May Virji, MBA, CAM (MTI), CM (ICMI), Chartered Mediator
May is an accredited mediator of the courts of Uganda and has experience in individual, commercial and community mediation. Over the past decade, May has worked in the Tax Appeals Tribunal and in the Commercial Division of the High Courts of Uganda. May has extensive experience in facilitation, mediation negotiation and leadership support, having worked with medium and large multicultural organizations, and in real estate development and construction. She was recently honoured with a position as a consultant on the UN Global Mediation Panel that reports to the Ombudsman for the UN Funds and Programmes. In addition to her mediation qualification, May holds an MBA in Strategic Marketing from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.
May is a Rotarian who has been honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow and as the 2020 recipient of the District Governor’s Distinguished Women in Rotary Award.
Born in Mengo, Uganda, May has been IREAD’s Uganda Country Representative since 2014. Her expertise and experience in the region helps fulfill IREAD’s mission of providing early childhood development for children in rural communities in Uganda.
Zohran Shah is IREAD’s lead team member in Pakistan, responsible for overseeing centres and project managing the selection and construction of new ECD centres. As Managing Director of the Eagle Eye Educational Institute and Welfare Society, he’s responsible for managing school and community development projects and conducting teacher training programs. He was the General Manager of the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) in Chitral for 12 years, where he also managed grants from the European Union (EU) for constructing community-based schools.
Richard is an Advocate and a Chartered Valuation Surveyor based in Kampala, Uganda. He has extensive volunteer experience as the previous President of the Rotary Daybreak Club of Kampala. He’s an invaluable IREAD team member, helping us to navigate various governance filings for a foreign NGO in Uganda. He was instrumental in the establishment of IREAD’s Centre in Sironko in Eastern Uganda.
Hamida is completing her Masters in Early Childhood Development at Kyambogo University in Uganda. Hamida is passionate that every child should have access to quality education, and believes in the holistic development of children in their early years. She has several years of experience as a volunteer in the field of early childhood education, specializing in curriculum development and teacher training.
Fredrick plays an integral role in engaging community support of IREAD ECD Centres. Fredrick holds a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelor of Statistics. He also has over 10 years experience in business development, administration and management. Fredrick is currently a business development consultant with Leki World and previously held top positions at Rentokil Initial and Security World Technology. Fredrick served as the General Secretary for the Uganda Youth Football Association and is a Regional Leader at Watoto Church. A Charter Member of Rotary Club Kampala Day Break, he currently sits as President Elect, having served as Vice President in 2019/20, and was Rotarian of the Year for 2017/18 and 2018/2019.
Minaz served as Executive Vice President Asset Management for Host Hotels and Resorts from 2003 to 2017. Host is an S&P and Fortune 500 lodging-focused real estate investment trust listed on the NYSE with an enterprise value of US$17 billion. Minaz has an MBA from Rockhurst University and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University School of Business.
The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) honored Minaz with the 2016 Above and Beyond Humanitarian Award for his work in leadership training and mentoring, and for providing scholarships to the next generation of young hoteliers. Minaz sits on several Boards, including the Board of Directors of the American Hotel Income Properties REIT LP.
In addition to his role as Chairman and founding Director of IREAD USA, Minaz is a member of the board of IREAD, IREAD USA’s Canadian sister organization. A resident of Bellevue, Washington, Minaz was keen to establish IREAD USA in response to the growing number of US residents wishing to support IREAD’s mission. Minaz’s strong governance and resource development skills are of significant benefit to both organizations.
Zahir grew up in Uganda and emigrated to Canada in 1972, where he received an M.Sc. Pharmacology from University of Toronto and an MBA from McMaster University. In 1989, Zahir moved to the US to join Abbott, a Fortune 500 healthcare company. He held various senior management positions at Abbott including President, Abbott Japan; Vice President, Global Commercial Operations Diabetes Division before retiring in 2012 as Vice President, International Marketing and Corporate Officer.
Since retiring, Zahir has dedicated significant time and expertise mentoring healthcare startups. He is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Temple Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company and serves on the Steering Committee of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Zahir was part of a medical mission to Tajikistan in 2019 to support the Aga Khan Medical Center and Regional Cardiology Center in Khorog.
Zahir is passionate about education and believes it to be the single greatest equalizer opening doors of opportunity. His work as a founding member of the Sonia Shah Organization, which built a school for girls in Kangra, Pakistan and his work with IREAD USA reflects that passion.
Zahir is blessed with two wonderful daughters, a son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. He presently resides in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Rozmin.
Shaneeda is an attorney with Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP in San Francisco. Her practice focuses on representing individuals and corporations facing complex criminal charges and investigations. She also represents clients in civil matters including employment disputes, whistleblower claims, and mass torts. Shaneeda has been recognized for her criminal defense skills as a Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star every year since 2012. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2007, and an M.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University in 2002.
Shaneeda has served as a legal intern with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Tanzania and was a recipient of the NYU Global Justice and Human Rights Fellowship. She also has represented prisoners in civil rights actions against New York state police officers and prison guards. Shaneeda has a passion for justice and is a fierce advocate for civil and human rights.
Shaneeda is honoured to serve on the board of North Shore Restorative Justice Society and on the Board of Governors of Stratford Hall World IB School in Vancouver. When not working, Shaneeda enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors, and going on adventures with her husband and two young daughters.
Laila is Chief Operating Officer of Ivy Kids Early Learning Centre, which she founded with her husband in 2003. Ivy Kids grew out of their eagerness to make certain their own children benefited from the many proven benefits of quality early education, including a strong start to lifelong learning and advanced social skills. Ivy kids has grown to become a premier provider of early childhood education in Texas, with 20 corporate and franchised locations. Laila oversees operations, curriculum development, quality assurance, marketing, training, licensing, and compliance reporting.
Prior to starting Ivy Kids, Laila worked as a chemical engineer. Working in senior positions in the oil and gas sector provided a strong grounding in establishing processes, applying scientific methodologies, and increasing efficiency—knowledge that has been applied to Ivy Kids and critical to its success.
In addition to volunteering on the board of IREAD USA, where she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of helping children in her home country of Uganda, Laila is on the board of the Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) USA. She is responsible for their USA Jamati ECD program, overseeing curriculum development, center operations and volunteer training.
Laila lives in Missouri, Texas with her husband, Alnoor.
We believe every child deserves access to education and an early start at building a brighter future. We approach our work holistically, knowing communities are transformed, one child at a time.
Holistic child development focused on evidence-based Early Childhood Development.
To our donors to ensure that all donations are effectively used. We demand accountability from our beneficiaries in the field to ensure our centres are run effectively and efficiently.
With local communities, NGOs, educational centres, students and parents.
IREAD empowers local communities, training them to organize, run and maintain the ECD Centre. Villagers are recruited and trained as ECD teachers and caregivers, creating employment and career opportunities.
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Donating to IREAD was an opportunity to contribute to society in a very needy part of the world while leaving our children a namesake as their legacy. We hope that the building of the school will give hundreds of children the advantage of an early start to education that will sprout the seeds of learning to take the community to previously unimaginable levels of development.
The community has already benefited through partnerships and their own initiatives that have allowed them to return proceeds from their agricultural development of the school’s land.
On top of all of that, being able to experience the joy in the community, and watching the beautiful class of future students enjoy the newly built playground outside the school with our own children as their companions is one of our most cherished memories.
Dr. Manjula Reddy & Nitin Khandekar, Calgary, Canada Donor of Roel ECD Centre, Wani, Uganda