Zeib Jeeva, Vice Chair and Treasurer of International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) and an Ontario entrepreneur, was among the 27 Ontarians invested with the prestigious Order of Ontario at a ceremony in January in Toronto by David C. Onley, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“Zeib Jeeva is an extremely deserving candidate for the Order of Ontario,” said Winston Kassim, the Chair of IDRF, and himself an Order of Canada recipient. “He has dedicated a significant part of the past 40 years to giving back and helping others, championing social justice in Ontario and other parts of the world.”
The battle against apartheid in South Africa was the defining struggle of that era and Jeeva was amongst the first Canadians with the moral courage to speak out against apartheid and rally Canadians to the cause of equal suffrage in South Africa.
He did it at a time when many Canadians had turned a blind eye to the apartheid regime and were conducting business with them.
Born in rural South Africa, Zeib Jeeva felt the sting of apartheid early when his family was displaced from their home when he was 10. He came to Canada in 1970 after being denied permission to study at the ‘white’ University of Witwatersand, Johannesburg, despite meeting its admission criteria.
In 1997, Jeeva laid the ground work to establish the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) in Canada. He was also among the pioneers to introduce social activism in various Islamic institutions in Ontario that he helped establish.
His dedication to social justice at home and abroad manifested itself again in 1995 when Jeeva used his leadership skills, resources and community organizational skills to revive IDRF, a registered Canadian non-profit organization, dedicated to empowering the disadvantaged through emergency relief and participatory development programs based on Islamic principles of human dignity, self-reliance and social justice.
Through Jeeva’s direction, IDRF broadened its mandate to include more work domestically, including educational projects for First Nations children, and disadvantaged children in Toronto.
Jeeva is a business entrepreneur with extensive leadership experience covering industry segments in manufacturing, service and Information Technology.
He is currently the Managing Director of Coverall in Markham, Ontario, and co-founder, Director and COO of iPower2 Technology Solutions (Pty) Ltd., South Africa.
“We are not only proud of Zeib Jeeva, we are continually amazed at his indefatigable energy in simultaneously helping a range of institutions and projects as diverse as Ontario itself,” said Kassim.
“He is a role model of whom all Ontarians can be proud,” Kassim added.