When Ali Velshi was offered the chance to teach economics to a group of students at the University of Central Asia (UCA), it was a great opportunity for him to learn new aspects about the industry he has worked in for 25 years.
In February this year, Dr. Umed Ali Ajani, Associate Director for Science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, travelled to Tajikistan for a week to provide guidance on managing a heliotrope outbreak and preventing similar incidents in the future. A physician by training, Dr. Ajani has worked in the United States as an epidemiologist for more than 20 years. His TKN assignment was with the US Ismaili Health Professionals Association (IHPA) and the US Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB), institutions he has previously served with. The onsite host institution was Aga Khan Health Services Tajikistan (AKHS-T).
Over the past few years, Sadru and Nishat Damji have served on TKN assignments with several AKDN and Jamati institutions in many countries.
When Rosemin Kara received the phone call asking her if she would be interested in teaching cytology at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi (AKUHN) she was, in her words, “surprised, excited and humbled to be offered such a fabulous TKN opportunity”.
Three Canadian TKN volunteers - Sobia Makhani, Ashna Suchak and Kais Khimji – delivered programs for the Aga Khan Education Service, Tajikistan (AKES, Tj) from June to August 2017. Sobia delivered the first junior LEGO robotics program in the region, Ashna ran the schools summer English upgrading program and Kais taught Math numeracy.
Financial inclusion is a key area of focus for the AKDN. The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), which manages several microfinance institutions across Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, launched an initiative in 2016 to improve access to basic financial services for unbanked and underbanked communities through Digital Financial Services (DFS).
Khairunisa’s contribution to the development of a two-year joint Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene from AKU and the University of Alberta began from a brainstorming session during her first TKN assignment in Nairobi in 2011, where she was enhancing dental hygiene practices for hygienists at the AKU Hospital.
“Opportunities are time sensitive, so you can’t let them pass you by,” says Dr. Nasiruddin Jamal about his decision to take a professional leave from his 40-year medical career in New York to contribute his TKN volunteer service as Regional Director responsible for overseeing the cardiology departments at two Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS-EA) hospitals in East Africa since 2014.
Faruq Vishram is an electrical engineer with a vision to light up lives by helping to develop renewable energy projects in Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. His TKN assignment began in March 2015 to support a project funded by Global Affairs Canada to introduce solar energy to the newly inaugurated Bamyan Provincial Hospital in Afghanistan.
Alif Khalfan was selected to participate with other field professionals as a teacher and mentor at the UCA Naryn Campus’ “Connecting Your Discipline” programme in May, which offered a series of engaging workshops, guest lectures, career panels, interactive activities, simulation and real world applications to help students navigate their undergraduate specialisations.
“When I submitted my TKN Niyat in 2007, I had no idea how things would transpire over the years,” says Dr. Almina Pardhan upon reflecting on the success of the Early Child Development program that she helped implement in five countries across Asia in collaboration with numerous Jamati and AKDN institutions.