“Who you’re being is far more important than what you’re doing.” This is one of many inspirational quotes by Dr. Shenaz Ghood, whose reservoir of infinite wisdom and knowledge could fill volumes of self-help books. Two hours spent in her presence gifts one with more life lessons than could be learnt in ten years. She exudes a vivacious and optimistic energy, leaving those who have been lucky enough to make her acquaintance feel more enlightened and hopeful.
For the past 8 years, Shenaz has been uplifting people through many mediums of social and humanitarian work, unwrapping people’s potential to bring out their best selves. The 49-year old metaphysical health coach dedicates her life’s work to healing and helping others.
Shenaz calls Pretoria home, where she grew up in Marabastad and completed high school in Laudium. She praises her father for being a huge inspiration in her life, and refers to him as one of the kindest people she has ever known. He owned a clothing business, buying and selling used clothes to people who couldn’t afford the cost of brand new attire. At 7 years old, Shenaz’s virtuosity for entrepreneurship emerged; she collected bottles from people’s houses and sold them at shops to collect pocket money, which she later spent at the local arcade playing video games. She accompanied her father on his many business dealings throughout her schooling years, and learnt the ins and outs of the trade. At 18, Shenaz started her own business, selling tracksuits to college students while on campus. She currently runs a successful hardwood flooring business. Her keen sense of business knowledge and savvy ingenuity is something she still carries with her today, and she constantly invents new concepts and seeks interesting opportunities.
While studying Pharmacy at Rhodes University, Shenaz began to realise that healing could come both physically and emotionally from alternate sources, other than medication. She left her studies soon after to pursue many different courses in energetic-healing modalities including kinesiology, reflexology, hypnotherapy, magnetic therapy and acupressure. This mother-of-three also achieved her doctorate in Acupuncture through the Open University of Sri Lanka. Her current passion lies in Negative Emotional Decoding; helping people steer away from their dismissive emotions and channel their inner positivity instead. Shenaz believes that ‘love’ is the ultimate healing factor. Metaphysical health coaching is one of her many talents, and she provides therapy – often free of charge – to those who need it.
Becoming a mother taught her selflessness, gratitude and unconditional love. Her dedicated and heartfelt involvement in social work can be ascribed to these irreproachable qualities. She leads by example, supporting her children and learning pivotal lessons through each of their life’s journeys.
The Eid Shopping Festival came to fruition when Shenaz discovered a gap in the market and an opportunity to help other aspiring female entrepreneurs and home industries. A project of the Ghood Foundation, the festival offers over 300 exhibitors the chance to sell their products. Any profit made at the event is charitably returned to grow and develop it further for the exhibitors. A massive undertaking, Shenaz helps relatively unknown entrepreneurs grow into established businesses by providing them with training, education, coaching, communication and marketing strategies, as well as branding. Some of these women have went on to trade their merchandise on an international market. She uplifts and motivates these enterprising home industry executives to create exciting, new and dignified opportunities for themselves. Her goal is to mould these vendors into the most successful entrepreneurs that they can be. Watch this video on Facebook about the Eid Shopping Festival
Shenaz believes that rather than giving hand-outs to people, it’s more beneficial to coach them on how to be the best that they can be at their trade. While the Ghood Foundation donates blankets, groceries and food to the underprivileged, Shenaz finds more meaning and satisfaction in helping people sustain themselves. “People have abilities, but not opportunities.” Shenaz explains that she identifies a person’s strengths, assets and abilities, and then gives them unsurpassed opportunities to develop further. Skills development, interpersonal relationship adeptness and business etiquette are just some of the services which she generously teaches to entrepreneurs.
Shenaz’s charitable ventures are endless. She works with various local organisations to facilitate donations or Zakaat (mandatory charity) for those in need who approach her. She works closely with the Gift of the Givers, and her charity work is funded by all her own enterprises. Shenaz has also established the ‘Dignity Store’ where those less fortunate can shop for necessities for free. Entrepreneurial skills development and human upliftment is a fundamental part of the Ghood Foundation which is a cornerstone for creating opportunities and changing lives. They offer call-centre training which involves instructing up to a hundred people for free, providing them with vital skills that will lead to permanent employment. Shenaz also initiated a project called Ghoodies, which provides entrepreneurs who are strapped for cash with a social franchise that they can then pay out over 5 years. Watch this video about the Ghood Foundation
Shenaz is also trying to raise R11 million to fund The RX3 Centre, a community-based Recovery, Rehabilitation & Reintegration Facility for Drug & Substance Abusers. The centre is the first of its kind, and will equip patients and substance abusers with various useful skills, making their reintegration back into society a more agreeable process. She believes that people should not be judged and that their behaviour can be disciplined and corrected. With drug abuse becoming the epidemic that it is, and witnessing children as young as 6 years old become cocaine addicts, Shenaz recognised the need for this type of centre. To further combat the rampant drug problem, she is launching a Youth Empowerment project – a written course that will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education for inclusion in Life Orientation modules at schools. The next phase of the project will be a Hope Teen Centre to help children aged between 10-18 years with emotional and behavioural disorders, along with their families. The conception and duplication of this three-pronged project in as many locations as possible is her philanthropic goal for the future.
Islam isn’t merely a religion to Shenaz, it’s a way of life. It provides her with guidelines on how to live happily, healthily and wholesomely. Islam guides every step that she takes and encourages her to make differences in the lives of all those around her. Shenaz firmly believes in the love of God Almighty, as compared to the fear of God. With her mother being a revert, she grew up in a staunch Islamic environment which led her to seek a deeper understanding of the science and sensibilities of the religion. She actively sets out to decipher the simple elements of Islam, stating that when you understand how every aspect is done, it imparts more meaning and makes you aware of living in the ‘now’. She places prominence on the Arabic words ‘Bismillah hir rahman nir raheem”, stating that Allah (God) is most kind, most merciful, most gracious and most forgiving, and says that if you could live by these words, what more could anyone want from you as a person. She regards Islam as a phenomenal religion, and that by understanding its dynamics, it puts one in a powerful and knowledgeable position. She mentions that sometimes the perception of Islam gets warped, however if you read the religion and apply it as what it truly is, it’s remarkable.
Proudly Muslims of South Africa finds an avid supporter in Shenaz, as she says Muslims are currently stigmatised and ostracised, falsely called terrorists and kicked out of their homes and countries. “This type of initiative will change mindsets and allow people to see what Muslims are doing. Traditional media has a negative spotlight on Muslims, therefore it’s important to highlight the positive work we do and show that we are good people who display kindness and generosity.” Shenaz adds that South African Muslims are part of a huge economy that helps millions of people around the world with billions of Rands in aid and relief.
When asked what inspires her charity and social work, Shenaz replies: “People are endless. They have forgotten who they are and why they are here, and they’ve forgotten that serving others makes them feel better. They have forgotten that forgiving is not for the other person, it’s for themselves. I want them to learn love again for their fellow human family.” She regards time as her most valuable asset, expressing that giving away her time (and therapy) is more precious than giving away financial aid.
Her proudest moment was watching the Eid Shopping Festival come to life, after working for an entire year towards it. It connects communities and grows businesses.
Shenaz finds the greatest satisfaction in the small wins she experiences each day. Knowing that she has helped individuals in dire straits to overcome their difficult situations gives her the most emotional fulfillment.
She advises other aspiring philanthropists to take care of themselves more and love themselves enough, because if you don’t, you won’t have anything left of yourself to give to others.
Talking about taqdeer (fate), Shenaz extends her treasured insight: “Nothing in your past could be any different, because it has brought you here, now. Spirituality teaches us that everything happens for a reason. One should not dwell in the past – move forward, take what you have learnt and use it to improve upon yourself tomorrow.”
She lives by the motto: Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.
Her greatest life lesson centers around the fact that people lose the essence of generosity and kindness by only assigning monetary value to it. However, even by simply just smiling at someone, it can change their lives. “There is so much reward even in the tiniest of deeds.” Shenaz says that serving humanity in the smallest ways is most profound and rewarding for her.
“Everyday we’re teaching, we’re educating, we’re training, we’re transforming.” – in her own words, Shenaz sums up everything she lives her life for. Silver linings are her expertise, and she never sees anyone at face value. Instead, she sees people for far more than they believe they’re worth. In the battlefield called life, we could all use a cheerleader like Shenaz Ghood, ardently motivating us from the sidelines.
To get involved with the Ghood Foundation, email email@example.com
For more information about the Eid Shopping Festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org