Jumana Al Darwish
Founder x Girl Boss
Jumana Al Darwish is an award winning social entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is the Co-Founder of international franchise “The Happy Box” and Founder of global brands “The Happy Studio” and “Happy Hearts Global." Jumana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community & Ethnic Studies from Concordia University in Canada, a Masters of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from Oxford University in the United Kingdom and a Strategy Execution Programme Certificate from INSEAD in France.
Jumana is a visionary strategist, social entrepreneur and philanthropist with over 16 years of experience working for the non-profit and public sectors globally. She embarked on her first entrepreneurial journey in 2014 and co-founded “The Happy Box." The social enterprise aims to instill the love of art and creativity amongst children and promote family bonding through educational arts and crafts activity boxes.
In 2017, Jumana opted to expand on the success of the company and establish a secondary lifestyle brand; "The Happy Studio,” home to The Happy Box factory and is a community space which encourages social interaction between strangers by offering curated arts and crafts workshops and interactive installations targeting all members of the community regardless of age or gender.
Her happy venture would of course not be complete without going back to basics and embracing her philanthropic roots leading her to the establishment of “Happy Hearts Global,” a foundation currently being registered under the UK Charity Commission which aims to provide children and in particular girls with access to primary education and art therapeutic and rehabilitation programs globally.Hearts that give are truly the happiest.
Linda Al Darwish
Chief Educational Officer
Linda Al Darwish, Co-Founder of The Happy Box and the educator in the dynamic duo, demonstrates over 30 years of educational experience and works as a Montessori educator in the United States of America, embracing the philosophies of the educational concept. Having grown up with parents who made a career out of education, she is passionate about injecting fun into learning – a prerequisite for every activity that’s tucked into The Happy Box, every month.
Growing up with a mother who was a teacher, Linda fondly remembers working on crafts and preparing projects for her mother’s classes, which served as an inspiration to the creation of The Happy Box.
As a speech pathologist, Linda has a wide variety of experience; from working for the Cerebral Palsy Association with adults as a communication instructor, to teaching preschool and elementary students from all backgrounds as well as teaching IT classes for preschoolers. Today, Linda is especially excited about teaching maths, science and engineering to younger girls, to help change a predominantly male-orientated area.
In 1984, Linda married Jumana’s older brother, when Jumana was a tiny three-year-old, and their relationship has been growing ever since. Linda considers herself a second mother to Jumana, and Jumana describes Linda as a “best friend” and a person she looks up to.
“She’s a Martha Stewart with a heart of gold,” says Jumana of her sister-in-law. A creative soul, who spends her down time creating something; whether it is baking, or knitting or even a bit of creative DIY with her husband.
Chief Confetti Princess
In the summer of 2011, Ayla Nouri was born to Jumana and Suhail, turning their worlds upside down and bringing more beauty and love into their lives than they ever imagined possible. It is because of Ayla that Jumana was driven to create The Happy Box - a family-orientated initiative that would allow her quality time with her daughter.
Ayla is as involved in The Happy Box as any employee, happy to test drive every single activity and make sure fun and laughter is a constant presence both among The Happy Team and in the Happy Studio .
“I can involve Ayla in almost all aspects of the business, allowing me to be present in her day to day life and activities and interests and adventure, which is exactly what I wanted,” says Jumana, who credits Ayla as the main inspiration behind The Happy Box. “I’m lucky as a working mom in that I can include my daughter in my work. She loves to help me package The Happy Box, she attends weekend fairs and bazaars with me and gets to play in the outdoors while I tell people about the beauty of The Happy Box, she test drives our projects and activities and she takes her job so seriously as a Happy Box employee.”
In fact, Ayla has become so engrossed in the concept of “happiness” that she has taken to regularly sharing with her mother, Jumana, all the little things in life that make her happy, from doughnuts covered in sprinkles to unicorns made of glitter. In fact, a book inspired by Ayla and what makes her happy is currently in the pipeline, because happiness, truly, is the right of every child.