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A family finds shelter from the flood devastation at a FOCUS relief camp in Sindh.

Millions of people throughout Pakistan have been devastated by heavy downpours and massive flooding that has been described as one of the worst disasters in the country’s history. But in the face of calamity, communities, institutions, government and civil society are coming together to help one another and rebuild lives.

Medical professionals gather in a surgical theatre in Kinshasa to operate on a young patient. In addition to correcting patients’ facial deformities, Operation Smile gives local trainees a chance to learn from experts in their field.

Sixteen-month-old Jimla Kasenga and 61-year-old Mukadi Kabengele both have a reason to smile. Each of them underwent facial reconstructive surgery at Operation Smile’s recent medical mission to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The week-long mission was broadly supported by members of the local Ismaili community.

Members of the Jamat had an opportunity to try a variety of dishes at the at a Golden Alliance food mela, held at the Ismaili Centre, Dubai in April 2010.

The Jamat in Dubai includes a disproportionate number of bachelors and young families, who, with all the pressures of work and modern life, find it difficult to prepare traditional home cooked meals. Meanwhile, many older women in the Jamat possess exceptional cooking skills and an enterprising spirit. The opportunity to come together was obvious, and led to the creation of a Golden Alliance.

Students from Madagascar were excited to experience some of Kenya’s wildlife during a visit to the Nairobi Safari Walk.

In April, 13 students from Madagascar travelled to Kenya for a week-long visit. It was an opportunity for them to experience a culture outside their own, meet Ismaili students from another country, and to immerse themselves in an environment where they could improve their spoken and written English.

Michael Kahlenberg leads FOCUS Regional Disaster Managers on a tour of the Emergency Operations Center at the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Houston.

Earlier this year, Focus Humanitarian Assistance in North America conducted disaster management and leadership training in Houston and Toronto, for their Regional Disaster Management Teams. As a key component of the Disaster Management Programme, the training prepared community stakeholders to effectively respond to natural and man-made disasters.

CIVIC participants in Edmonton build a shed for Habitat for Humanity.

Through civic engagement, humankind has refined agricultural practices, reformed education, rebuilt communities after natural disasters, and strengthened civil society. In countries around the world, Ismaili Muslims have made their own mark on history through community involvement, voluntary service, youth education and political engagement.

A tribute to the Girl Scouts in Savanah, GA, where Girl Scouts USA founder Juliette Gordon Low was from.

This year, the Girl Guide movement turns 98. Over the years, the organisation’s impact on the physical, mental and spiritual development of girls and young women has been phenomenal. Many Ismaili Muslim women who are part of the movement have become inspiring role models and leaders in their communities and the world.

The keynote speaker, Congressman Pete Sessions, addresses the audience about the importance of scouting and community service.

In December, ten Ismaili Muslim Boy Scouts in Texas earned the prestigious Eagle Scout Award for performing outstanding community service that demonstrated initiative, commitment to help those in need, and extraordinary leadership skills. This prestigious rank is achieved by only five per cent of all Boy Scouts in the United States.

An aerial view of Port-au-Prince's downtown area demonstrates the extent of damage inflicted by the powerful earthquake that hit the Haitian capital on 12 January.

In January, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shattered the Republic of Haiti. Horrified by the disaster, countries, civil society organisations and individual donors responded with desperately needed help. Among them were many Ismailis who used their resources and skills to find creative ways to provide timely assistance to Haitians.

Women who survived the landslide rest in one of the schools that was re-purposed as a camp for internally displaced persons.

Life in the Hunza valley was changed forever when a landslide buried the entire village of Attabad in the Northern Pakistan territory of Gilgit-Baltistan earlier this year. Despite extensive relief efforts, the future remains uncertain as a lake resulting from the landslide swallows villages and threatens the lives of thousands downstream.

Volunteers at the Camley Street Nature Park busied themselves digging, raking, levelling and pulling out unwanted roots.

As a Muslim community, giving of our time and helping others is integral to our way of life. From a young age, Ismailis are surrounded by examples of volunteers in action. In the UK, the Youth, Cultural and Social Network has launched an initiative that provides opportunities for the Jamat to give back to the society in which they live.

Munir Samji speaks with to two Siddhi farmers. With advice and assistance from AKRSP, many of the farmers have improved in their income from the land — in some cases doubling it.

Last November, four dedicated participants from the Partnership Walk & Run in the United Kingdom had a chance to see the impact of their efforts firsthand. They spent seven days in India, where they visited one of the projects selected to receive funds from the event. They recently shared their impressions with TheIsmaili.org.

Rozina Issani and her guide Kate cross the finish line at the third annual Joe’s Team Triathlon in Muskoka, Ontario.

Imagine swimming 750 metres, then biking 20 kilometres, and finally running 5 kilometres in a span of a few hours. Sounds like an intense physical challenge? How about taking this on without your sense of sight? Rozina Issani shares her inspiring personal story.

Imamat Day banners and members of the Aga Khan Scouts welcome guests to the reception.

In Tajikistan, the celebration of Imamat Day — or Roz-e Takht Nishini in Tajik — traditionally includes family and neighbourhood gatherings with shared meals, music and dancing. In July 2009 the Aga Khan Development Network Resident Representative Office contributed to the festivities by hosting an education-themed Imamat Day reception.

Fifteen trainers from Egypt and Syria learnt how to conduct high impact training in Damascus.

During the course of the Golden Jubilee, many murids around the world pledged a nazrana of Time and Knowledge to Mawlana Hazar Imam. Shaheen Tejani reflects on the completion of her recent TKN engagement with the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance.

Calgary’s Ismaili Muslim community was honoured to win the 2006 Best Overall and Most Creative prize for their float, which partnered with the Calgary Meals on Wheels agency.

Anyone who has visited the Canadian province of Alberta will have been touched by the Spirit of the West. In the best tradition of that spirit, the Jamat in Alberta has worked to make the province and the country a better place for all.

Nestled among the narrow streets of Old Town Mombasa is a little gem of a place that radiates the hopefulness of a new generation. Founded by three Aga Khan Academy teachers, the Jahazi Coffee House is making an effort to improve life in the surrounding community.

Mawlana Hazar Imam addresses the 2009 Conference of the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington, DC.

Reflecting on Mawlana Hazar Imam's speech at the 2009 Conference of the Global Philanthropy Forum, Asif Penwala explores the connection between philanthropy, the ethic of compassion and voluntary service. He observes how this relationship comes together within the Jamat, as well as the wider sphere of the Ismaili Imamat. Also see the video.

Participants braved the heat and the open road to keep cycling the 550 kilometres from Mumbai to Goa.

Sixty-nine people participated in the 2008 FOCUS Challenge event, cycling some 550 kilometres from Mumbai to Goa along the Konkan Coast. This photo essay documents their journey.

Dr Soroya Janmohamed with patients from Hama and Salamieh who travelled to the eye health camp.

According to the WHO, more than 90 per cent of visually impaired people live in developing countries. One Ismaili doctor is making eye health services accessible to some of them and improving the quality of their lives.

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