MA Yusuffali (third from left) and his wife Shabira Yusuffali (first from left) with their daughter Dr Shabeena Yusuffali and son-in-law Dr Shamsheer Vayalil during a family function. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Fifty children from conflict zones and underprivileged backgrounds born with heart diseases will get free life-saving heart surgeries by a healthcare group in the UAE in a special celebration of business tycoon Yusuffali MA’s five decades of impactful presence in the country.

The unique initiative paying homage to the life of the Lulu Group International’s chairman and commemorating his contributions to humanitarian causes has been announced by his son-in-law and a healthcare leader in the country, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil.

The founder and chairman of Burjeel Holdings, a healthcare services provider in the MENA region, Dr Shamsheer on Monday, New Year’s Day, announced the philanthropic initiative to undertake 50 life-saving heart surgeries for children, particularly those from conflict zones and underprivileged backgrounds.


Dr Shamsheer is married to Dr Shabeena Yusuffali, the eldest daughter of Yusuffali and the vice chairperson of VPS Healthcare.

In a statement announcing the initiative, Dr Shamsheer noted that Yusuffali stands as an exemplary figure whose philanthropic endeavours have touched the lives of millions.

Lulu Group Chairman Yussufali MA, right, with his son-in-law Dr Shamsheer Vayalil. Image Credit: Supplied

“Inspired by a deep sense of compassion and respect for Yusuffali’s unwavering dedication to humanity, Dr Shamsheer is leading the way in championing this initiative,” the statement said.

Costly surgeries

The 50 heart surgeries are aimed at children with congenital heart diseases and will be carried out in specialised hospitals under the umbrella of Burjeel Holdings, spanning the UAE and Oman, and his hospitals in India. Typically, the surgery required to address congenital heart disease comes with a high cost, making it financially challenging for many parents.

Yusuffali, among the wealthiest non-resident Indians globally, arrived at Dubai’s Rashid Port on December 31, 1973, marking the genesis of a remarkable journey. From this humble beginning, he forged a business empire while assuming roles as a community leader, philanthropist, and a beacon of hope for those in need.

Explaining the rationale behind the initiative, Dr Shamsheer stated: “The humanitarian movement is integral to our family ethos. In honouring Yusuffali, we seek to mark a unique celebration by dedicating ourselves to supporting children. Through these 50 life-saving surgeries, we aspire to generate opportunities that inspire children to dream beyond limitations and overcome challenges.”

Dr Shamsheer added that as these surgeries unfold, they symbolise medical interventions and a collective commitment to building a future where every child has the chance to thrive and contribute to society. Dr Shamsheer, whose philanthropic endeavours extend to India through his family office, VPS Healthcare, said he is optimistic about this heartfelt initiative’s global reach and impact.