25 years of Service

 Founding Members

President: Dr Anjum Majeed (1997-2001)

President- Dr Anjum Majeed

Dr. Anjum Majeed is an Educational Leader, community organizer, and above all, a proud mother and a grandmother. Her love, passion and drive that she gives to her own children are transferred to her vocation and community service. Dr. Majeed has been instrumental in envisioning, establishing, and restructuring numerous not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. She lays a strong foundation, garners community support, leads with conviction, and leaves with faith that the organization will thrive and be in good hands. American Muslim Women Association (AMWA) is an example of such an organization.

Anjum Majeed grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. At the age of 16, she was selected for a high school exchange-student program which landed her in Laramie, Wyoming. In Wyoming she completed her high school, bachelors and master’s degrees in biological sciences. Then her focus changed to motherhood and a need for a good early childhood education. Hence, she established a not-for profit organization, with four preschools and child care centers, and a well-developed statewide child care provider training and outreach program.

In 1992, Ms. Majeed moved to Phoenix area. Seeing such a large Muslim population with no organized efforts by the Muslims to serve the underserved, she envisioned a Muslim organization to serve the needy, irrespective of ethnicity and faith. Her efforts, inspired many community members to join the cause for the betterment of the people of Arizona. AMWA was founded to promote the positive image of Islam and to be true to the Islamic principles of justice and equity by serving the needy and providing interest free micro loans.

Additionally, since 1990’s, Dr. Majeed has been educating and enriching the lives of young children of Arizona. She founded Self Development Preschool and then established Self Development Academies, K-8 charter schools.  Her campus in Mesa is recognized as one of the top performing schools in Arizona as well as nationally. She has won many awards and recognitions for her work, including the “Charter School of the Year Award”.

Anjum’s mission in life is based on George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote: “Some people see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

Vice President: Dr Hamida Jamali MD (1997-2001)

Vice President-Dr Hamida Jamali MD

Dr. Hamida Jamali was one of the Founder members of American Muslim Women’s Association (AMWA), serving as Vice President for close to a decade. She had a keen interest in helping distressed women from all backgrounds in order to get back to a stable life. She delighted in reviewing applications for assistance and scholarships. She would marvel at the qualifications of the hard-working applicants and would often point out their positive attributes and achievements to other AMWA members as if they were her own daughters.  She was a charitable woman with her time and her money and would give graciously of her money before anyone asked because she knew of the person’s situation.

What helped mold Dr. Jamali into such a charitable, selfless person was her humble beginnings. She came from a small town in northern India called Unnao. Most people have never heard of it, but they have heard of the large town in was close to, called Lucknow. Lucknow is very famous for its beautiful usage of the Urdu language and for manners. She was one of seven children, daughter of a farmer and a housewife.  She saw the struggle of her own parents and the people of her small town. She was encouraged by her elder brother to pursue medicine, which was unheard of for a girl of her town.

She excelled in academics and went on to complete medical school at King George Medical School in Lucknow. She went on to complete internships in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, as well as family planning.  In this way she gained insight into issues that women face in having and raising children.

Dr. Jamali was faced with an opportunity to marry, but that marriage would require great sacrifices from her. She got married, but her husband took her to America. She left behind her beloved home, India, and her family. She faced a struggle of going to a new country and building a life and career out of nothing.

Dr. Jamali went on to become a pathologist for the U.S. Air Force, the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, and finally as a Commander in the U.S. Navy, head pathologist of the lab in various naval hospitals.

Her life is an example of what can be built from struggle, hard work, and perseverance. As she was able to accomplish so much coming from a modest background, it helped her to see that potential in other women seeking assistance from AMWA. Her qualities will always remain – being selfless, charitable, and dedicated to the well-being of others. In these ways, Dr. Hamida Jamali contributed her many positive attributes,  helping establish the strong foundation of AMWA.

Treasurer: Dr Naheed Shah MD

Treasurer-Dr Naheed Shah

Dr. Naheed Shah was an accomplished ophthalmologist, a philanthropist, an intellectual with a great sense of humor, and a mother of a son. As a founding treasurer, she enthusiastically participated in the planning committee that played the pivotal role in bringing the vision of a Muslim organization to reality. Serving as the American Muslim Women Association’s (AMWA’s) First Treasurer, she worked diligently to lay the foundation for transparent record keeping procedures based on honesty, integrity, and accountability.

Dr. Shah was born in Myanmar (formerly Burma) to parents originally from Punjab and Peshawar (Pakistan). As a child, “I wanted to be a nurse, the thought of wearing those white uniforms with the cap was inviting”, said Naheed Shah in a conversational interview with Dr. Anjum Majeed (December 23, 2016).  During the interview, Dr.Shah recalled the fond experiences of her many vacations that her family took to see the majestic mountains and beautiful terrains of Southeast Asia. She also described her annual trip to see her “dada Jan” from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) to Kolkata and then the train ride across India to get to Lahore.

Her idols included such historic figures as Fatima Jinnah, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and the renown philosopher of the subcontinent, Allama Iqbal. She was much influenced by her elder brother Dr. Anwar Shah, who encouraged her to become a physician and specialized in ophthalmology. After earning her medical degree, she moved to USA to specialize in Ophthalmology.

In 1975, she married Mr. Rafique Chowdhary.  Mr. Chaudhary’s mannerism, truthfulness, and joie de vivre attitude were endearing to her. Both Dr. Shah and Mr. Chaudhary loved Urdu poetry. She moved to Kingman, Arizona and ran a successful ophthalmology clinic before moving to Phoenix.

Dr. Naheed Shah along with her husband, Mr. Chaudhary, generously supported many charitable causes including educating young girls in India, providing scholarships for university students, and donating funds for research projects at the Mayo Clinic. She also raised thousands of dollars for AMWA by recruiting her friends to donate and support AMWA. She invited a renowned celebrity friend, Habib Wali Mohammad, to one of AMWA’s fundraising events. AMWA was able to raise thousands of dollars that evening to support its causes. Dr. Naheed Shah received many accolades and awards for her professional work and philanthropic projects.

Dr. Shah, sharing her words of wisdom, said: “be proud of who you are. Do not follow others; be your own individual” (Majeed, December 23, 2016).


Secretary: Nazli Currim (1997-2004)

Nazli Currim-Secretary

An Early Childhood Educator, s Social worker and an Author of 2 children’s books migrated to the U S A in 1982.

She was born in Bombay,  India and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and  had first hand experiences of what it was to be a refugee. She and her family helped out refugees from Bosnia and Iraq in the early part of the 1990s. She was extremely excited to be invited to a breakfast meeting with some like minded women to form a women’s organization helping women in economical distress, irrespective of religion and ethnicity.

The birth of the American Muslim Women of Arizona emerged with the leadership of Anjum Majeed as President, Hamida Jamali as V. President, Naheed Shah as Treasurer and Nazli Currim as Secretary. Initially the idea was to help women in small businesses, by giving them interest free loans. The aim was also to establish an industrial kitchen, so those who did food catering would have access to it to further their business. The very first interest free loan was given to a woman who was going through a financial crisis in running her grocery store.

AMWA then went ahead in giving interest free loans for cars to several women to earn a living. Nazli’s vision was to have a Board comprised of women of different backgrounds and ethnicity to help distressed women irrespective of race, religion. and ethnicity Even though the group’s name had ” Muslim” in it, the help was not restricted to Muslim Women. AMWA helped many Muslim women and non Muslim women with interest free loans and Scholarships. AMWA branched out to assist the incoming refugees to Arizona. For many years of working with AMWA as Secretary and 2 year tenure as President of AMWA, the role of being a Refugee Coordinator and Case Manager was a great fulfillment for Nazli. Before AMWA, Nazli and her family were heavily involved with helping the refugees from Bosnia.

Nazli served on the Board for many years and happily stayed as a member till this day, promoting and assisting AMWA in the best way she could.


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Vice President: Dr Hameeda Jamali MD

Secretary: Nazli Currim

Treasurer: Eram Khan



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