DIL educates and empowers underprivileged students, especially girls, by operating student-centered model schools; and provides high-quality professional development to teachers and principals across Pakistan.
DIL believes that no child in Pakistan, no matter how poor or underprivileged, should be denied access to quality education. All children should have equal opportunity to reach their full potential and contribute toward the socio-economic betterment of their communities.
DIL operates under the auspices of a US-based Board of Directors and a Pakistan-based Board of Trustees. DIL was granted tax-exempt status 501 (c) (3) by the IRS in February 2000.
DIL was registered in July 2000 in Pakistan under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and donations received in Pakistan are tax-exempt. All members of the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees are volunteers and serve without compensation.
Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General
The Board of Directors develops strategic goals and program initiatives; reviews and approves annual plans and budgets; assists in expanding outreach, visibility and donor support; and monitors the progress of the organization.
Board of Directors
Fiza Shah was born in Quetta, Pakistan, moving to the United States in 1980. Educated in Pakistan, England and the United States, Ms. Shah initially worked in health care administration as manager of the Lakewood Medical Group. In 1997, Ms. Shah founded Developments in Literacy (DIL), an organization that empowers underprivileged students, especially girls, by operating student-centered model schools and providing high-quality professional development to teachers and principals across Pakistan. Under her leadership, the organization has successfully established more than 200 primary and secondary schools throughout Pakistan’s four provinces, and is committed to providing education that equips students and teachers with certain academic competencies and life skills that will bring an increased measure of empowerment to their daily lives. The road has not been easy – opening schools in areas where female empowerment is shunned has been extremely challenging. However, the transformation in the students’ lives through education is not only shaping their destiny but that of their families and communities. Ms. Shah currently serves as Founder and CEO of Developments in Literacy, and has also served as President of the Pakistan Arts Council of the Pacific Asia Museum.
Sara Abbasi is a philanthropist who has been committed to spreading access to education worldwide. In addition to DIL, she serves on the board of Relief International, the American Pakistan Foundation (APF), and the World Affairs Council of Northern California.
A 35-year veteran of Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd., Mr. Ahmed retired in 1996 and has since then worked as a consultant for the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) and the Sungi Development Foundation (SUNGI). He has also been an active volunteer with many nonprofit organizations in Pakistan.
Ahmed has been involved with fundraising for YOUR DIL since 2005, led the New York chapter in 2009, and has served on the YOUR DIL National Board since 2010. Having spent his formative years living between the US and Pakistan, he is very familiar with the challenges as well as the opportunities for progress in South Asia. Ahmed graduated from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and has worked as an investment banker in credit and acquisition finance at JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. He is currently pursuing an opportunity in Asia focused on growing an emerging market airline and hospitality company.
Ahmereen Reza is on the board of the British Pakistan Foundation and the Honorary Chairperson of Developments in Literacy Trust UK, a registered charity in England and Wales dedicated to educating children in underdeveloped and rural areas of Pakistan and assisting women from within multi-ethnic communities in England and Wales. Ahmereen heads her own consulting firm.
Najmi Akram Sarwar has worked for ten years at AT&T as an engineer & product manager and then later as a VP at Citibank in New York. She has served on the board of the International YMCA and is a partner of the Acumen Fund.
Muhammad is a member of the Technology, Media & Telecom Investment Banking Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Prior to joining the firm in 2009, Muhammad founded his own technology company and also worked at Accenture and Deutsche Bank.
Zia is currently CEO of Streetline Inc. the leading global provider of senior enabled smart city solutions. Just prior to his role leading Streetline, Zia was Entreprenuer-in-Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. He spent the last ten years at SAP AG where he was executive vice president and a member of SAP’s Executive Leadership Team. Prior to SAP, Zia was part of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he worked on corporate finance and M&A transactions. Zia has a MS in International Affairs from Georgetown University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BA from Macalester College.
Board of Advisors
Dr. Maleeha Lodhi is a journalist, an academic and a diplomat from Pakistan. Until recently, she was the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom, and a former Ambassador to the United States. She is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has also been a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on Disarmament.
Henna Inam is the Global Head for e-Innovation for Novartis. Ms. Inam is an experienced General Manager and CMO, who combines strategic thinking and brand-building capabilities of a P&G heritage, with the passion and people skills to drive results.
Haris Khan is Co-CEO and Co-Founder of the Technology Services firm, Zigron Inc. He is responsible for Zigron’s Product Strategy and User Experience Services. He also works with early stage startups to pursue joint and solo startup ventures.
Kavita N. Ramdas is the Representative for the Ford Foundation’s office serving India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In additional to this role, she continues to be involved with the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford where she serves as the Chair of the Global Practitioner Council. The program brings social change innovators to campus twice a year.
Dr. Nafis Sadik is currently Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General, with additional responsibilities as Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia, and former head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She was first appointed as Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia by former Secretary-General Kofi Anna in 2002, and was renewed of the appointment by the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007.
Ms. Jane Wales is the President & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, host of the nationally-syndicated National Public Radio interview show It’s Your World, and Co-Founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum.
Mr. Kashif Zafar is Managing Director at Barclays, U.K. Before 2009, Mr. Zafar was based in New York, where he was at Barclays, USA for over 3 years. Prior to joining Barclays, Mr. Zafar worked for a number of years at Credit Suisse.