentor to students at CCHC.
Walmart Pharmacy collaborated with the Ismaili Council for the Southeast US to host the Jamat’s first COVID-19 vaccine drive. It was held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana on May 16, 2021, with the goal of providing easier access to vaccines for local communities. Ismaili CIVIC (formerly known as I-CERV) mobilized a significant number of volunteers for this event.
“Mars tugs at the human imagination like no other planet. With a force mightier than gravity, it attracts the eye to the shimmering red presence in the clear night sky...” - Author, John Noble
Danish Dhamani is the co-founder and CEO of Orai, a public speaking app that thousands of people have used to eradicate their fear of public speaking. He has shared his journey in a Tedx talk with millions of views. He was recognized on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for 2021.
Just three months shy of her first birthday, Houston’s Alesha Kajani was admitted to the hospital. Suffering from an elevated fever and a precariously low red blood count, she was administered four doses of antibiotics. Alesha’s mom, Mehreen, did not understand what was happening to her only child, and prayed that this was just a fluke—something that could be taken care of quickly and life would go back to being all diapers and giggles.
One of Latif Nasser’s favorite childhood memories is of his father bursting into his room in the morning and giving him an animated summary of every story in the newspaper. “I was young and didn’t understand any of it,” said Latif. “But, that helped me realize that the world is an interesting place, and there’s so much exciting stuff going on at all times. How great for us that we get to be alive at this moment!”
A senior’s life is complicated, made even worse by a situation of limited mobility due to a lack of driving skills, which restricts options for social activity and community engagement.
Over the past year, the challenge of Covid-19 in Texas has been compounded by a winter storm that left millions throughout the state without power and water, and Hurricane Laura, which caused extensive property damage and displaced many. In the face of these challenges, members of the Ismaili community came together to assist those in need, staffing vaccine mega-sites, volunteering to distribute food and water, donating large amounts of PPE to first responders and communities in need, and organizing dozens of drives, including to collect blood, food, and books.