Local Heroes

In this month’s cover story, we shine a spotlight on ordinary individuals who are doing extraordinary things, pushing boundaries and making the Kingdom proud. From artists and athletes to conservationists and social welfare advocates, these local heroes are flying the flag for Bahrain, showcasing the island’s talent, resilience and spirit. Join us as FACT honours their remarkable achievements and contributions to our community.

Founder, Motör Militia

Motör Militia, formed in 2001 by drummer Abdulla Muijrers, has been rocking Bahrain’s heavy metal scene for more than 20 years. What started as a high school band quickly turned into a lifelong passion with the band growing under Abdulla’s leadership, alongside longtime member and lead guitarist Hisham Alawadhi, lead guitarist Ahmed Janahi, Australian vocalist John Baker and bass guitarist Mohammed Alkhuzaie.
As early pioneers of the thrash genre in the region, they were one of the first metal bands in the Arabian Gulf and Middle East to release a full-length album of original material on an independent label in 2004. Since then, they’ve been instrumental in nurturing a sense of community among Bahrain’s hard rock enthusiasts, inspiring and helping other bands to get their start.
From playing at the 2011 Deccan Rock Festival in India to sharing the stage with legends from Machine Head, Exodus, Lamb of God and Megadeth, Motör Militia has had numerous milestones over the years. But perhaps their most significant achievement came in 2018 with the release of their album World in Flames. Showcasing the band’s growth and maturity, it featured fan favourite tracks Supremacy and Reckoning.
The group shows no signs of slowing down – with new songs in the pipeline and plans for an end-of-year rock festival, Abdulla remains dedicated to elevating Bahrain’s metal scene. His vision also includes establishing a GCC touring circuit to unite local and regional metal bands. Rock on, Motör Militia!
GO: Follow @motormilitiabh for more information.

Jiu-Jitsu Champion

Ahmed Al Nooh, a dedicated lecturer and soft skills trainer from Noaim, Bahrain, is making waves not just in the classroom but also on the jiu-jitsu mat. Despite starting in the sport just three years ago, he has already achieved remarkable success, recently winning double gold at the AJP Tour Doha International Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
Ahmed’s journey into jiu-jitsu began in late 2020, sparked by a trial class at Reza’s Martial Art Center. Captivated by its focus and meditative qualities, he quickly found himself immersed in the sport, seeking solace in its disciplined practice. “I like the way that you get disconnected from the world and focus only on yourself and your opponent,” he says. “It’s like another way of meditation and releasing negative energy.”
Having quickly risen to the rank of blue belt with three stripes, Ahmed has already secured an impressive collection of six gold medals in various competitions. Among his proudest moments is winning his first gold against a formidable opponent at the Saudi Jiu-Jitsu Federation Championship in Riyadh in 2020 and again in 2023, within a month of receiving his blue belt, bolstering his status as a rising star in the sport.
The future looks bright for Ahmed as he aims to continue his winning streak, setting his sights on the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Abu Dhabi World Pro), hoping to raise the Bahraini flag on the global stage. His journey, however, is not just about personal triumphs but also about inspiring others, particularly the younger generation, who he feels will have a big impact on society and the future of Bahrain. You go, champ!
GO: Follow @ahmedalnooh for more information.

Co-Founders, Raptor Rehab

Co-founded by Ahmed, a Bahraini ICT professional with a love for natural sciences, and Natalie, an environmental educator, Raptor Rehab Bahrain is an organisation dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of birds of prey.
With a shared passion for falconry, their journey began eight years ago with the recognition of the need to help injured raptors return to the wild, especially with Bahrain serving as a vital migratory route. This vision led to the establishment of Raptor Rehab, which aims to not only rehabilitate these incredible birds of prey but also raise awareness about the importance of protecting them and their natural habitats.
Through school visits and collaborations with local organisations and government agencies, Raptor Rehab has rescued countless birds and initiated projects like Owl Alternative Housing and the relocation of non-native birds. Ahmed and Natalie have also proudly represented Bahrain at local and international events, presenting their achievements, success stories and sharing their findings and techniques.
With exciting projects in the pipeline, they plan to expand their efforts by collaborating with regional organisations to establish a safe passage for all migrating species. They are also launching a tagging and tracking initiative, on a not-for-profit basis, that will provide valuable data for scientific research and conservation efforts. Through education and collective action, Ahmed and Natalie are not only rehabilitating birds of prey but also inspiring the community to safeguard Bahrain’s biodiversity. Through their ongoing efforts, they hope to create a sustainable and harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife in the region. Fly high, Ahmed & Natalie!
GO: Follow @raptor_rehab for more information.

Founder, Unknotted

Huda Ahmed, a remarkable Bahraini woman and mathematics major at an American university, is not only passionate about numbers but also mental health advocacy. She has turned her own struggles into a mission to support others and founded Unknotted, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming mental health care in Bahrain.
Huda’s personal battle with Health Anxiety Disorder went undiagnosed until 2018 and intensified during the pandemic, leading to depression. The isolation she felt highlighted the need for mental health resources in Bahrain. Determined to make a change, Huda was inspired by a support network in Jeddah and the music video When I Am Gone by Eminem, depicting the power of sharing stories. The tragic loss of a barista to mental illness further fuelled her resolve to take the next step and, in 2021, she founded Unknotted, a support group aimed at reducing mental health stigma, spreading awareness and providing free, high-quality services, including group sessions and therapy.
Unknotted has already made significant strides, partnering with Sulwan Psychiatric Hospital to run a focus group therapy programme. Calling for corporate sponsorship, Huda hopes to expand this and introduce a financial-aid initiative for subsidised individual mental health care at partner hospitals and clinics.
Her vision is for Unknotted to tackle mental health reform in Bahrain and shape national policy by advocating for disability pensions, increased psychiatric resources and updated hospital facilities. Huda’s extraordinary commitment to mental well-being is transforming lives in Bahrain, making her a true local hero!
GO: Follow @unknotted.bh for more information.

Photojournalist & Author

Born in Sitra in 1979, Isa Ebrahim has become a celebrated name in photojournalism. Known for his ability to capture the essence of people and places through his lens, his work aims to bridge the gap between diverse experiences and foster a deep appreciation for the human spirit in all its complexity.
Author of the book Eye Memory, Isa is one of the most acclaimed Arab photographers. His dedication to his craft has earned him over 700 international accolades. Notably, he is the first Arab photographer to achieve the Master FIAP (MFIAP) title from the esteemed International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) and the world’s first photographer to be awarded the GPU (Global Photographic Union) Grand Master title.
Isa’s photographic journey began with a deep curiosity about the world. Initially drawn to documenting his vibrant community and the stories of its historical buildings, his artistic vision matured to explore the intricate details of nature and birds. His true inspiration, however, lies in the human spirit. “The tapestry of cultures, customs and traditions across the globe fuels my passion for storytelling,” he said.
Striving to capture the human experience, he was drawn to the immediacy of photojournalism, collaborating with various Arab and international publications. Through this work, Isa was able to amplify the voices of individuals and communities, raising awareness of their struggles and celebrating their achievements. This allowed him to experience firsthand the profound power of photography to inspire understanding and enact positive change. Among his numerous awards, a few stand out as particularly meaningful for Isa. Winning first place in the prestigious Francesco Forno 2012 competition in Italy was a major milestone, validating his artistic approach and technique. The Al Thani Award in Qatar, which he won three times, alongside seven medals from the Austrian International Competition, highlights the consistency and quality of his work. His recent solo exhibition at Katara Cultural Village in Doha further demonstrates his commitment to sharing his vision with a wider audience.
Isa’s contributions extend beyond his personal achievements. He founded the Bahrain Photographic Society to nurture local talent and has established several respected competitions, such as the Bahrain Salon and the Gulf International Photography Circuit. Isa serves as a jury member at various local and international photography events and regularly shares his wealth of knowledge through courses, workshops and lectures. He has also founded Amakin Trips, a travel photography team specialising in immersive experiences, making photography a tool for cultural exploration.
Isa envisions a vibrant future for the island’s photography scene, with more support structures and a dedicated ‘incubator’ programme specifically designed to nurture and refine the local talent. One of his primary goals is to host a solo exhibition in the Kingdom, showcasing his work, connecting with the community and inspiring the next generation of photographers. With his unwavering commitment, Isa continues to elevate Bahraini photography on the global stage. We wish him luck!
GO: Follow @isaebrahim for more information.

Founder, Shamsaha

Mary-Justine Todd, a native of Iowa, USA, has brought her passion for humanitarian work to the heart of Bahrain, providing a lifeline for women facing domestic violence and crises through her initiative, Shamsaha.
With a background in international public health and law, MaryJustine (MJ) is a seasoned humanitarian aid worker specialising in gender-based violence. Having worked for major global NGOs, she has spent more than 15 years in support of women’s empowerment and humanitarian programmes in the US, SubSaharan Africa and the Middle East.
Shamsaha was born from MJ’s professional expertise and personal experiences, along with her understanding of how such initiatives work. “When I came to Bahrain [in 2013], I realised that this would be a perfect place to begin the region’s first and full-scale domestic and violence crisis response programme because of the progressive and compassionate nature of the community. But also, because, like everywhere, there was a need,” said MJ.
In the last 10 years, Shamsaha has assisted more than 90,000 women across the Arabian Gulf (including Bahrain), Egypt, Palestine and Sudan, offering crisis advocacy support and psychosocial first aid through its 24/7 mobile application and in-person care. With 100-plus trained volunteers, the project ensures that no woman needs to face abuse alone.
Having scaled its operations throughout the region, using Bahrain’s successful programme as its model, MJ plans to expand Shamsaha with additional service partners, including lawyers, therapists, doctors and emergency food and shelter providers. Her work showcases how compassion and determination can spark change in society, bringing hope to countless lives and paving the way for a future where every woman feels safe and supported. Bravo, MJ!
GO: Follow @shamsaha_me for more information.

Founder, A Box of Goodness

Meet Miro Dole, the heart behind A Box of Goodness, a local initiative spreading kindness in Bahrain. Originally from Colombo, Sri Lanka, Miro has been in the Kingdom since 2015, working in the real estate industry, and has always been an advocate of charity.
A Box of Goodness began in 2016 as Miro’s way of giving back to the community. Inspired by the idea of sharing blessings with the less fortunate, she introduced the concept of collecting daily items in a box, to be given to those in need at the end of each month. Now, eight years on, what started as a simple act of kindness has evolved into a multi-faceted organisation with several projects.
As an unregistered charity, A Box of Goodness does not receive financial assistance and relies solely on the generosity of local and expat donors and volunteers. Yet, despite these challenges, it has thrived, supporting individuals and families both locally and internationally. With initiatives like responding to earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria and annual Ramadan and Christmas drives, the charity continues to support the less fortunate.
Looking ahead, Miro envisions even greater involvement from corporates and schools, particularly engaging students in hands-on charitable activities. Collaborations with schools like St Christopher’s School and Nadeen School Bahrain have already proven impactful, allowing pupils to actively participate in distributing donations during Ramadan. Miro believes that engaging youth in charitable work not only benefits the community but also nurtures a future generation of compassionate global citizens. A true gift to society that keeps on giving!
GO: Follow @aboxofgoodness for more information.

Founder, Bahrain Stargazers Astronomy Club

Born and raised in the Kingdom, Myriam is a mother and an astronomy educator with a passion for all things cosmic. As president of the Bahrain Stargazers Astronomy Club and National Outreach Coordinator for Bahrain at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office of Astronomy Outreach, her dedication to exploring the universe is truly inspiring.
Her journey began in 2016, when she founded the Bahrain Stargazers Astronomy Club. What started as a gathering of likeminded enthusiasts has now taken on a bigger role to ensure that IAU astronomy events are implemented in Bahrain. One example was its participation in the Name ExoWorlds competition in 2022, in collaboration with Ghazi Al-Gosaibi Secondary Girls’ School and the Bahrain Astronomical Society, in which Bahrain named the exoplanet WASP-121 ‘Dilmun’ and its associated planet WASP121b ‘Tylos’. The club’s mission is to make astronomy outreach activities and education accessible to all by collaborating with organisations and schools across the Kingdom.
Myriam is also a DarkSky Delegate, having first-hand experience of the challenge of light pollution in Bahrain. Realising that the community in the region lacked awareness of its effects, not just on stargazing but also on healthy ecosystems, she joined DarkSky International to advocate for the importance of dark skies.
With club members having already discovered three provisional asteroids and named an exostar and an exoplanet, Bahrain Stargazers are eager to make more discoveries in the future. They also hope to participate in international competitions to represent Bahrain and are working to establish an astronomy museum in the Kingdom. As for Myriam, she’s planning to publish her research on astronomy education in the Arab region. Reach for the stars!
GO: Follow @stargazers.bh for more information.

Animal Welfare Group

An extraordinary group of local volunteers is making a meaningful difference to the welfare of the island’s neglected animals through the Voiceless Souls of Bahrain (VSOB) Group.
Founded in 2015 by the late Putri Aidawati Ahmad, VSOB is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the care and protection of the country’s stray and abandoned animals. The devoted team, including members like Manoj, an animal-loving part-time driver, and passionate volunteers, Virmala, Lorraine and Linda, operates entirely on donations and community support.
VSOB’s mission is to reduce the stray animal population through spaying, neutering and rehoming efforts. They also provide medical treatments and feed more than 100 dogs and countless cats across the country. With the number of animals in their care continually rising due to the influx of abandoned pets, VSOB collaborates closely with various groups dedicated to rescue efforts in Bahrain and is also assisted by veterinary clinics that offer discounted packages and treatments.
Envisioning a better future, VSOB seeks to educate the community about the importance of animal welfare. With the financial support of loyal donors, group members plan to continue their efforts, supporting other volunteers and groups and working to ensure Bahrain’s voiceless souls are heard. We salute you!
GO: Follow @vsobahrain for more information.