Cynthia Farouq Kurdi

Businesswoman, special needs education specialist

My dad played an enormous role in building my personality and that of my six siblings. He was an advocate of equal rights and gave us importance when making decisions about the house.

He made sure that we got the right education, and even as young kids we had goals and ambitions in our lives. He would consult me while making business decisions and then made sure I took responsibility for the decisions I made.

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My mother focused on our childhood and made sure that we grew up in a healthy environment surrounded by love and comfort. 

Now, I am married with three boys; Abdulaziz, Ahmad and Omar, a gift from God who is challenged with Down’s syndrome, and a girl Maryam.

I am a businesswoman and I am currently working on projects including Panda Nursery and Amore Cafe. I also have 14 years’ experience at Alkhobar Day Care Center, that I established for kids with Down’s syndrome.

All the projects I have worked on are connected to my own life. The essence of my work is rooted in the city of Madinah. Since it is the city of our beloved Prophet, we are brought up with compassion and the drive to help others. Ever since I was a little girl, I have participated in activities to help the community. My husband is the same.

I was married at the time I started majoring in child education for special needs. Even before I had my own kids, I did my graduate research on children with Down’s syndrome.

When my third son was born with Down’s syndrome, it changed the direction of my life, and I began to think of ways I could help him.

I observed that the two biggest issues women were facing if they wanted to work was the lack of professional places for their children to stay.

I decided to open a center for children with Down’s syndrome where I could offer services and programs specifically designed for such children. That led to a process of research and I completed my master’s in special education.

My dad played an enormous role in building my personality and that of my six siblings. He was an advocate of equal rights and gave us importance when making decisions about the house.

I created a support group for mothers who had children with special needs, and they supported me in my efforts. As a group, we started helping families facing difficulties and updated the laws that affected their lives.

Some of my projects have included bringing children together, which prevents special children from suffering emotional distress and loneliness. My next goal is to help those above the age of 21 find employment.

In my work at the nursery, I observed that the two biggest issues women were facing if they wanted to work was being able to drive, which is now solved, and the lack of professional places for their children to stay.

My goal is to see that nurseries are exemplary and academically perfect, so the time children spend there is beneficial. It is my wish that all women in Saudi Arabia should get a chance to prove themselves and utilize their full potential, and I want to bring about a change in the balance between family and work. My motto is: “Nothing is impossible.”  

Follow Cynthia Kurdi
Twitter: @Cynthiakurdi
Instagram: @Cynthiakurdi

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