Rana Akkad

Founder & Managing Director of Jad’s Inclusion

Rana Akkad is a social entrepreneur who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of individuals with special needs. Her journey began in 2010 when her middle son, Jad, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Fueled by a desire to make a difference in her community, Rana founded Autism in Dubai, a support portal and guide for parents with children on the spectrum.

But Rana didn’t stop there. She organized fundraisers to sponsor the therapy of children with autism from struggling families, becoming a champion for the cause in the region. When her son Jad was rejected from 22 mainstream schools, Rana took on the challenge herself and opened a first-of-its-kind non-profit school, Modern Alternative Education (MAE), which bridges the gap between mainstream schools and special needs centers.

Years of determination and struggle gave birth to MAE, a fully operational academic and functional development center that embraces children like Jad who are not accepted in mainstream schools yet whose impairment is not severe enough to attend a special needs center.

Despite the sudden and tragic loss of Jad in 2018 at the age of 11, Rana’s motivation to continue her journey amplified considerably as she saw it as a calling to keep her son’s legacy alive. On what would have been Jad’s 12th birthday, Rana changed the name of MAE to Jad’s Inclusion.

Amidst the ocean of aspiring entrepreneurs, Rana shines like a blazing star. Having been bestowed with multiple accolades that serve as a testament to her exceptional skills and unwavering dedication. In particular, she has been crowned the Female Entrepreneur of the Year at The Women in Lead Economic Forum in 2018, an esteemed recognition that showcases her remarkable achievements in the field of business. Adding to her ever-growing list of accomplishments, Rana also received the Timeout Kids Outstanding Contribution Award in 2019, a prestigious honor that speaks volumes about her tremendous impact on society.

With an upbringing as a diplomat’s daughter and a knack for languages, Rana embodies a cosmopolitan outlook that permeates every aspect of her life. Her fluency in Arabic, English, and Spanish provides a linguistic arsenal with which she approaches the world. From this vantage point, Rana dreams of nurturing Jad’s Inclusion and expanding her vision of transforming the lives of individuals with special needs globally. Her fervor for this mission burns bright, and she shows no signs of slowing down in her pursuit of a better future.