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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launches second round of Arab Hope Makers 

The initiative offers a Dh1 million award to the greatest Arab Hope Maker who works selflessly, not seeking any fame or monetary reward

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, awards Nawal Al Soufi at the Arab Hope Makers awards ceremony at Dubai Studio City last year. Reem Mohammed / The National
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, awards Nawal Al Soufi at the Arab Hope Makers awards ceremony at Dubai Studio City last year. Reem Mohammed / The National

The second round of Arab Hope Makers, the largest Arab initiative dedicated to celebrating philanthropic efforts, was launched on Saturday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The initiative seeks to honour and promote people in the Arab world who spread hope, and who encompass the values of giving, positivity and optimism by dedicating their lives to helping those around them.

It aims to celebrate people combatting social, economic, health and psychological issues with humanitarian initiatives, empowering marginalised groups in society, alleviating the suffering of the poor and sick, and investing altruistically in the neglected segments of their communities.

“There are thousands of people who work silently and tirelessly to help others – these are the true heroes who deserve to be honoured,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

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The initiative encourages people from around the Arab world to submit their stories of hope on the website. Submissions are welcome from any person, team or entity with an initiative, service or volunteer programme in education, health, environmentalism, awareness or community development.

“We will take these people’s extraordinary stories, and continue to fight despair and pessimism with their spirit of positive change,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “In the face of frustration, future generations need to hear their inspiring experiences. I invite everyone in the Arab world to join us on our journey of spreading hope – everyone has something to contribute.”

The inspiring stories, documented in photos and videos, will be published on the initiative’s social networking sites, so that the stories can be widely shared for people to feel inspired.

Candidates will pass several qualifying rounds before making it to the final ceremony, to be held in Dubai.

The initiative, which falls under Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), offers a Dh1 million award to the greatest Arab Hope Maker who works selflessly, not seeking any fame or monetary reward. The award is meant to help the winner continue their efforts to spread hope and help those in need.

“We will work with the Hope Makers, support their humanitarian efforts, help them in their missions, and share their stories proudly as achievements for our Arab society,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “This initiative is like a school that annually graduates thousands of positive change makers in our communities.”

When Arab Hope Makers was launched last February, more than 65,000 submissions were entered.

Five finalists were selected to attend a ceremony in Dubai, including Nawal Al Sufi, from Morocco but residing in Italy, who helped rescue more than 200,000 refugees; Ma’ali Al Assoussi, from Kuwait, who has been residing in Yemen for more than 10 years helping Yemenis; the White Helmets, the Syrian Civil Defense Organisation; Hashim Zahabi, from Iraq, who opened his home to street children in Iraq; and Magda Gibran, better known as Mama Maggie, from Egypt, who endowed her life to serve the poor.

Ms Al Sufi was voted as the Arab Hope Maker, but Sheikh Mohammed surprised the crowd by awarding all five candidates the grand prize of Dh1 million each, helping to support their hopeful endeavours.