Joy Gambol is among the 20 shortlisted candidates for UAE’s Best Nanny Award 2017 Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Twenty nannies are competing for the UAE’s Best Nanny Award 2017 that carries a prize of one million in the winner’s home currency or Dh50,000 – whichever is lower. The winner will be announced on November 25.

Padmini Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Grow with Rise, a start-up firm based in Dubai that is organising the second edition of the award, said, “We received nearly 500 entries and over 250,000 votes. It’s great to see employers wanting to get the best for their help.”

According to her the top 20 were selected based on a social media poll as well as observations made by an expert panel that includes Stella Read from the hit TV show Nanny 911 and Ola Bdeir, nutritionist at Organic Foods and Cafe.

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Juliet Abdul, a Dubai-based nanny who has made it to the shortlist couldn’t contain her joy. “I can’t believe ma’am actually took the time out to nominate me,” said the 32-year-old from Mozambique. Her employer said, “I’m not always easy to please or work with. So when I say no nanny can be better than Juju, it means a lot.”

Another contestant - Joy Gambol - who has worked in China, Taiwan and Sudan over the past 15 years, said she is keeping her fingers crossed. “Perhaps I will retire if I win the award,” said the 55-year-old Filipina. Her employer said Joy has a fair chance of winning as she is ‘very hardworking and extremely trustworthy.’

According to Gupta, Grow with Rise launched the annual award last year with the aim to reward one of the most neglected sections of the community. “This is our way of giving back to the most deserving people. This year we are awarding a retirement plan to highlight the challenges of savings and retirement for 750,000 maids and nannies in the UAE. Currently less than one per cent have a retirement plan in place,” she said.

The nannies will be judged on four main criteria that include ability to build a caring and nurturing environment for the children; instill a healthy eating and nutrition plan; support the child/children’s learning and development; and understand child safety and emergency handling.