A Brief History
Jeewan Chanicka accepted Islam at the age of 11. His journey to Islam and continual learning has enabled him to understand its beauty and compassion for all peoples regardless of differences. He has been married for over 11 years, has a true companion in his wife Sharon, and has been blessed with two wonderful sons.
Jeewan was born in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta and went on from there to live with his family in the beautiful Caribbean island of Trinidad. From there he journeyed on to the “meeting place” of our global village – Toronto, Canada where he met his wife and went on to make Toronto his home. While living there, he worked in several areas including with the youth, in education, and social services.
He graduated with his BA with honours in Individualized Studies at York University with a focus on conflict resolution, mediation and culturally appropriate forms of mediation and completed his BEd at the University of Toronto. He completed his Masters Degree in Education at York University. Jeewan also spent approximately one year studying primarily Arabic at the al Diwan institute in Cairo, Egypt. His focus has been working with at-risk youth both in and out of the school system. He has done much work with both youth and adults, especially around parenting, teenage/youth issues and bridging the gap between generations. Jeewan has had the benefit and opportunity to study and learn from numerous teachers including: Shk. Ahmad Kutty, Shk. Abdallah Idris Ali, Shk. Abdullah Hakim Quick and Imam Siraj Wahaj.
Jeewan’s passion lies in education because of the transformative nature of knowledge and its ability to affect generations. When children are empowered, they can understand the value of their agency and the responsibility that comes with education. True education is inclusive and allows people to value the differences in perspectives and beliefs that exist in the world. Over the years, Jeewan has been privileged to work and learn from great mentors in the fields of literacy, equity, parent engagement and risk and resiliency among other areas. Just as he benefited from those who taught him, Jeewan continues to share his expertise in these areas with others. He has conducted workshops in literacy, equity, character education, parent engagement, risk, resiliency, student and professional portfolios, curriculum integration and modeled instructional intelligence processes. Jeewan is also a TRIBES trainer and has used this process of learning in his classrooms through all his years of teaching. He believes that a teacher is both a mu’allim – giver of knowledge and a murrabi- mentor and that character moulds knowledge and makes its bearer responsible to become a change agent. He has worked with the United Nations University of Peace to develop a curriculum framework that embeds peace education within the Islamic context for North American and South Asian schools and learning networks. In 2006, Jeewan was awarded an international award from the Canadian Education Partnership based in Washington D.C.
Other Areas of Interest
While working as a teacher in the public school system, he lectured and run workshops across North America on various issues of Islamic relevance: youth, domestic violence, family, self-esteem, conflict-resolution, and da`wah, among other issues. Jeewan has counseled both youth and adults in areas dealing with employment, housing, mental health, suicide, drugs, racism, physical and sexual abuse, immigration and integration issues, marriage, and family problems.
As a program counselor, Jeewan worked with at-risk students in high school and middle school, to develop new and healthy habits that would eventually lead them to academic success. His other passions include writing, art, poetry, public-speaking, enjoying the beauty of Allah’s creation in nature, traveling, climbing, swimming and hanging out with his friends. His CD “The Prophet’s Song” is scheduled for release in Ramadan 2007 and he is currently working on a manuscript for a children’s story among other creative ideas.
He is the member of the Chapter Youth Department of Muslim Association of Canada – Toronto, a member of the Executive Committee of Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association and works actively with numerous other associations and groups.