Shafali is more than a restaurant in Ottawa that offers delicious, healthy Indian meals. Shafali is also a major supporter of Child Haven International, an organization that assists children in developing countries who are in need of food, education, health care, shelter and clothing, emotional and moral support. The organization operates nine homes for destitute children – six in India, one in Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh. The organization also assists children and elderly people in Afghanistan and Bhutan.
When Salim, the founder and CEO of the Shafali Restaurants arrived in Canada in 1984, he had the opportunity to meet with the founder of Child Haven International. This is when his desire to make the world a better place really took flight.
“The more you give, the more you receive”. This is one life principle to which Salim adheres to. Since his involvement in 1984, Salim contributed to raising more than half a million dollars for kids living in developing countries. However, he insists that he receives so much more than he gives. He gets to meet inspired and inspiring people who, like himself, want to make a difference in the world. His reward: seeing kids grow, thrive, and have the same chance as more fortunate children to live a fruitful and plentiful life.
The Shafali Indian Restaurant in Ottawa is a great networking environment that allows Salim and his brothers to engage the community and raise awareness about children in need around the world. For example in 1998 and for the following 11 years, the Indian Restaurant in Ottawa held the annual Evening Fest, which allowed raising more than $80,000.
Shafali also organises an annual event, the Glebe Soirée. Just last year, the successful event allowed raising approximately $10,000 for children in need. Many of the local Glebe businesses generously provided gift certificates for a silent auction – people participating in this activity where able to find great gifts or treat themselves. This activity allows the community to enjoy a beautiful evening while helping children around the world have a better quality of life.
Other fund raising activities include the “Restaurant Sales Giveaway” at the Dalhousie location. Two to three times a year, the owners invite friends and long-standing customers for a nice dinner. All proceeds and donations are given towards Child Haven International, an average of 4,000$ per activity.
Salim was also able to see firsthand how his involvement contributes to a better world by traveling to different countries where the organisation operates, namely in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Tibet. He was also fortunate to take part in the opening of a home in Bangladesh when he donated Shafali’s ancestral home to Child haven International. Salim worked effortlessly for a couple of years to renovate and rehabilitate the home. In 2002, it was ready to welcome kids in need. 70 kids currently live in that home and receive the nutrition, education, support and love they need and deserve. Salim is the guardian of the home that is supervised by an amazing team, supported by an extraordinary manager, Saiful Aziz.
“I am overwhelmed with joy as four of the kids who we have seen grow up in the Bangladesh home will, this year, graduate and move on to higher education. This is amazing when you think that just a few years ago, these kids were fading from the face of the earth”, said Salim. “The people working for Child haven International are extraordinary people who make a real difference. They give their lives for the sake of children, they work relentlessly, they never take a break or vacations, yet, they never complain that they are tired.”
Child Haven International helps more than 14,000 children around world.