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ZS Holdings Donates $50K for International Student-Athlete Scholarships

Apr 11, 2024
A group shot of smiling members of the ZS Holdings group with RDP President. The group holds a cheque for $50,000

Left to right: Stuart Cullum (President, Red Deer Polytechnic), Jose Mauro Barrozo Jr. (RDP student-athlete, Kings Basketball), with members of the Rajan, Charania and Mawji families of ZS Holdings.

In a significant act of generosity and commitment to education, Zainul & Shazma Holdings Ltd (ZS Holdings) has pledged $50,000 to establish the ZS Holdings 50th Anniversary International Student-Athlete Success Fund at Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP). This donation marks a new chapter in the longstanding partnership between ZS Holdings and RDP, specifically aimed at supporting the bright futures of international student-athletes.

Fifty years ago, founders Afzal and Gulzar embarked on a journey from Tanzania to Canada, laying the groundwork for what would become a successful family-run business encompassing seven hotels and two restaurants across Alberta. Inspired by their parents' entrepreneurial spirit and resilience, daughters Zainul and Shazma have continued to build on this legacy through ZS Holdings, a testament to the family’s dedication to community development and support.

This generous donation from the Rajan family, through ZS Holdings, celebrates Afzal’s own journey to Canada and his family’s desire to give back to the community that has supported them. During the next five years, the ZS Holdings 50th Anniversary International Student-Athlete Success Fund will provide scholarships for international student-athletes at RDP, ensuring they have the resources needed to succeed both in their studies and in their respective sports within the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference.

"The opportunity for me to study in Canada, while also playing the sport I love—basketball—is made possible because of international scholarships, like the ZS Holdings 50th Anniversary International Student-Athlete Success Fund. Without the financial support of such scholarships, moving from Brazil to further my education would not have been possible," said RDP student-athlete Jose Mauro Barrozo Jr., highlighting the significance of scholarships for international students.

Shazma Charania, President of ZS Holdings, reflected on the importance of this initiative:

 “To the students and athletes today and our future students: as my parents instilled in my sister and I, and our children, the importance of hard work, integrity and the pursuit of excellence, so too my parents wish to help you with your journey. Their drive from humble beginnings to successful entrepreneurs exemplifies the limitless possibilities afforded by education and determination.”

“We are profoundly grateful for the Rajan family’s continued support and this significant contribution,” said Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “This donation honours an important milestone for this entrepreneurial family and also reinforces our shared commitment to creating opportunities for student-athletes from around the globe. This gift is a reminder of the combined power of family, community connection, innovation, and generosity.”

Since their first partnership with RDP in 2015, ZS Holdings has contributed more than $160,000 to various programs and events, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the student community. This latest donation underscores the Rajan family’s dedication to fostering international talent and supporting the development of student-athletes at Red Deer Polytechnic. 

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