Zainab Ifthikar is passionate about medicine, and through her ongoing efforts, she wants to serve many underprivileged communities across the world. Moving to Saudi Arabia (where Zainab was born), she and her family have not forgotten their Sri Lankan roots. They constantly support the country at any time of need, through their organization, the MEI Foundation. She was only 16 year’s old when she launched an awareness program on acute kidney diseases prevailing in the North Central Province of her native country, Sri Lanka.
Ifthikar fell in love with the magnificence of human biology. She says, “the adrenaline rush of understanding the mind-boggling intricacy of how we function is just inexplicable; like finally, everything made sense in the world.” She is also a people’s person, and enjoys interacting with others, expanding her network, and helping those around her. Hence, she wanted to choose a career that would both fuel her knowledge whilst also merging her people skills and interest in community service.
Even after joining medicine, she continued to be an active person by partaking in all college activities. This was possible because of her medical school- Alfaisal University, and its unique structure. They provide medical students with an unmatchable range of extracurricular activities through the Alfaisal Medical Student’s Association (MSA). Zainab has participated in several MSA activities over the years; most recently serving as the director of Med Times (2021-2022), the esteemed Alfaisal College of Medicine magazine, which is made from cover to cover by their medical students.
In 2015, Ifthikar published her first book about poverty, titled “Poverty Is Not Passivity,” intended to bring out the emotions that lie behind the turmoil of poverty. Her second book was published in 2019 titled “Panacea Is Possible” and was directed towards water contamination in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.
She founded the MEI Foundation in 2016, an NGO based in Kandy, with the vision to motivate, encourage, and inspire individuals to join hands in uplifting the underprivileged. Ever since, she has been doing small projects solely supported by her parents, family, and friends. She wishes to continue doing her philanthropic endeavors alongside her profession.
In July 2021, Ifthikar was selected as the winner of the “Women’s Achievement Award 2021” by McKinsey & Company (a world-renowned consulting firm based in the US and operates in over 65 countries). She was selected for the award based on her two published books as well as her community services through the NGO she founded in Sri Lanka.
Ifthikar was also one of the master of ceremonies for her medical school graduation, carrying forth the honor of representing the batch at the ceremony held at Alfaisal University College of Medicine, Riyadh in May 2022 under the distinguished patronage of HRH Prince Turky Alfaisal.
Zainab intends to pursue a a career in Internal Medicine, whilst continuing her passion for writing and community service.
Med Times at Alfaisal University is headed by a Sri Lanka intern – Colombo Times