Category Archives: Youth

66th and 67th Know India Programmes

Dear Friends,

As you are aware, the Know India Programme (KIP) is the flagship programme of Ministry of External Affairs to engage and familiarise the young diaspora members, with the different facets of India and the progress in various sectors like economic, industrial, educational, science & technology, communication & information technology, heritage & culture etc. 65 editions of KIP have been conducted so far with a total of 2296 participants.

  1. The KIP programme is being expanded and revamped to reflect elements of ‘New India’ and the vision of ‘Amrit Kaal’. The Ministry plans to organise six editions of the revamped KIP in 2023-24, with higher participation of 60 youth in each to begin with. The programme will focus to highlight sectoral developments in S&T, IT, Pharmaceuticals, Infrastructure, Startup ecosystem, Digital infrastructure, India Stack, JAM trinity, Defence and Agriculture while further highlighting cultural and civilizational heritage of India like Yoga, Ayurveda, classical dance forms & music and archaeological history.

  1. The 66thand 67thKIP programmes will be organised as per details below:

66th KIP Programme
Programme Dates 30 July to 18 August 2023
State Visit Kerala
Announcement on Website 17 May 2023
Last Date for submission of Applications 15 June 2023
Last Date for recommendations by Missions 23 June 2023
67th KIP Programme
Programme Dates 13 August to 1 September 2023
State Visit Maharashtra
Announcement on Website 17 May 2023
Last Date for submission of Applications 1 July 2023
Last Date for recommendations by Missions 10 July 2023

  1. The undersigned on behalf of Consul General Somnath Ghosh, requests you to share this information with the members of your organization and encourage potential youth (18-30 yrs age) to participate in the forthcoming Know India Programme.


Ranjit Singh

Consul (Press, Info. & Culture)

Consulate General of India


ZYNA FEZANA Zoroastrian Exchange Program

ZYNA Zoroastrian Youth of North America
ZYNA & FEZANA are excited to announce the first of it’s kind Zoroastrian Exchange Program for youth aged 14-18 years of age.


The ZYNA FEZANA Zoroastrian Exchange program will offer Zoroastrian youth between the age of 14-19 years, an opportunity for a stay with a host family in another city/country.

Each participant gets an opportunity of spending 1 – 2 weeks in a different city/country than the one they live in. Zoroastrian host families in various cities will be paired with potential youth participants. The selected participants will play an active role in being a part of the daily activities and events with their Zoroastrian host families and if the opportunity arises also with local Zoroastrian associations.


Through this project, the Zoroastrian Youth would get an opportunity to live with a Zoroastrian family in a different city/country, learn about new traditions, customs, culture, language, food, etc. and truly become global citizens.

Continue reading on the FEZANA Website….

This is a pilot project and we reserve the right to tweak the program as necessary, in its initial stage.

If you are an eligible youth and would like to participate, reply to this email with all the information we have requested on the link above.

If you would like to be a host family, please reply back to this email with all the information requested at the link above.

If you have queries and would like clarifications, reply back or write

NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies – Young Mobed Training

          NAMC Institute of Zoroastrian Studies
                         Young Mobed Training
             Saturday, July 29 – Sunday, July 30, 2023
Pre-requisite:  Course designed  for initiated Mobeds under the age of 30
         Class size: 10 students (on a first-come, first-served basis)              


We are excited to announce our upcoming Young Mobed Training.

This is an in-person course by NAMC at the Zoroastrian Association of Houston,

8787 W Airport Blvd., Houston, TX 77071.

NAMC will arrange lodging and boarding while in Houston and compensate reasonable travel costs for out-of-town students.

We urge young mobeds to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn and to meet and network with other young mobeds.

If interested, please email our President,  Ervad Tehemton Mirza at:

Associations and Organizations:Please forward this announcement, including the attachment, to all your members.Thank you.

Zoroastrian Teen Swimmer Conquers San Francisco Waters

13-Year-Old Completes Epic 2 day Swim from Alcatraz to the Pier and Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Shahaan Tavadia, a 13 year old young Zoroastrian from Phoenix, Arizona USA took on the daunting 2 day challenge of swimming in the open waters of San Francisco Bay. On Day 1, the swim was scheduled to commence from Alcatraz Island, all the way to the Pier at a distance of 1.4 Miles. The arduous journey continued on day 2, spanning across the Golden Gate Bridge at a distance of 1.2 miles. There were around 70 people in the group ranging 10 to 60 years old.

This swim is known for its treacherous currents, chilly waters, and in the company of marine life. These conditions make it a formidable task even for experienced swimmers. Shahaan, a seasoned swimmer, has been honing his

skills in the pool for the past 6 years. He started his swimming journey at a young age, dedicating countless hours of hard work and determination to improve his technique and endurance. Despite all the challenges, Shahaan fearlessly dove into the frigid waters and embarked on this incredible journey. With determination and perseverance, he powered through the currents, staying focused to reach his goal. With sheer determination and skill, Shahaan triumphantly completed these momentous swims and “escaped his limitations”. His years of training, dedication, and perseverance paid off, as he emerged from the waters, conquering this remarkable feat. We also witnessed Shahaan’s quick wit during the first race, when out of sheer misfortune, he was swayed away by the currents to a different location than the finish line. He emerged at a completely different location amongst strangers. Unlike people his age, who would panic and have a meltdown, Shahaan quickly assessed the situation and gathered as much information about his location as he could. He then decided that it was wiser to swim back along the coastline line until he finally was reunited with his swim party.

It was a moment of great joy and pride for him, his family, and his coaches. This accomplishment is a testament to Shahaan’s unwavering passion for swimming and his ability to overcome challenges. It serves as an inspiration to the youth that hard work, perseverance, and dedication can lead to extraordinary achievements at a young age.


Applications for the Zoroastrian Summer School 2023 are now open

Zoroastrian Summer School 2023
Applications Now Open!
We are pleased to announce that applications for the Zoroastrian Summer School 2023 are now open. The course will take place from the 26 to 30th June 2023 at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, in collaboration with the University of Bergen.
Students at the 2022 summer school
The topic of the course is ‘Zoroastrianism as a religious minority in modern and contemporary Iran’. This course is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the study of Zoroastrianism. Students will be given an intensive learning experience consisting of lectures, discussions and interactive workshops. The course will be delivered by leading academics from Norway, the UK and the US.

Applications are open to both current (undergraduate or master’s) students and graduates. There are no tuition fees, and only a £40 registration fee for successful applicants. We are pleased to offer three bursaries of up to £1000 to help with the costs of travel and accommodation.

The deadline for applications is 19th March 2023. To find more information on the course details and application requirements, please visit the SSPIZS website.

We look forward to reading your applications!

More Information
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
Tel: +44 (0)207 074 5146

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.

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