As Qatar Foundation marks a quarter-century of unlocking human potential, Vatamula Anjaiah recalls the first days and years of an organization whose journey he shared
In 1994, when Vatamula Anjaiah – who was then in his early twenties – arrived in Qatar from India as an expat, the idea of Qatar Foundation was still being formalized and he had not heard about it.
Yet just a few months later, when Qatar Foundation (QF) was established, Anjaiah became the first employee to officially join the organization, with an employee ID number that perfectly illustrated how he was there right from the start—1001.
Anjaiah subsequently became one of the longest-serving employees of QF. As he was recruited a year before it officially came into being, he served the organization for more than 25 years, from its very beginnings to 2020.
His time with QF ultimately saw him become a Facilities Inspector, overseeing the amenities and services in several buildings at Education City that he personally witnessed being built.
When I first came here, I didn’t think Education City would become as big and bustling as it is today
“When I first came here, I didn’t think Education City would become as big and bustling as it is today. The site was a lot of old houses, small shops, and empty land,” recalls Anjaiah, mentioning that he used to purchase items from some of the grocery stores that were located in what is today the 12-hectare home of QF, housing a plethora of schools, universities, research and innovation centers, and community facilities.
Anjaiah originally worked within the QF maintenance team at Al Sadd Plaza, one of the first projects to come under QF. Later, he was also part of the small team of QF employees working from a two-story villa in Souq Al Ali, one of the first bases of QF before the organization established its headquarters in Education City.
Fortunately, every boss I worked with at QF always pushed me to do more and I kept moving up
Due to the small number of people within the organization at the time, Anjaiah had a hands-on role in many of the projects and buildings that ultimately coalesced to become Education City.
“It was a lot of hard work,” he says. “Today, you might have 10 people handling facilities management for one building, but when we started, we were only a small team for all the buildings. One person might have to inspect four buildings, and I don’t think there is any area in Education City that I haven’t stepped onto.”
Anjaiah recalls that one of his most memorable projects was supervising a team to arrange logistics for the very first student photoshoot with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation.
“We were notified on a very short notice about the event, and initially I didn’t even know Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser was going to be at the photoshoot,” Anjaiah said, who also spoke of the pride he felt that an event he had helped to set up was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza and that everything went smoothly despite the short timeframe.
Qatar Foundation means a lot in my life
Anjaiah’s hard work and commitment did not go unnoticed by his peers. “Fortunately, every boss I worked with at QF always pushed me to do more and I kept moving up,” he said. “I never asked for anything, but I was fortunate in that my bosses kept rewarding me. When I first came to Qatar, I was alone and used to ride a bicycle; today I have my own car and have established my family here.”
Anjaiah got married while working at QF. In 2006, his wife moved to Doha, where the couple had two sons who started their schooling here. His wife and children spent majority of the time in Qatar before moving back to India in 2017. Now, they visit each other several times a year.
Anjaiah, who is now 48 years old, said he would not have imagined living this long in Qatar when he first arrived in the country in 1994, but looks back at his journey with delight. “Qatar Foundation means a lot in my life,” he says, “I can’t thank it enough.”