Naaila Ibrahim Kaleyfaan, beloved teacher, author of “Zeenaaru” passes away

Famous Maldivian Cookbook "Zeenaaru" | Photo: Avas

Malé, Maldives – Naaila Kaleyfaan, beloved teacher and author of illustrious Maldivian cookbook “Zeenaaru” passed away in Malé, at the age of 72.

The cookbook “Zeenaaru” which was re-published and sold out seven times up until 2002. The book is specially dedicated to her two daughters.

A line that can be translated as ‘delectable food is the strongest sorcery when it comes to capturing a heart,’ is what a reader sees when they first open Zeenaaru. Zeenaru covers a comprehensive range of traditional Maldivian recipes, and plenty of international recipes as well.

The book presents a selection of recipes from Burmese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Japanese, Indian, Thai and Singapore providing access to all Maldivians since it was written in Dhivehi language.

After studying in Sri Lanka and New Zealand, Naaila joined Aminiya School in 1972, and spent more than 25 years there, teaching History and English. After retiring from Aminiya School, she also taught at Ghiyaasuddin School. Naaila was also the President of Women’s Development Committee made in 1980 under the National Planning Agency.

Naaila’s student Dr. Aamaal Ali, Former Gender Minister, stated that he had never encountered a teacher as special as Naaila and that her experience of her teaching was incredible.

At that time, there were mostly Sri Lankan teachers. So when Naaila miss started teaching us, we could all relate to her as she was a Maldivian herself. She was one of our favourite teachers. Her way of teaching was very interesting and fun at the same time. Even if a student makes a mistake, she would never get mad, and would always give advice so that we cannot make the same mistake again.

Dr. Aamaal Ali, Naaila’s student

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s wife Fazna Ahmed, who was also a student of Naaila, posted on Facebook that she was shocked and heartbroken after receiving the news.

Naaila’s student, The Maldivian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Dr. Farahanaz Faisal also wrote on Facebook that she was deeply saddened to hear the passing of one of the most inspirational teachers she has ever come across. She also added that Naaila will be sorely missed.

Naaila Kaleyfaan was the Former Education Minister and ‘Haveeru’ news Chairman Dr. Mohamed Zahir Hussain’s wife, and the renowned Maldivian businessman Dhihdhoo Ibrahim Kaleyfaan’s first born daughter.

Naaila was also the sister of the Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority Ali Hashim, and former Defence Minister Thol’ath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan.

Naaila is survived by three children. The Executive Director of ‘Mihaaru’ news, Waail Zahir Hussain, former Member of Parliament and notable female entrepreneur, Lubna Zahir Hussain, and MIRA’s deputy chairperson to Board of Directors, Leena Zahir Hussain.