Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan: Five unsung heroines –

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan: Five unsung heroines - CNN.comBy Pinky Lilani

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan (1906 – 2000), philanthropist and fourth wife of Aga Khan III

I grew up in an Ismaili community so we followed the Aga Khan. I always remember people talking about his French wife, Begum Om Habibeh (originally Yvette Blanche), with great compassion.

They came to my parent’s wedding in Calcutta — she was wearing a sari and a mink. I had never seen anyone wear a mink before.

It is extraordinary that a glamorous European woman managed to integrate so well into Ismaili society– she had such an empathy with the community.

She was an unlikely national treasure but we loved her like Britain loves Kate Middleton — she was always out in the community helping the poor and elderly and would relentlessly encourage education for women.

Her legacy remains in the Om Habibeh Foundation, whose programs have contributed to health, education and inclusion in some of the poorest areas of Egypt, where her and the Aga Khan are buried.

via From an empress to a florist: Five unsung heroines –

Pinky Lilani OBE is an entrepreneur, public speaker and leading advocate for women
CNN spoke to her in the lead up to International Women’s Day

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

One thought

  1. She was an amazing person and loved by our Ismaili community. I believe she must have been great support to our Imam, her loyalty can not be questioned, she spent most if not all her days at the place her husband (our beloved Imam) was laid to rest. World can never have enough of people like our late Begum, RIP.


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