Suad Husseini, Maha Al Juffali and Daniah Ghandour are working together to enable children with disabilities to find their place in the world.
Suad Husseini, founder, trustee and grandmother; Maha Al Juffali, director and mother; Daniah Ghandour, psychiatrist and daughter, discuss their relationship inside and outside of work.
What’s working together as a family like?
Suad: I think it’s a beautiful combination of family, seriousness, love and respect. It is out of a giving nature that we have started the center, as father and mother, and that continues to be there throughout with my daughter and granddaughter.
Maha: I am the middle generation so I have to accommodate the older and younger ones and to talk different lingos. So we try and work different views and integrate them and come up with a compromise because we mainly concentrate on the human element.
Daniah: We all complete each other while bringing in new things to the center. For example, grandma started with pure psychology, my mom brought in more early child education then I brought in severe special needs education.
How do you see your role as both a psychiatrist and a daughter/ granddaughter?
Daniah: I work with the families and the children directly. I am not in the directorial sector. So during the first four years of working, I was very adamant that the parents did not know I was my mom’s daughter so I can prove that I am here on my own accord not because I am the boss’s daughter.
The best way to explain the family/work dynamics is that there are different chimes and you have to decide which chime rings the loudest. Family for me rings the loudest. I am lucky that I have a family that respects my work and allows me to express myself.
Finally, how do you think society can improve when it comes to dealing with intellectually disabled children?
Maha: Society has changed 360 degrees. Being an intellectually disabled child is not as negative as it was before. Society can improve by acceptance and loving the children, by being motivated to helping them and by not seeing them as sick or dangerous. There are adults as well and they are contributing to their society. They get a salary they go buy and the cycle goes on. This is a good thing for the economic state.