Meet the super mom improving quality of life, one room at a time.
Standing at the Khorafi Center for kids in Kuwait, Suaad Gandeel stood teary-eyed reflecting on her journey to winning “The Super Mom for Kids with Disabilities” award. After 37 years of strife, Gandeel was recognized for her efforts and her positive impact on Saudi moms. Gandeel is a businesswoman, psychologist, and philanthropist but above all she is a mother. The ventures she’s endured and paths she’s taken all lead back to Basma, her daughter.
Gandeel was awarded for her work in Unaiza (Qassim) for leading the conference “Psychological Rehabilitation for Families after the Diagnosis of Disability.” She was set apart from the crowd, because she was a mother with real experience and not a doctor or an outsider.
Gandeel is a mother to Basma Al Nahdi, 37, and Amr Al Nahdi, 34. Basma suffers from Tuberous sclerosis (TS) a rare multisystem genetic disease that leads to seizures, intellectual disability, behavioral problems, and complications in the organs.
With a master’s degree in applied behavioral science, Gandeel never realized how much her education would be implemented in her daily life, at work and with her daughter.
In order to ensure a productive and fruitful home environment for Basma, Gandeel created the smart room. She explains,
“I have a vision as a mom; instead of telling kids to do something, I want to make their lives more organized for them to be more functional.”
Gandeel has created smart rooms that are multifunctional for her daughter. Large clocks and calendars adorn the room to assist Basma with her short-term memory problems. Each aspect of the room is catered to Basma’s likes, dislikes, and needs. The small potted plant and the karaoke machine all give Basma a role and responsibility within the room. A self-esteem wall decorated with Basma’s trophies and awards is hung in the room to remind her of her achievements and improve her self-esteem.
Then Came Super Nanny
When Gandeel realized the positive influence of the smart room on Basma’s life, she developed Super Nanny in 2012. Super Nanny is an interior design business aimed at improving one’s quality of life.
Using all IKEA furniture, Gandeel helps her clients create smart rooms using the “Four Rs” method. The individual’s roles in the room and life, the rules regulated in the room, the rules the person lives by, and rights the person can enjoy. Each aspect of a person’s identity such as gender, faith, career, are elements implemented within the design on the room.
Blood Bank: Rafed
Gandeel co-founded Rafed, a blood bank that caters to orphans and disabled. The need for such a service was realized on one of her darkest days in 2007. Her daughter Basma was admitted to the hospital for internal bleeding, yet another side effect of TS.
Desperate and afraid, Gandeel sent a text using her battered up Nokia phone to each of her contacts pleading for blood donors. Gandeel was overwhelmed with the love and support from her friends, orphans she volunteered with, and even her plumber.
“I’m one of those people who believes God doesn’t make mistakes and nothing comes on a silver tray,” said Gandeel.
She has overcome severe hardships by being separated from her kids for over seven years. Gandeel is a matriarch and warrior, fighting to improve her childrens’ lives and making a difference in society.