Founding Chairperson- Denzal Foundation;
Shakeba Umar, IIM alumni; (former UNFPA Consultant) is a Delhi Based educationist turned restaurateur, writer, poet, Designer and social entrepreneur. She owns a design company named Dezalia, A food company named Legato foods and an NGO named Denzal Foundation as well. Her career spans over a decade working with research institutes and leading Organisations in Education sector Like NIOS, KVS, NCERT, NVS, JMI across various verticals like Assistant Professor, Project Coordination in various areas such as evaluation, examination, curriculum development; Life Skill based education, Evaluation for persons with special Needs and Gender Policy, developing life skills enriched study materials and tutor training program, adolescents’ issues, academic and evaluation reform. Her innovative ideas have helped her to usher in many teacher development programs and result oriented trends in education. She had contributed in making of movies on fundamental principles of evaluation for in-service teachers training, revision of Monitoring Mechanism of NIOS, framing Gender policies and preparation of various OERs. Her research work in the field of examination has received great acclaim and many of her recommendations are well accepted by NIOS board. Her initiative for special mode of examination for students with special needs (Students with Autism and learning disabilities) is well accepted by JMI, New Delhi resulting in amendment in Ordinance XV and addition of new para 6 in the ordinance. She is also highlighting issues such as adolescent rights, gender, sexual abuse, adolescent nutrition, substance abuse etc. and evolving innovative methods of empowering youth to effectively deal with them. As a Life Skills Expert she has conducted numerous skills building workshops for teachers, counselors and lesson writers. For last 15 years, she is working on game-based learning, virtual and augmented learning environment, open educational resources, blended learning mode and other futuristic education concepts; her idea of inclusive constructivist approaches in education is something which she want to work with full dedication. For last six years she is enjoying her social entrepreneurship journey.
Shakeba Umar developed a deep interest in the different arts forms (including painting, design, culinary arts) since her early school days. She continued learning and participating in her school and self-taught herself in these areas, but being from pure science background, she couldn’t pursue the art full time. Later, she got trained as an educator and worked several years, developing educational curriculum and supporting herself and the family. However, in 2016 she decided to quit her job as a UNFPA Consultant and project officer (AEP, KVS-HQ) at Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (HQ) to pursue her journey as a social entrepreneur. In 2018 she launched her first venture- Dezalia- which is a turn key design company for commercial spaces and later in 2019 she launched her first café – Café Legato. In 2021 she started her NGO Denzal Foundation though before registering her NGO she had started working on many social pilot projects years back.