In a world where women are still fighting for equality – both in the world and in the workplace – female entrepreneurs deserve recognition. As for the female entrepreneurs leading companies that are driven by a purpose bigger than the bottom line? Well, the word ‘heroine’ comes to mind. Whether they’re using comedy to defy stereotypes, helping those coping with grief, empowering underprivileged women through employment, or inspiring the next generation to help the planet, these women across the UAE are giving back in their own unique way. And that’s why we’re celebrating them on International Women’s Day, today.
Designer Sahar Wahbeh is the entrepreneur behind Dumyé, a company creating ethically crafted dolls that are made by underprivileged women and can be personalised to suit the recipient. ‘Karmic Goodness’ drives this beloved brand as, for every Dumyé doll sold, vulnerable children are supported through play, food, and education. In fact, each doll comes with a ‘Giving Card’ that invites the owner to discover exactly how their doll has given back to a child in need.
The LightHouse Arabia
Founded by Dr. Saliha Afridi, The LightHouse Arabia has offered hope, help, and solace to countless people struggling with loss, trauma, infertility, eating disorders, depression, chronic stress, addiction, and more. Most admirable are its efforts to make mental wellness more accessible through the likes of affordable check-ups that evaluate one’s emotional well-being and free grief counselling offered to individuals and families. Turn to its calendar of events, and you’ll also see support groups that cater to varying ages and concerns – all of them free of charge.
Mariam Khafagy co-founded Upfill, the region’s first waterless personal care, and cosmetics brand, in August 2021 in order to steer us towards natural beauty products that are both water-mindful and devoid of plastic. Soon after, the brand partnered up with Azraq and RECAPP to further its efforts towards a healthier planet. Not only is Upfill reintroducing coral reefs in Dibba to support local marine life, but it has also arranged for its recyclable tin packaging to be collected free of charge directly from consumers.
Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts
Created by Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan to empower underprivileged women through culturally inspired products, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts trains and employs over 200 craftswomen of different nationalities and ages. Besides producing items that feature Al Sadu, a traditional weaving technique inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding because of its significance, the art of Telli (metal-thread embroidery) and Khoos (palm-leaf weaving) is also preserved.
With laughter being the best medicine, comedian and Dubomedy co-founder Mina Liccione’s spot on this list is a given – but she does so much more than use comedy to unify Dubai’s over 200 nationalities. Dubomedy’s Clowns Who Care initiative sees Mina and fellow comedians bring love and laughter to hospitals, charity organisations, and centres for those with special needs. Elsewhere, the New York native’s television specials like Araby by Nature and short films like The Shocking Truth About Muslims have helped defuse negative stereotypes about Muslims amidst audiences abroad.
One Good Thing
Proving that gifts can simultaneously be stylish, high-quality, and socially conscious, One Good Thing is anchored in giving back. The company was co-founded by Bridgett Lau and Micheal Cooke, a married couple that set out to make a difference after Bridgett’s cancer diagnosis back in 2015 had her questioning her legacy. Today, One Good Thing stocks products sourced from far and wide, but the common denominator is a positive impact – be it planting a tree, removing harmful plastic from the oceans, or offering employment to a survivor of human trafficking.
Save Our World
Author Colette Barr and illustrator Leona Collins are at the helm of Save Our World, which raises awareness of environmental issues through funny and engaging children’s stories created to inspire change and action for a more sustainable planet. The Eco-heroes series of books features five fictional friends who want to help save the planet through recycling, energy and water conservation, reducing food waste, and minimising plastic, thereby encouraging readers to make positive choices from a young age.