Anand G. Padmanabhan is freelance management consultant with over 25 years of experience in various fields. He moved to Dubai from Canada and now lives here with his wife Michelle and two daughters, Aaliyah Charlene, 15, and Aaryelle Sayesha, 10. He is a founding board member of i❤Care U.A.E.®, (Estd. 2016) - a parents volunteer group to enhance children's social responsibilities and charity works based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Emirates. He is also an 'Ambassador for RTA Traffic Awareness Programme' and was a 'Credentials Organizer' for Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi. Anand volunteers his time extensively in the U.A.E. for various social causes and works closely with school going children while engaging and promoting the concept of corporate social responsibility among private and public sectors.
Catherine Paul-Fijten is the founder of the ZC4H2 Research Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation created to support scientific research into the ultra-rare condition which affects her 3 years-old daughter. The ZC4H2 Research Foundation is incorporated in The Netherlands, operating globally and in partnership with the Orphan Disease Center from the University of Pennsylvania. Catherine holds two Master of Science degrees in Medical Biology and in Science-based Business from the Leiden University, the Netherlands. She worked as a fellow researcher at the Institute for Applied Sciences in Leiden, The Netherlands and at the Laboratory for Molecular Genetics at the National University Hospital, Singapore. She also worked in the medical communications and the medical devices industries in South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Catherine has called Dubai home for the last 12 years, where she lives happily with her husband and two little daughters.
Husnia Ferdous is a mother of two whose son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She is a strong advocate for better health and says there is lack of awareness in communities today about healthcare issues that affect children. One of her objectives, she says, is to help parents overcome the stigma of having a child with mental health or neurological disorders by narrating her own experiences.
Maryam Shaddad is a mother to three beautiful children - Hamda, Saif, and Ghaith. Two of her children are adults and have jobs. She says raising her elder kids was relatively easier as they both had no medical or learning difficulties whatsoever. This was to change though with her youngest child – nine-year-old Ghaith. Maryam says Ghaith has been hyperactive since he was young and that she now focuses all her energy towards ensuring that he receives the attention and care he requires. Ghaith currently undergoes assessment at Al Jalila Children’s.
Rajani Nalla is an experienced learning and development professional with corporate work experience of over 11 years in Banking and IT sectors. She has been working with and for children on a voluntary basis for over 20 years in India and the UAE. A mother of two young boys, she is passionate about child education and care. She strongly believes and advocates that it is the primary right of every child. She has completed several certifications in early child education and childcare. She has been volunteering as a teacher for children undergoing treatment and hopes to nurture young patients whilst spreading love and hope.
Shaima Al Marzooqi is a novelist and columnist. She graduated from Zayed University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a certified trainer with the Canada Global Consulting and Training Center CGC. Al Marzooqi was always passionate about reading, believing that it had a significant impact on her language, thoughts, and personality. She also started writing from a young age. At University, she received a great deal of support from her teachers who encouraged her to write for children and adults. Her most popular books include Hamad’s Trip in Dubai, Asma and Fofo the Bear, Ahmed and iPad, My Lovely Grandma, The Journey of a Paper, How Much I Love My Father, among many others. Her love of the Arabic language led her to release a book titled Challenges Facing Arabic Language in Today’s World. She has also authored a science-fiction novel, Rayaana. Al Marzooqi regularly contributes to the Al Khaleej and Alroeya newspapers. She is a member of UAEBBY, the Women Writers Association and the Hunna Group.
Suhair Ameen Nmer is a mother to five children and has had to come to terms with two of her children battling kidney failure. Standing strong in the face of adversity, she ensured her children were provided with care and support till the time they could receive kidney transplants. One of them, Reem, had her kidney transplant done at Al Jalila Children’s. Suhair says there is an urgent need for awareness on different health topics among parents and an initiative like Majlis Al Usra helps to promote better health for children.
Sultan Al-Shamsi is an Operations Duty Manager at Dubai Airports and previously worked for Emirates Airline for a decade. He is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business and Quality Management at Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University. A father of two children, Fatima and Majed, Sultan says he knows a parent’s struggle very well. His daughter, Fatima, was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Neuroblastoma and was taken to some of the best children’s hospitals in the world today for treatment. Sultan says his experiences there made him realise that Dubai and the UAE can be at the forefront of children’s health, considering the facilities we have here.
Will Hutson is the Founder and CEO of LMTD, a full-stack creative agency based in the UAE, and is currently one of the foremost mentors in the MENA startup movement. Prior to this, he expanded one of the fastest-growing agencies in New York City; winning Red Bull, Jaguar/LandRover, and VICE globally. He worked as the Managing Editor for Disney’s first foray into social media, running its launch from strategy through to implementation.