The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sometimes called the Global Goals, are a worldwide movement to break the cycle of poverty and ensure all people can fulfill their potential. For fifty years, the Aga Khan Foundation, as a part of the Aga Khan Development Network, has been working to do that. We are thrilled to share these stories from around the Network that show how we are building brighter futures, in line with our partners dedicated to ending poverty through the SDGs. We work together with communities, partners, and supporters like you to achieve the 17 goals that will improve quality of life for everyone.
The Aga Khan Development Network brings together people committed to building better futures around the world. Dr. Rozmin Jiwani’s path to building better futures began when she attended a university in Pakistan, then moving to San Antonio, Texas to continue her studies. Now, she holds a Ph.D. in Nursing with a commitment to giving back.
Currently, Dr. Jiwani is a faculty member at the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She is an assistant professor in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Diversity and teaches in the Traditional and Accelerated Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing programs. She received her Diploma in Nursing from the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan in 1993, and her Ph.D. from the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2013. As a volunteer with the Aga Khan Foundation, she has shared her expertise in the field of health promotion and disease prevention.
A Passion for Learning
When I was in fourth grade, my neighbor bought a small black-and-white television. My siblings were so excited that they would ask her to leave her door open so they could peek at the 12-inch set from outside. Growing up in Pakistan, this excitement was common- but I was not moved by the picture box. My hobbies were different; my television was my imagination. Ever since I could read, I had my nose buried in a book. I had a passion for learning which blossomed into a fascination with medicine.
My sister worked as a midwife at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi. That led me to its front doors. I wanted to become a nurse, but my family was not financially stable enough to support me. Still, I decided to test my luck and ended up with the biggest blessing I could have dreamed of. The hospital funded my education, introduced me to my best friends, taught me patient care, encouraged my medical curiosity and the meals weren’t half bad either!
From Pakistan to Texas
It is because of this grand opportunity that I am in the U.S. today. I married a wonderful man who saw how much I wanted to give back to the educational community. He encouraged me to continue my studies and I soon received my Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas in San Antonio.
I still remember the day I decided to select my dissertation focus. It felt so overwhelming! I wanted to write about something that could be used to help others, like I had been helped during my own journey. I thought of my family and their health issues and realized that our history of premature death related to cardiovascular disease was not unique among people who shared my background. In hopes of finding a way to raise awareness, I decided to study heart disease in the South Asian community.
Giving Back for Health
While writing my dissertation, I gave presentations in several diverse South Asian communities to inform the members about their risks. Still, this did not feel like enough and I decided to volunteer at the Aga Khan Foundation Walk in San Antonio with my students, giving free cholesterol and glucose tests and teaching the community about disease prevention.
Today, with my diploma in my hand and my dissertation on my bookshelf, I’m proud to say that I am still learning every single day. My new wish is to inspire my students the way AKU inspired me. Thank you, Aga Khan University, for kick-starting my nursing career and turning a book-loving girl into a book writing educator.
Rozmin’s story was also published in the Huffington Post.
Photo: Students at a hospital teaching lab at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. AKDN/Gary Otte
This post is part of the #humansoftheworld series on our blog—a collection of tales we can both relate to and marvel at. Here, we share stories of appreciation, self-reliance, and strength from across the Aga Khan Development Network.