Rahim Essabhai

Year: 2016-17 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Rahim Essabhai

John Polanyi Collegiate Institute
640 Lawrence Avenue W.
Toronto, Ontario  M6A 1B1

Principal: Aiman Flahat
School telephone: 416-395-3303
School email: JohnPolanyi@tdsb.on.ca
School website: www.jpci.ca

Subjects and grades taught: Grade 12, Business

"Legacy is not what you leave for people but what you leave in people", were the words on the wall in a refugee camp library along the Kenyan/Somalian border where Rahim Essabhai trained teachers in 2011. It is now the mantra that guides this business teacher who leads his students to design business projects that are not just for profit, but to give back to a community or provide assistance internationally.

Teaching approach

Rahim Essabhai ensures that students gain skills and abilities that enable them to create business projects that will benefit society. He believes that the best way to teach business is to bring real businesses into the classroom, and regularly brings in community organizations and corporations.

Outstanding achievements

  • Was instrumental in developing a grade 12 business leadership course that integrates the same material taught at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
  • Led students to raise funds to build a school in Nicaragua, and to create partnerships with businesses to improve the local community.
  • Students have the opportunity to serve as consultants from local NGOs and businesses – including improving client experience at the North York Harvest Food Bank, gathering more accurate harvesting numbers for the school-based urban farm, or working with Metrolinx to help build community within the Rotman School of Management Leadership course.
  • Runs a local club known as CITY (Change Impacting Toronto's Youth) where students create effective campaigns that address various social issues on a local and global scale.

Rave reviews

"His course is now regarded as one of the most prestigious and sought after courses in our school community. The reputation of this program is quickly spreading globally largely due to the commitment and creativity of Mr. Essabhai and the team from Rotman."


"Success isn't money to me anymore. I count success by the number of lives I have touched. I can only dream that one day, I will be able to have a career where I can touch as many lives as you have."

Former student
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