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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

Zaman International Chosen as a Top 10 Nominee for CNN Hero of the Year


November 21, 2019

CEO Najah Bazzy Named a 2019 Top 10 CNN Hero VOTE -

NKSTER - Since 2007, the news network CNN has been honoring individuals who make contributions to humanitarian aid and make a difference in their communities. Each fall, a Top 10 List of Nominees is introduced and the viewing audience is encouraged to vote online for the CNN Hero of the Year.

The 2019 CNN Top 10 List of Nominees includes Najah Bazzy, founder and CEO of Zaman International, based in Inkster. The organization was chosen for its impact on the community and abroad by providing for basic needs such as food and clothing, and by providing educational opportunities and vocational training for women with children living in extreme poverty.

"I think the CNN recognition validates that we are moving in the right direction," says Bazzy.

Zaman International began as a grassroots effort in 1996 and has grown steadily over the years into the community organization it is today. It is Bazzy's passion for helping the less fortunate around her which has spurred the organization's growth.

The Bayt Al-Zahra Urgent Needs Program provides for basic needs, including shelter, to women and children, senior populations, and the terminally ill. Clients can remain in the crisis program for up to a year while working to stabilize their life. "We ask them to take a serious look at their household and their needs and see what it is that they need to do to effect change in their household," says Zaman's Chief Operating Officer, Gail Zion. "Our goal is to move people out of poverty and give them some independence, and we're starting to do that with our other programs that we have."

The BOOST Program was launched in 2007, an acronym for Building Ongoing Opportunities through Skills Training. The program's goal is to break the cycle of poverty by teaching job skills and fluency with English language use. Each program lasts one academic year, September through May, and students can receive instruction in sewing and garment making, earning certification in textile and apparel production. Additionally, adult education enables students to prepare to earn a GED or learn English literacy through English as a Second Language, or ESL.

A recent addition to the BOOST Program is the organization's Culinary Arts Training Course. Culinary Arts students gain written and practical experience, leading to a certification as a commercial kitchen cook. "It's very successful," says Zion of the Culinary Arts Training.

Zaman also operates a Good Deeds Store, a resale shop which is open to the public Monday through Friday. Clients of Zaman can shop here also, and receive a voucher for items as long as they are approved for assistance services.

Zaman's Client Choice Food Pantry allows clients to choose culturally-appropriate and healthy food for their family's pantry. The Mobile Hot Food Pantry delivers fully prepared meals created in the Culinary Art Kitchen to home-bound families in need.

Zaman's clients have the opportunity to learn garment making skills to find gainful employment

News about Zaman International's recognition as a potential CNN Hero has been shared widely on social media. "There is so much excitement across Michigan and beyond about this recognition," says Bazzy. "Zaman has built a reputation for inclusiveness and I think this recognition belongs to everyone."

All 10 nominees and information about voting for your favorite can be viewed at Votes can be cast daily until December 3. All nominees receive $10,000 and the CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000. "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" will air live on CNN Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m.

How does Bazzy feel about being in such an exclusive company of nominees? "I believe what we have in common is a passion to serve no matter what the cost is," she says. "I believe that we all share that there is something in this universe that is bigger than all of us."

More information on Zaman International can be found at


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