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The Ideal Arab Mother and Ideal Arab Family competitions were organised by Dubai Shopping Festival under the directions of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister. Each winner receives a cash award of $10,000.
The ideal family is chosen on the basis of various aspects and criteria, which includes a giving nature, sacrifice, upholding religious beliefs and morals and more importantly, creating an environment that fosters future generations. All of the entries were judged by a committee of experts.
The Mahmood family included Zainab Mahmood, who was widowed two years ago, her three daughters and one son - Abeer, 31, is in social insurance; Azza, 30, is a chemist; Dr Mahmood, 27, is a general practitioner; Engineer Ola, 24, also has Masters in Architecture.
Ola was the one who had the idea of putting forth an application, after reading the advertisement in Zahrat Al Khaleej, an UAE magazine. She felt that her family could participate in either the Ideal Arab Mother or the Ideal Arab Family award.
"I thought we could be the Ideal Arab Family because of the difficult circumstances that we had to face."
Her mother Zainab felt that the sacrifices in bringing up her family were part of her duties as a mother and wife.
"My husband was ailing for 12 years and was virtually bed-ridden because of a brain ailment. We faced very difficult times because of lack of money. My only weapons were my religion, education and morals. My children have been my support and strength throughout.
"I was confident that my children would excel in their studies and would get scholarships. But, at times taking on the role of a father and mother and also caring for my sick husband and son was a difficult task. My son was very understanding and supported me throughout. I have always brought up my children by taking the guidance of Islamic principles."
Azza said, "My father always taught us to be confident and cooperative with each other. This helped us to be more aware of our family situation and helped us triumph over all odds."
Dr Mahmood said, "Before my father fell sick he instilled in us a deep love for education. He would encourage us to gain more knowledge."
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