Shaikh Nahyan presents an award to Saiora Shotpakova, a student at GEMS World Academy, in the presence of Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and Sunny Varkey, founder and trustee of the Varkey Foundation. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: Girls from schools operated by GEMS Education were awarded in Dubai on Monday for their academic achievements and contributions to the community.

Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, presented the Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Awards for Excellence to 37 students at a ceremony attended by students, parents and GEMS staff members.

The students were nominated by their schools for their academic achievements, contributions to the community and exemplifying the values of GEMS schools.

The girls also received a scholarship covering a year’s tuition fee at their schools, according to a statement from GEMS.

“These young women have already achieved not just in academic excellence but also in terms of their social responsibility and what they’ve done for the community. They are already role models in terms of their achievements.,” Dino Varkey, group executive director and board member at GEMS, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the awards show.

“What we’re hoping is they then act as role models for not just their peer group within school, but also, as they go out into the world, they become the young people the communities around them look to,” he added.

The annual awards show was launched by GEMS in 2005 to honour Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, for her contributions to the empowerment of women in the UAE.

Shaikh Nahyan said:“[Shaikha Fatima] has a great conviction that women empowerment is essential for building our strength as a nation. She has always acted on the belief that communities will best succeed when women of those communities are employing their knowledge, skills, insights, and energy in the professions, in business, in the arts, in industry, in education, in science and technology—in short, in every human endeavour, including the raising of their children.”

The winners were elated to be recognised for their achievements.

“This award means a lot and I’m very happy that I was chosen. I’ve done a lot of good things, especially to do with charity. I raised over Dh5,000 and sent it to an animal shelter in Abu Dhabi,” said Sarah Anne Hol from the GEMS Royal Dubai School.

Rhea Venugopal Nambiar, a student at Cambridge International School, said that the award will encourage her to continue to work hard.

“This award is a reminder that if you set a goal and work towards it, anything can happen. I just take this as a reminder to continue to work hard and help those who may not be that privileged,” she said.

List of winners

Safa Taher Alavi, Al Khaleej National School
Lia-Mei Manuel, Bradenton Prepatory Academy
Rhea Venugopal Nambiar, Cambridge International School
Lucie Downer, Dubai American Academy
Anna Nadine Bohning, GEMS American Academy
Reshma Elizabeth Giji, GEMS Cambridge International School
Jana Mohamad Ali Aboud, GEMS FirstPoint School
Lana Selimovic, GEMS International School
Sneha Janardhan, GEMS Jumeirah Primary School
Roshni Ravi, GEMS Metropole School
Swathi Govindarajan, GEMS Millenium School
Sai Priya Khosla, GEMS Modern Academy 
Dharitiri Kapoor, GEMS New Millenium School
Liya Adabi, GEMS Our Own Indian School
Lavanya Kannan, GEMS Our Own English High School
Sarah Anne Hol, GEMS Royal Dubai School
Karthika Ravindranathan Lal, GEMS United Indian School
Jana Marwan Serageldin Yassin, GEMS Wellington Academy
Rumana Fazal, GEMS Wellington Academy
Isbah Bandeali, GEMS Wellington International School
Salma Mahmoud, GEMS Wellington Primary School
Leen Mohammed Zaid, GEMS Westminster School
Jasmine Leanor D. Elizan, GEMS Westminster School
Hana Amr Nourelmaby Yousef Temsah, GEMS Winchester School
Valarie Joan Mascarenhas, GEMS Winchester School
Saiora Shotpakova, GEMS World Academy
Neeranuch Vootivakinskul, GEMS World Academy
Sasha Nanda, Jumeirah College
Joanne Mariam Joji, Our Own English High School
Aneeta Maria Vincent, Our Own English High School
Pratisruti Das, Our Own English High School, Girls
Neesha Rajesh Shewakramani, The Cambridge High School
Pranamya Prasanna Belvai, The Kindergarten Starters 
Michelle Sarah Shibu Thomas, The Millenium School
Salama Sultan Rashed Ali Al Shamsi, The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy
Amani Nanayakkara, The Westminster School
Behshid Behrouzi, The Winchester School