In the recent GulfNews article, Sharmila Dhal writes about the exciting Autism Rocks Festival founded by Usha and Sanjay Shah, a couple from Dubai. Spurred by the diagnosis of Autism their son, Nikhil, one of three, received, the couple felt urged to encourage research into why individuals develop this developmental disorder and what can be done about it in the future. One of their imperative goals is to change the way those with Autism are perceived and treated in society.
Autism Rocks is a charity that was founded in 2014, as well as a live concert. In the past, performers such as Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Bublè and Prince have been the main acts at the concerts held in London and Dubai. This year, Autism Awareness Month begins on April 2nd in Dubai, and the performers of this year’s Autism Rocks Festival are Flo Rida and Tyga. Usha Shah supports these two acts in the hope that their relevance will attract the interest and support of a younger audience. Apart from live music, the event– that encourages whole families to attend– will include activities like bouncy castles, face painting, a petting zoo, laser tag, a zip line, and barbecue. This event is in partnership with 117 Live, an Al Ahli Holding subsidiary.
Sanjay Shah Denmark, 46, and father of three, is a hedge fund manager and former banker for multiple corporations. In 2009, Shah moved to Dubai after becoming enamored with the city. When Shah’s youngest son, Nikhil, was diagnosed with Autism in 2011 at age two, Shah was shaken. As a father, he wanted to know what he could do to fix it and when he was told that it Autism is not something to be cured, he wanted to know the next step in order to help his son develop in the most productive way.
Shah, being a self-made millionaire, has used his wealth to assist the research of Autism. In 2011, he approached the Dubai Autism Centre and asked what he could do. After supplying the center with vehicles to transport members of their programs, Shah made his contributions in the mindset that enabling studies will head practical results and thus progress can be made. He feels that these groups and centers are important for families to find support in a community where there are others who identify with their struggle. The Shah family continues to facilitate the Autism Rocks Festival and hopes to plan more concerts and events throughout the year.
Learn more about Sanjay Shah: