Time Out Kids meets Anjili Samtani-Radia, founder of Funky Monkeys Playland. She lives in Umm Suqueim with her husband Anand and their children; Kiara, age seven and Krish, age three.
How long have you been in Dubai?
We have been in Dubai for 16 years. I moved here in 1997 from Hong Kong where I was born and brought up. I speak Chinese fluently.
Why do you think Dubai is good for families?
Dubai on the whole is excellent for families as I feel it is very safe for children. People who live here are exposed to a lot of different cultures and backgrounds and gain a lot of knowledge this.
How long have you lived in Umm Suqeim?
We have been living here for almost 4 years now, after eventually moving from the sky scrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Why did you choose this neighbourhood?
We chose it because it is very centrally located and it’s a great neighbourhood for raising our kids. It’s a good spot for families and everyone is very friendly. We never really worry about the kids here, it’s very safe and peaceful.
Did you have your kids in Dubai?
I had both my kids in Dubai. My daughter Kiara was delivered at Welcare Hospital in 2006 and in 2010, my son Krish was delivered at American Hospital. I had a great experience at Welcare Hospital. I was very well taken care of. However, my 2nd experience with Krish at American Hospital wasn’t so good unfortunately.
Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
It’s not impossible to meet mums but it is hard to meet the right ones. As a working mum myself, I dont get that much time to attend coffee mornings which are generally organised by the school mums and great for socialising.
What family friendly facilities are nearby?
There are a few malls around our area; Mall of the Emirates is one of the best as the kids always have a great time at Magic Planet or the movies. We also have quite a few nice parks near us, the best one of course is Safa Park - we can spend hours and hours enjoying the outdoors there.
How do you juggle family life and a successful business?
Juggling a family with work commitments, as well as starting a business all made for one huge, daunting prospect initially, and trying to achieve a reasonable work/life balance has been a learning process. I intentionally incorporated my family into the development of Funky Monkeys, which has made it easier and contributed to its success. For every little detail, my husband was there for me, making my life easier, and my kids were so enthusiastic about it. Creating anything from scratch is a torturous process and there were many times when I just wanted to give up, but my husband was always the one who backed me up, pushing me to complete it! I couldn’t have done it without him.
Why did you decide to open Funky Monkeys?
I wanted to provide an indoor haven for kids - especially when outdoor play becomes impossible in the summer months, and one which adheres to the most stringent health and safety standards for kids of all ages. I started by incorporating the cookie-cutter soft play area for younger visitors, with bigger and better concepts that cater to older children who love to sing and dance or cultivate their artistic skills, eventually combining a multitude of concepts intended to encourage a child’s creativity and instill confidence. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
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