The son of a businessman, Naz Rayani was born in Kenya in 1943. By the time he was 10, he knew he wanted to be a pharmacist as it would allow him to combine his understanding of business with his desire to help others. In 1972 Naz opened his first pharmacy in Nairobi, but in 1974 Kenya’s political environment prompted Naz to seek out somewhere a little more stable so he immigrated to Canada.
Naz has gone from working behind the counter as a pharmacist to owner of five drug stores in Greater Victoria. But the unofficial mayor of Cadboro Bay is perhaps best known for his efforts to fight global poverty, and his deeply personal mission to encourage an open dialogue about the Islamic faith.
These days, much of Naz’s extra time is devoted to promoting the World Partnership Walk. The annual event raises awareness of global poverty and supports programs by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada that provide long-term, sustainable solutions. Today, tens of thousands of people take part in walks held across the country. More than $90 million has been raised for international development initiatives and the walk is officially supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
Naz’s work in the community has resulted in numerous honours.
In 2006, he was appointed to the Order of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa. And in 2013 he received an honourary doctorate from the University of Victoria Faculty of Humanities in recognition of his efforts to build connections between faiths and his work to raise money for an endowment supporting Islamic literature in the university’s library.
Asked if he feels satisfied with his accomplishments, Naz says true success in life is defined by something closer to home – his family. His wife, Yasmine, his children, Rasool and Zahra, and his five granddaughters Aniqa, Sofia, Noor, Naeema, Khaila and Kamilah.
You can view Naz's acceptance speech on our youtube channel here: https://youtu.be/m_LNttMv_Xk
The Chamber of Commerce tribute video can be found here : Tribute Video