When we come together, we can make a difference for those who need it most. Hope CommUnity Center is grateful for the contributions of donors, such as Dr. Zaby Vyas, who made a donation to support the Hope Scholarship and College & Career Access Program. Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Vyas to talk more about her story and why she chose to give to Hope.

Zabunnissa (Zaby) Vyas was born in a Catholic Mission Village in Dabani, Busia, Uganda. She lived there with her family, including 2 older siblings, Amama and Answer. Their dad managed a cotton Ginnery. They lived a simple life with no electricity and running water. Dr. Vyas explains that although they lived a simple life, they were fortunate enough to live in a nice bungalow with a yard that had ample space, surrounded by fruit trees and rainwater collected from a huge tank nearby.

Later in life, they moved to Jinja in search of educational opportunities. She recalls her life growing up as a wonderful memory engulfed in a multi-cultural environment. Unfortunately, Dr. Vyas and her family experienced the loss of their mother in 1959. Despite losing her mother, she remembers secondary education keeping her occupied, including studying to making new friends, and partaking in many extracurricular activities such as playing the Sitar.

Dr. Vyas followed the footsteps of her sister who was attending Medical School in Edinburgh, Scotland. However, she wanted to remain in Uganda. Fortunately, she was able to attend Medical School at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. After five years of Medical School, she eventually graduated in 1972 and shortly began an internship in London, while training to become a family physician at a practice in Essex, England. After 10 years of living in England, both Dr. Vyas and her husband had the opportunity to immigrate to the USA where they settled in Florida and began a new chapter with a Residency in Family Medicine at the University of Florida.

Fast forward to the present day, Dr. Vyas and her husband have established a Charitable Foundation to give back to those who are in need. She spends most of her time working on social assistance and education projects. Additionally, they created scholarships at both UCF’s Medical and Nursing School.

Dr. Vyas first heard about Hope CommUnity Center through Beverly Paulk. She was inclined to give as she wanted to offer an Educational Scholarship to needy and motivated students so they have a chance to fulfill their ambition and in many cases support their family. She shares,

“I was very impressed by all the work this organization [Hope CommUnity Center] does, mainly to support the immigrant families and those in real need in and around Apopka. I am particularly interested in educating young people so they may pursue their dreams.”

When asked what she wishes people knew about Hope CommUnity Center, she explained,

“I would wish more people get to know about HOPE Community Center and what is offered by the center and the opportunities available especially to  immigrants, seniors and kids who are in need.”

Hope CommUnity Center is a service learning community dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through education, advocacy and spiritual growth.