Category Archives: Youth

Mushkil Asan Behram Yazad

As children we have grown up hearing the story of Mushkil Asan Behram Yazad every Friday as our parents pray with chana and sakarya daana. This year for religion, we wanted all the children of XYZ’s Behram’s Batallion to not only hear the story but to be able to recite it. What better way to do that than enact a live play of the story.
Zeenia aunty approached us with this idea. We then asked Jenny aunty to help us write the script of the play and Roshan aunty to direct it, who readily agreed. Once the poster was shared on the group, within 10 minutes, we got 25 names for characters of the plays and dances and soon the rehearsals began. The rehearsals went on for more than a month as the language was pure gujrati and Roshan aunty drove us to perfection. Volunteers helped us with the props and stage management, costumes, music and lights for special effects. Now the question was where to get the money for these expenses. So we decided to sell tickets to see our play.
Ava, our president helped us design and print the tickets and within a few weeks we were housefull.
After a whole lot of practice and a grand rehearsal.. the day if the show, 12 November finally arrived.
The Dadar Athornan Madressa hall was packed with eager parents, grandparents, family and friends. Kids were biting their nails with nervousness and some were performing for the first time. Will the music play on time? Will my voice be heard? Will I remember my lines? Were some of the questions running through our minds… But with the help of Mushkil Asan we sailed through beautifully.
The audience applauded our performance with tears and laughter at the same time. Every member enjoyed being part of this play and we are sure they will now recite the story to their parents and join in our prayers to the all mighty Ahura Mazda and the ever helpful Mushkil Asan Behram Yazad.

Coffee Chat with International Zoroastrian Youth – Natalie Kanga

“Future possibilities start with steps we take today, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in becoming involved to not hesitate to take that first step. We made such good connections with youth from all over the world at the 12th WZC in New York; we have already promised each other that we will all meet up again at the 8th WZYC in London next year!” – Natalie

Hi Natalie! Welcome to our coffee chat and we’re excited to have you as our seventh guest in this series.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi all, I’m Natalie. I was born in Toronto and grew up in California, where I lived with my dad who is Parsi, my mom who is Canadian, and my sister. I studied Psychology/Human Health and Music at UC San Diego, and then worked as a behavior therapist as well as the manager of a music and arts school. I’m currently back in school completing my Masters in Psychology research at Arizona State University. I manage the Emotion, Culture, and Psychophysiology Lab, where I have multiple projects running regarding police stress and decision-making, exercise treatments for psychiatric patients, and music and arts interventions for children with mental differences. After I graduate in December, I plan to get a job in industry, hopefully with a health-centered tech company such as Google Health or the Calm App.

Apart from my professional life, I am most passionate about developing meaningful connections with friends, mentoring peers and students in their academic journeys, coaching volleyball teams, writing music, traveling, and being outside enjoying nature. I am lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and beautiful people daily, and I try my best to live in the moment and appreciate all that I have!



Having grown up in San Jose, California and living between Phoenix and Los Angeles how do you manage to get involved with the local Zoroastrian Community?

Our Zoroastrian community is so interconnected worldwide, and I have used that to my advantage wherever I have moved. I love that everyone knows everyone, and even if they don’t, their grandmothers probably went to school together! I find it’s been easy to get to know the community if you’re willing to just put yourself out there, connect with friends of friends, and sometimes show up without knowing anyone. That’s when new friends are made!



Can you please tell us about your active role with the community? How did you get involved in hosting Z Camps for kids in Southern California? Do you ever have joint events with LA and other sister organizations?

I have taken on an active role in the San Jose community over the past decade or so and it really started when I attended the summer Z Camp when I was 18. I met so many friends and had such a fun time competing, putting on shows, etc. that I returned the next year, and every year after that, as a counselor.

Once people saw me getting involved, doors started to open, and people would come to me with ideas for projects they wanted to do in the community. Over the past few years, I have completed a few projects: I worked with a friend to produce a fine art photography book showcasing Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the book and professional portraits were sold to raise funds for the new center. I also helped to create a mini documentary showcasing the diverse voices of our Bay Area community, young and old, involved and not involved, and from many different countries of origin. The message that rang loud and clear through the entire documentary is the fact that we all agree much more than we think we do, and we all want our community to survive and thrive.

For those interested, the documentary is available at the following YouTube link:

I am also on the building committee which is working on fundraising and purchasing a center for the new Northern California Zoroastrian Center. I am especially excited about this initiative because it will be the first organization and center in California that combines both sides of our community – Parsi and Persian. Having the American culture in common will aid the unification of our communities, and I strongly believe that sharing and appreciating one other’s cultures will allow our communities to unite to build a stronger presence in North America and worldwide.

As for future involvement, I am going to be revamping the Z Camp for teenagers and moving it to be based in Los Angeles. Historically the camp has done a good job of bringing youth from all over California (and a handful from across North America and Iran) together, but we welcome teenagers from all over to attend, so please reach out if you know of anyone who is interested! Camp was how I made some of my closest Z friends and it is truly the catalyst that got me involved in the community.


How do you think you can collaborate with FEZANA and other international sister organizations to stay connected and exchanging ideas?

This is a great question! I do think our community would benefit from developing stronger connections and sharing resources. For example, there are several Zoroastrian communities in North America that have started or would like to start fundraising to eventually purchase a Zoroastrian center, however the task is daunting and time consuming. If we can make better use of our connections and resources across communities, we can save time and stop reinventing the wheel. I have thought about widely sharing the template for the documentary project, as well as the planning materials we use for the Z camp so that other communities can take these ideas and run with them. The massive WhatsApp group for Zoroastrian youth, as well as the Worldwide Zoroastrians Facebook group, are both a great start in getting people connected and sharing ideas across distances.


You recently attended the 12th World Zoroastrian Congress in New York City, USA, can you tell us more about it and how it felt being around 1200 Zoroastrians from all over the globe in one single hotel for four days?
The 12th WZC was an unforgettable experience! Right when I stepped out of the taxi in front of the hotel, I spotted Parsis – it was like a Zoroastrian takeover of Manhattan! I attended a number of wonderfully thought-provoking, inspiring sessions which dusted off the cobwebs of some incredibly important, timely topics. I got to experience beautiful entertainment and listen in on impressively progressive dialogue. I explored the city with old and new friends and made memories I will cherish for years to come. The entire four days were a treat and I left feeling so full of light, hope, and love for my community.

Are you excited for the 8th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress in London, UK next July? Would you recommend it to someone who has no idea what a congress is? How do you think you can spread the word and increase the excitement around the once-in-a-four-years global youth event? What ideas would you suggest for someone who wants to attend but is looking for sponsorships to enable them to attend next year’s congress?

I absolutely cannot wait for London 2023!!! Meeting the London crowd in New York really sealed the deal – we made such good connections with youth from all over the world at the 12th WZC in New York; we have already promised each other that we will all meet up again at the 8th WZYC in London next year! For anyone who isn’t sure about attending or who hasn’t been to a congress before, I would say to expect to be surrounded by people that “get” you. People that have the same roots, people that want to make friends, people that want to be involved and make a difference… Think about congress as an opportunity to explore a new city, meet new friends, and have important conversations about religion, culture, and community.

Spreading the word for London is honestly easy now because we are all on such a high after coming out of the 12th WZC in NYC! I think that word of mouth is the most powerful, personal way to get people excited. So, tell your friends, friends of friends, cousins, and anyone who will listen! The London team is really bringing the heat!

As for people seeking sponsorships to attend, I would say to reach out to your local community as a first step. Our community is so giving and well connected. Even if there is no sponsorship program already set up in your area, people like to come forward to help youth become involved. After all, we are the future!

Being born of mixed races did you face any challenges growing up – with respect to identity and belonging?

I think I was very lucky to grow up with the family I did. My mom is White, yet she cooks all the Parsi food, hosts potlucks, sits in on conversations that slip into Gujarati and nods along and listens for the English… and importantly, the San Jose community accepts her and my family fully. Ask anyone in San Jose – my mom is seen as an honorary Parsi! Of course, growing up I did notice I didn’t have as much knowledge as some of my friends about certain ceremonies or traditions. I don’t speak Gujarati and I had to learn how to wear a sari from my grandma when she was visiting, and aunties in the community would help me when I arrived at parties. Despite these minor challenges, I feel so grateful to have grown up with a mix of two cultures. I recognize my privilege in having this positive experience being mixed and I understand that our community has a long way to go to before my experience becomes the norm. I stand as an example of the good that can come from acceptance, and in an ever-diversifying society, I think this acceptance is essential for a successful future.

And to anyone else who is of mixed heritage: You are perfect as you are! You bring diversity and a unique beauty to our community and most Zoroastrian people love and accept you just as you are. Your lived experience is valid, and people will listen to you and support you. You can be as involved as anyone else, you can express your voice, and you can make a difference!



Lastly, what message do you have for our young members reading this and in what ways can they make an impact?

I would encourage my generation to step forward and be a part of the movement – it is an exciting, important time in our history, and it is up to us to decide what the future of Zoroastrianism holds. What will the Zoroastrian reputation will be in North America? Will we be known for our altruism, as the Parsis are in India? Will we be environmentalists? Will we step forward to help other communities in need? All these future possibilities start with steps we take today, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in becoming involved to not hesitate to take that first step. Reach out to someone, become involved in a small way, and doors will open that you didn’t even know existed.


Thank you so much Natalie, for your positivity and phenomenal work you do for the local community. You are such an amazing role model for our current and future youth!


Trained in Pune, Huafrid Billimoria becomes the fastest athlete with a disability to finish Ironman 70.3

Para-athlete Huafrid Billimoria competes, completes and wins third place at Ironman 70.3 clocking in 7:07 hrsPara-athlete Huafrid Billimoria competes, completes and wins third place at Ironman 70.3 clocking in 7:07 hrs

Held in Dubai, Billimoria also ended the race with a podium finish, bagging the third place
Triathlete, Huafrid Billimoria is no stranger to setting records. A para athlete, Billimoria not only became the fastest Indian Ironman athlete with a disability to complete the race, but also ended with a podium finish, bagging the third place. Living with dystonia- a movement disorder, the 26-year-old athlete has never been discouraged by his disability. Taking up all challenges heads on he had a gruelling routine preparing for Ironman.

Training at Powerpeaks – The Athlete Lab, under Chaitanya Velhal , Billimoria and his guide for the race Omkar Jokar, were both forces to reckon with at the race. Infact, despite having a crash at 80 kms, and injuring his elbow and spraining his knew, he managed to finish the cycling part of the race as well as ran the full 21 km as Huafrid’s guide. The two of them finished the race in 07:07 hrs.

Huafrid Billimoria(r) and his guide Omkar Jokar

Iron Man reached is popularity in India when actor turned marathon runner Milind Soman won the race in 2017. Gaining momentum from there on, a bunch of athletes from across the country started preparing and gearing up for what is crowned as one of the toughest races of all time.

Set against the magnanimous 7-star Burj Al-Arab Hotel and Jumeirah beach, Ironman 70.3 kicked off on Saturday, March 12. As over 2500 athletes competed to not only attempt at winning but to also just finish the race, the event was a thrilling experience as always.

Till date, Powerpeaks- the city based athlete founded by Velhal, has helped more than 250 people achieve their dream of becoming Ironman and can boast of a 100 percent finisher record as well. This was the 3rd time that Powerpeaks has hosted an Ironman contingent representing India for the Ironman Dubai. The first visually impaired Indian to finish an IRONMAN 70.3 race and create history, Niket Dala is also an athlete from Powerpeaks.

From Nargol to Team India’s reserve, Arzan Nagwaswalla

Arzan Nagwaswalla is the definitely the most surprise pick in the Indian Test team.

Arzan was included as a standby player for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-Test series in England.

The 23 year old is the only active Parsi cricketer in the Indian domestic cricket circuit. And the left-arm pace bowler has an outside chance to become the first Parsi cricketer in the Indian men’s team after Farokh Engineer, the swashbuckler wicket-keeper-batsman who last played for India in 1975.

Former women;s captain Diana Edulji was the last Parsi player in the Indian team, with her last international appearance coming in an ODI in 1993.

Not being part of the IPL Arzan could not garner much attention. But the Gujarat fast bowler caught the selectors’ eye not only with his pace but also with his ability to pick wickets, having finished with 41 wickets last season with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul.

Arzan, who hails from the village of Nargal, close to the Maharashtra border — recalls how he had to travel around 350 km for his training in Ahmedabad in the initial days. In the village too, pursuing cricket was not easy as the players themselves had to roll the pitch and plan the practice sessions themselves.

It is no surprise that his role model is Pakistan’s pace bowling legend Wasim Akram.

After being named as the standby player in the Indian Test squad, Arzan Nagwaswalla spoke to‘s Harish Kotian on his journey in cricket so far.

Did you expect this call up?

Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect it so early. Obviously, you do expect to be picked in the Indian team, but…

When did you know of the selection?

Actually, the secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association had called me in the morning itself that ‘You might have to go to England so just be ready.’

That time I didn’t understand what he was talking about. So when I heard about the selection now, I understood what he was saying.

How did your family react?

I haven’t reached home yet. I am travelling and on my way home.

Are you excited to get to practice and hopefully play in England which has the best conditions for fast bowlers?

This is the first time I am travelling there so there is a lot of excitement. It feels like a dream come true to get a chance to travel with the Indian team.

You had a good season in domestic cricket last year, picking up 41 wickets in the 2019-2020 Ranji Trophy season with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul.
Tell us the improvements you made as a bowler in your second season.

There was not much of a difference in the last season. I was just focusing on the process whether it be bowling or in practice and the results are there for everyone to see.

What were the changes if you can point out in the second season that brought you success?

It was more of a mental aspect I would say in terms of how to approach a game, how to play and similar things.

So it was more of the mental side of things and other than that there were no any changes.

You played under Parthiv Patel who has a lot of experience and has taken Gujarat cricket to greater heights in the last few seasons. What was his advice to you?

He used to constantly tell me that ‘You are doing well so be ready as opportunity can come anytime.’

I was also focused on my game whether the opportunity comes or not, I just looked to give my best every time I went out to play.

Arzan Nagwaswalla

IMAGE: Arzan with his parents. Photograph: BCCI

Did it also help a young player when you play in a successful team like Gujarat?

It was about the team environment, the bonding between the players. There was no biasness in the team, whether it was a senior player or junior player, everyone played together as one unit.

I think that is the main reason behind our success.

Our coach used to tell us that we should work as a team and focus more on the team goals rather than individual goals.

Who is your childhood coach?

My childhood coach is Kiran Tandel, who is a former player for Gujarat. He hails from my village Nargal (close to the Maharashtra border). In fact, he lives next to my house and he is also a fast bowler. So I learnt a lot of things from him.

Were things difficult for you at the start because you hail from a small village?

I used to training in my village in Nargal when I started off, but for the camp I had to travel to Ahmedabad which is 350

km away.

In Nargal village, we used to prepare the pitch and even today we work on the pitch and practice ourselves, we have to do everything.
The travelling was a bit of struggle, but that was fine as it helped me improve.

The training in Ahmedabad helped me work with good coaches and they helped rectify the errors in my bowling and that played a big part in my development.

Along with getting picked for India, playing in the IPL is the next big target for all Indian domestic players. You did well in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament with nine wickets from five games but were not picked in the IPL even though were part of it as the nets bowlers for the Mumbai Indians. Were you disappointed?

No, it was not disappointed. I knew there is a time for everything, so when the time is right, I will also get there.

In the last one year, there was not much of domestic cricket. How did you stay in touch with the game?

We had a few camps in Ahmedabad so there we got a chance to practice and improve our skills. The physical training part, we were doing at home and the cricketing part we practiced in Ahmedabad.

FACES of the 1400: A ZYNA Project

Hello Everyone

As we prepare to celebrate the Nowruz 1400, the Zoroastrian Youth of North America (ZYNA) a FEZANA Committee; is taking on an endeavor to create an pictorial timestamp and archive of our Zoroastrian diaspora in North America and around the world through a project called the Zoroastrian Faces of 1400. 

Through this project, we’re hoping to collect pictures of Zarathushtis and their families from around the world and combine them into a video and/or living webpage that will serve as a strong memory point for the turn of the century.


Please submit your picture(s) by Wednesday, March 10th, at the link below

Submit Your Photo

If you have any questions, reply to this email, or write us at or reach out to Parshan Khosravi at (949)354-1497.Sincerely,

Parshan Khosravi & Farzin Avari

ZYNA Co-Chairs

Jehan Daruvala creates history, becomes first Indian to win a Formula 2 race

Jehan Daruvala creates history, becomes first Indian to win an Formula 2 race

Jehan Daruvala emerged on top in the support race of the season-ending Formula 1 Grand Prix after a thrilling battle against F2 champion Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum

Jehan Daruvala created history when he became the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race during the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday.

A thrilling battle against F2 champion Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum saw the 22-year-old Indian emerge on top in the support race of the season-ending Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Jehan, driving for Rayo Racing, had a good launch from second on the grid and was up alongside pole sitter Daniel Ticktum.

Ticktum squeezed Jehan on the inside which allowed Schumacher to go around the outside of both of them.

Eventually, Ticktum emerged in the lead, followed by Schumacher and Jehan in third. A few corners later, Jehan made a good move to pass Schumacher and get into second position.

A few laps later, Schumacher passed Jehan, to relegate him to third.

Jehan, however, did not give up. A thrilling battled ensued and eventually the Indian got past Schumacher once again, to reclaim his second spot.

Jehan then reeled off a series of quick laps to catch the race leader. However, he was unable to overtake.

The battle for the lead intensified as Ticktum seemed desperate to win the last race of the season.

Jehan, however, kept his cool and maintained the pressure. His excellent race craft forced the race leader to start making mistakes, but Jehan found it tough to get past Ticktum.

Eventually with less than 10 laps to go, Jehan made another fantastic move to get past Ticktum and grab the lead.

Thereafter, Jehan drove well to slowly start opening up a gap and finally took the chequered flag to win his maiden FIA Formula 2 race.

His Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda was second, over 3.5 seconds behind Jehan, while Ticktum was third.

“Motorsport is pretty big in India. We obviously have a lot of people, so I have a big fan base back home, and my goal at the end of the day is to do myself and my country proud.

“(I have) to prove to people from back home that even though we don’t have the same facilities and stuff that guys have in Europe, as long as you can work hard you can fight right at the sharp end of the grid,” Jehan said.


Zoroastrian Cricket Club (ZCC) – Toronto – New Beginnings

The Zoroastrian Cricket Club in Toronto has decided to start playing league T20 cricket again after an 8 year gap in play. The club started playing 50 over cricket and was formed in 1978 by a group of cricket loving Parsee immigrants that came to Canada from India and Pakistan. It ran successfully for many years in a local league but in 2013 the club folded due to a lack of interest amongst newer Zoroastrians.

However, in recent years the OZCF (Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation) field was transformed to include a cricket pitch and it renewed interest amongst the Parsee community! For the past two years the team has played inter friendly matches and have occasionally invited other teams to play as well. Due to the creation of the new agiary, the OZCF ground is not available for the upcoming season. The club has decided to join Mississauga Cricket League, and would like to introduce and include more youngsters to the game in a healthy community atmosphere with proper coaching by ex national team players. So if you have kids that want to learn sports and have fun in an all Parsee community setting or if you want to join yourself please contact Khushroo Wadia at The club appreciates your support and enthusiasm and thanks the many former members who still donate generously to keep up equipment and help pay for the league costs, balls, and umpire fees. What a truly wonderful community we have. Come and be a part of it!

OZCF COVID-19 Virtual Run/Walk

Welcome to the OZCF COVID-19 Virtual Run/Walk!

The OZCF Sports committee are excited to bring to you their first Virtual Run/Walkfundraiser.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not allowed the OZCF to have in-person events, therefore we are holding this Virtual event.

*This is one event ‘WE DO NOT WISH TO SEE YOU IN-PERSON’*

Please follow the guidelines below:

1. Register by paying $20
2. Starts October 23rd and ends October 31st, 2020
3. Please pay attention to the current COVID-19 regulations in your area
4. Take pictures and videos of your Run/Walk and send them to xariusjasavala@hotmail.comor 905-808-2827 with your full name and area (i.e. Xarius Jasavala, Oakville, ON).
5. You can track your distance with a running/walking app such as ‘Strava‘ or running/walking watch or treadmill display.
After you have completed your Run/Walk, please take a picture/screenshot of your running app/watch/treadmill showing your distance & send to us.


Take a picture of yourself having completed the 5km.

While we realize that it may not be possible for all participants to complete 5km, we encourage you to participate, keep fit and complete however many km you can.

We wish to have fun with this, so please do send in periodic Pictures/Videos of your participation in this first Virtual Run/Walk.

We will be posting these on our website & social media platforms.

We would like as many people to participate (young and old), from all over the world; stay fit, stay safe, have fun !

** You can take this further and get sponsors from friends and family by asking people to hit the OZCF Donation option from the website or click HERE

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