Celebrating Deena

by BTM

Tue, 05 March 2024

Celebrating Deena

The truly opulent Café Trianon recently opened its doors in Riffa. On the sidelines of the event, Mohammed Almoayyed tells Lisa Daniels about his late wife Deena Kanoo, the philanthropic micro-school founded in her memory and his heartfelt tribute to her life. 

Today’s event at Cafe Trianon is a tribute to the life of your late wife, Deena Kanoo. Can you tell us a little about her life, and her battle with breast cancer? 
We are here to celebrate Deena’s life, the unconditional love we had for each other and the family we created together.  Deena was a very strong and courageous woman who fought a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She tragically passed away ten years ago, on October 1, 2013. 

The 9th of February is a significant date for this event. Why is that? 
Indeed, it is important to note that the chosen date of February 9 for this event is also meant to remind us all of International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD). By choosing this date, I wished to draw our attention and open our hearts to this important cause. 

In 2017 you initiated an educational project with the Bahrain Trust Foundation, in Deena’s name. What educational programmes does the ‘Teach Me’ initiative offer, and to whom? 
Deena Kanoo Microschool is the first hospital school in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is operated at the Salmaniya Medical Complex. The ‘Teach Me’ programme at the hospital school offers several educational programmes for sick students to support their education and develop their study skills. It also enables them to discover and refine their scientific and artistic talents whether during their stay, or outside the hospital. 

In 2011, you bought Château de Bussemont, in the Champagne region of France, as a family retreat. In 2017, you commissioned French creator of roses, Guillot, to create a scented pink rose as a tribute to Deena’s life. What was the inspiration for this and why did you choose, specifically, a pink rose?
The inspiration came very naturally to me and the brief I gave to Guillot was the following: Deena was a very beautiful woman, extremely delicate and elegant, with a unique complexion. She was also very strong and powerful.  So, Guillot created the ultimate feminine pink rose which changes shades during its life cycle. It has an extraordinary feminine rose scent, with layers and layers of petals and is, at the same time, a very vigorous and sturdy flower. 

In 2023, you then went on to commission French artist, Tala Mazhari to create a soap in the shape of the Deena de Bussemont rose. Can you tell us a little about the soap and how the proceeds from its sale will be used?
This soap will be presented for the first time in the world, here in Bahrain, during the Pre-Opening event of Café Trianon. It will be another tribute to Deena’s life, and every guest will be gifted a box of the rose soaps. The BD2000 proceeds that the rose soap would have raised had it been sold, will be donated and presented, today, to the Deena Kanoo Microschool. This is in addition to the programme budget of BD240,000, which covers a period of 10 years, between 2019 and 2029.