Faheem Savja and Jamil DayaToronto
Workplace Team Captains
Faheem Savja and Jamil Daya, founding members of the Toronto TD workplace team and joint 2018 Team Captains, believe there are many benefits to starting a workplace team for World Partnership Walk.
“Starting a team has allowed us to connect with TD leadership about an initiative that was not work related. In a way, it served as a means to get to know our own management and work team better,” Faheem says.
With the support of senior leadership and 111 team members, Faheem and Jamil’s team was able to fundraise their way to success with an impressive $13,376 raised for the 2017 Walk. Both Faheem and Jamil grew-up participating in the Walk. For them, bringing their colleagues together on Walk day is a real highlight.
“Walk day is always a blast! You meet new people from your own organization, and end up realizing that you may have a personal or professional connection to them already. It really is a great time and an opportunity to learn about your colleagues in a fun and informal setting,” Faheem says.
“It gives your co-workers the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves and the opportunity to feel good about making a difference,” explains Jamil. Forming a workplace team and partnering with World Partnership Walk also brings benefits to TD as an organization. Not only is it an opportunity to bring staff together in an engaging and meaningful way, “it’s also a great opportunity to increase brand awareness in the community and maybe even engage in a little friendly competition with other workplace teams,” explains Faheem.
This year, the TD team is hoping to inspire more colleagues to come on board so they can make an even bigger impact for communities overseas.
Naz Hasham is the gold standard of volunteering. With over 20 years’ experience as a volunteer, Naz currently has seven different volunteer roles on the go, including: National Ambassador Engagement Director for World Partnership Walk, Human Resources and Volunteer Management Director for World Partnership Golf - Edmonton, and other fundraising roles with the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Stollery Hospital Foundation.
Naz is also championing the CIVIC 150 initiative in Edmonton: in honour of Canada 150, the Canadian Ismaili community has set an impressive goal of donating one million volunteer hours across Canada. All this has Naz clocking an impressive 1,800 volunteer hours a year – the equivalent of a full-time job!
Volunteering is far more than just a way to give back and keep occupied for Naz. She is keen to instill her passion for volunteering and community service in others and spends much of her time helping recruit and mentor other volunteers in Edmonton and across Canada. She inspires them to become active and caring community members, as well as global change makers.
Unlocking the skills of others is central to Naz’s volunteer work. She leads by example, pitching in at all levels: putting up signs, serving food, or welcoming visitors at the numerous charitable events she supports. Her hands-on approach and can-do attitude inspires all around her to roll up their sleeves and jump right in. Whether it be working with the elderly or young members of her community, or with new World Partnership Walk fundraisers across Canada, Naz concentrates on creating a community of volunteers with the skills and the motivation to give back to their communities. Through her, more volunteers in Edmonton and across Canada are better equipped to contribute in their own way.
When asked why she is so passionate about inspiring others to give back, Naz says “Volunteering makes me feel great, and I hope I can inspire others to feel the same. You get so much more than you put in. Volunteering allows you to meet people, learn new skills, and open opportunities for yourself, your family, and the communities you serve.” Naz represents the best of Canada’s volunteers.
The funds and awareness that she raises have had significant impact in many places: from hospitals and the local food bank in Edmonton, to hospitals, schools, and community organizations in Africa and Asia supported by Aga Khan Foundation Canada. Just as important, her infectious passion for volunteering inspires others to follow in her footsteps and make a difference!
Shreya Gandhi and Riya GandhiVictoria
School Team Captain
First-time School Team Captain Shreya Gandhi feels it is important that young people in Canada understand the challenges of those living in poorer parts of the world: “We need to look past ourselves, and to a greater purpose,” Shreya said.
For Shreya and her sister Riya, World Partnership Walk offers them the opportunity to do exactly that, to look at life beyond their own backyard and to be part of a global movement. "Working for a cause as worthwhile as this has been fantastic and very rewarding. We hope that we are able to make a small contribution to the fight against poverty."
The Walk has also given the Gandhi sisters an opportunity to develop and hone their leadership skills. “We are both a little quiet and shy at times, and learning to organize events in our school, delegating responsibility, and communicating with new people pushed us out of our comfort zone!” Regardless of their humble demeanour, the sisters have certainly risen to challenge and enjoyed showing their peers at school “how easy and important it is to make a difference. Our hope is to make our peers aware of…all the good that can be done with the funds raised. We’d like to show others how to be part of a solution,” said the sisters.
Shreya’s advice to other young people who want to support the Walk and raise funds to fight global poverty, is to be organized and persistent and to take advantage of all the great tools, resources support on hand. When asked what has stuck with them about the Walk, Shreya and Riya pointed to Walk Day 2016 in Victoria.
One moment at the end of the Walk gave them a true sense that they are part of a larger movement. “There were hundreds of people, walkers, and supporters, and we felt a great sense of unity and belonging. [A]ll we could think was, ‘Wow!’ To know that we are making a difference together is an incredible feeling.” Check out the Walks’s 2017 fundraising toolkit for great resources to engage your school, university, college, family, friends or co-works in World Partnership Walk and fighting global poverty.
School Team Captain
Yasmin has been fundraising at her school for the Walk since she was six years old. With over a decade of fundraising experience, Yasmin now has hosting fundraisers down to a fine art with plenty of fun ideas for getting her fellow students involved. “Two years ago, I introduced samosa sales, and was pleasantly surprised at what a big hit it was at our school. There’s nothing like fried Indian food to get teenagers to pull out their wallets.”
This year Yasmin came up with a creative way to both raise funds and awareness for global poverty: a henna design fundraiser. “While our henna artists applied beautiful designs for students, they informed them about some of the interesting sustainable initiatives that their money would be going to. "I thought it was a fantastic way to educate our donors and supporters about how much of an impact they could really make.”
Yasmin also had the smart idea for 2017 to expand her team across six schools in Burnaby. This not only helped her recruit new team members – it also helped her team more than double their fundraising goal. They raised an impressive $12,000. Yasmin feels that it is key that young people like herself support the work of organizations like Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
“We are fortunate enough to have access to our basic needs and the resources to succeed in our future. When I think about others who are not quite so fortunate, especially those in other parts of the world, I would like to assist, even in the slightest, to provide them with the same opportunities as we have here.”
Hosting fundraisers at her school has also helped Yasmin gain valuable skills and experience. She has improved her project management and marketing skills, and has lots of experience liaising with a variety of different stakeholders both at her school and within her local community.
When asked what advice Yasmin would give someone considering hosting a fundraiser for World Partnership Walk, she says “I would strongly advise them to go for it! Try new things, engage new participants, and don’t be afraid to take risks. There’s also nothing wrong with starting small, such as jelly bean guessing contest, which I initiated in my first few years. You will be amazed at how your fundraisers expand with experience and time!”