On the occasion of International Women’s Day, and in keeping with this year’s theme #BalanceForBetter, DBWRF celebrates women achievers through a series of articles. In this blog, we highlight edupreneur Dr. Zainab Najmi’s journey from a teacher, to setting up her own school.

Education is at the heart of a person’s intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual well-being – these wise words imparted to Zainab Najmi by her father during her childhood, became the tenet of her life. Today, Dr. Zainab Najmi has established her own internationally affiliated school, Seven Pillars Educational Institute, which is all set to open its gates to young minds in Surat, Gujarat.

Dr. Najmi’s journey began while she was studying at the Sophia College in Mumbai, where she was called on to be a substitute teacher. During this time, she thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and was constantly looking out for innovative ideas to teach students. Having found her calling in teaching, when the Taleem approached her to set up a school in Dombivli, she took up the initiative without batting an eyelid.

Equipped with only a truck to transport material required for the school, she started the Mubaraka English High School out of two flats which were given to her, and a handful of students. During this time, Dr. Najmi worked tirelessly to convince parents in the area to enroll their children in her school, and even organised events and gatherings which highlighted her holistic approach to education. Her efforts paid off, and from a mere seven students in the first year of operations, numbers grew to 40 in the second.

Following her marriage, Dr. Najmi shifted to Surat, where she completed her Ph.D in Education and worked as the Principal of a reputed school in the region. The experience here gave her valuable insights into the functioning of a school on a large scale, and while the job gave her immense satisfaction, there were times she felt the desire to do more. This desire inspired her to work towards fulfilling her ultimate dream, which was to run her own school. Thus, with the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, and guidance from her father and a very strong support of her husband and her family, she took the leap of faith and set up Seven Pillars Educational Institute.

Dr. Najmi’s journey from here on was driven by pure grit and determination. Through her efforts, she found the perfect locale for her school in the heart of Surat and affiliated with the Cambridge Board, thereby providing students with international standards of education. Besides this, she also ensured that the curriculum focused on multiple intelligence and value education, for all-round development of the child.

When asked about being a woman entrepreneur, Dr. Najmi proudly states, “Being a woman in the field of education and a mother of three beautiful daughters definitely has its advantages. I feel that when women teach, there is a motherly touch, and strong emotions which work well with children. Through Seven Pillars Educational Institute I want to give the best to each, and every student enrolled with us and want to understand them completely. Right from their basic needs, to what makes them happy, to what are their core intelligences; these things are important to me, along with their growth.”

Dr. Najmi credits all that she has been able to achieve, to her community values, and the goodwill they have earned among residents of Surat. She also says that remaining true to her culture has been a large part of her success. “His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin always says that we should compete with ourselves to grow. His words have stayed with me, guiding me in everything that I do, making me push myself to the next level,” she states with pride.

Today, as she stands on the verge of seeing her dream come true with the opening of her school, she signs off saying, “Work with your heart and follow your passion. Never give up, and you will see your dreams come true.”