Sarwar Jahan Begum (1928-2013)

  • Sarwar Jahan Begum (1928-2013)

    Sarwar Jahan Begum was born and raised in Calcutta, India where she spent her early youth until her marriage to Muhammad Abbas Ali in October 1947. Her inspiration for charitable work came from her parents; her father was a physician and her mother and aunt were active in the political arena and social causes. In fact her mom, her aunt and older sister were involved in caring for orphans during the devastating Bengal Famine in 1943 and established an orphanage in Calcutta which was relocated to East Pakistan in 1948 and later in 1971, taken over by the newly formed Bangladesh government. No doubt these experiences had a tremendous influence on her which led to a life dedicated to helping the poor. Her marriage gave her a partner who was equally committed to her cause and together they nurtured a family of nine kids and twenty-seven grandchildren. Even as a devoted mother, she always found time for the needs of the community, be it Canada – her adopted home, or back in her home country, Pakistan. Sarwar Jahan Begum helped her husband establish the Muslim Welfare Centre and shared many awards with him in recognition of her significant contributions to helping the poor within the community in Canada and abroad. After the demise of Major Abbas, her husband of 61 years, Sarwar Jahan Begum took the leadership of Muslim Welfare Centre and witnessed some important program expansion, including the establishment of the free clinic, the school nutrition program and the village development project in Pakistan. She remained as President of the organization until her passing on March 18, 2013. Today the important work that she pioneered with her husband, Major Abbas, continues under the stewardship of a dedicated board of directors and passionate team inspired by their vision and legacy.

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