Behind inspirational kids are inspirational mothers: Halima Jumani
On a bus journey from Dubai to Al Ain, MBC met the truly inspirational mother and daughter duo, Halima Jumani, a company director of fresh food delivery firm, Kibsons, and her 10-year old daughter, Soha.
The bus was en route between Dubai and Al Ain on a visit to the high-tech Tomatolicious tomato farm that supplies juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes to home produce delivery firm, Kibsons, where Halima Jumani is one of the company directors. I sat beside her ten-year old daughter, Soha, who is a lively, intelligent, articulate, astonishingly nutritionally-aware little girl. This became obvious from playing a game of ‘Masterchef Mystery Box’ on the journey. (I listed 4-5 random ingredients and Soha not only told me what dishes she’d make, but also how to cook them to achieve a variety of tastes and textures in the dishes. She’s 10 years old!!)
In my mind, I affectionately regarded Soha as ‘the Kibsons’ Kid’ and thought to myself that she’d make a great brand ambassador for the fresh food delivery service that does so much to help mothers provide healthy choices for their families, by selling fresh food at wholesale prices.
I learned so much from this 10-year old and was therefore curious to find out much more about her mother, Halima and how ‘the Kibsons effect’ has not only helped her to raise happy, healthy children, but also has taken UAE households by storm.
How do you balance having a young family with being part of such a busy company?
I married wisely! I am lucky to have someone who relentlessly supports me to fulfill my aspirations and my responsibilities. The fact that he is a great father and enjoys spending quality time with our children means that I can always count on him whenever my own career requires this. His patience with my phone and countless hours of work deserves an award!
What advice would you give to other women who are trying to balance their work and family lives?
Don’t feel guilty about investing in yourself and nurturing your own strengths with passion. A stronger version of you can never be a disadvantage to your loved ones. I believe we also have a responsibility to add value to the extended community outside our own little family.
Your children are clearly inspired by you, Halima, but in both your career and family life, who inspires you?!
Soha, my daughter is truly instrumental and inspirational in my journey. It is her love for clean eating and a healthy lifestyle that initially inspired us to share our privilege with other children and families in the community. She is a passionate little advocate for healthy eating, has a very friendly, happy attitude, is a confident communicator, dreamer and go-getter. For these reasons, she so inspires me to match her traits every single day.
My mother. I guess nothing would have happened in my life without the continued support and push I get from my mum. She always believed in me, saw the best in me and reminded me to not let go of who I am and what I am capable of while I often got distracted in my domestic roles of being a wife and a mother of three.
How did your Kibsons journey begin?
Kibsons is a family business that I married into. Given my background in finance, I was always involved in the business, but it wasn’t until after my MBA at LBS and my Six Sigma certification at GE that I actively got more engaged at a strategic level.
What are you most proud of having achieved with Kibsons?
Most mums know that consuming produce like avocados, blueberries, kale and other superfoods make their families healthier, but these foods can be simply too expensive at the supermarket to consume regularly.
Good quality fruits, vegetables and meat have always been an important part of our own family diet given that our three children have always had a very active lifestyle. Because Kibsons is a family business, at some stage we became increasingly aware of the privilege and access we had been enjoying to such good quality food at wholesale prices, compared to the prices that other families in the UAE were having to pay for quality.
So, the idea for making fresh fruit and vegetables began from extending this price advantage and quality to family and friends. We were blown away by the unexpected appreciation and compliments we received and that motivated us to come up with the concept of home delivery for fruit, veg, meats – and even other healthy essentials like nuts, seeds and high-quality convenient foods for the freezer.
As I mother and a busy career professional, I know just how helpful and convenient it is for mums to just be able to order these things on demand, using the website. It’s a game changer really, and I think it has helped to add real value and meaning to many households in UAE, by giving families an easy and affordable option for healthy eating.
How do parents know they are getting great quality food for their families, at such low wholesale prices?
We import all our fruits, vegetables and meat directly from farms locally and internationally. This cuts out the middlemen and avoids the ever-increasing retail overheads – and this translates into bargain prices for everyone. We have our own cold stores and temperature controlled delivery fleet, which saves even more costs and keeps all our products truly fresh until delivery.
All the products you see on the Kibsons website are carefully selected keeping in mind our commitment to health and quality, to the point where I would happily take all these products home for our own personal family consumption.
And that is important to me, and equally as important to kids like Soha, who see only pure logic in the idea of eating healthily, to be healthy and give her the energy to make the future hers. And as a mother, I couldn’t ask for more.