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Ten Teams To Help Improve Mental Health, Wellbeing In Abu Dhabi Community

The Authority of Social Contribution, Ma'an, today announced the ten winning teams awarded a place in the second cycle of the authority's Social Incubator Programme.

Designed to provide sustainable services and products that will benefit and support the mental health and wellbeing of Abu Dhabi residents, the second cycle has received a huge response.

According to a statement issued by Ma'an, the programme's second cycle was launched to promote mental health awareness, in a bit to effect an important change of mind-set and encourage happiness and well-being for all members of society, which is among the social challenges identified by the Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi.

More than 260 applications from around the world were received for the second cycle. The ten social start-up teams were selected from a shortlist of 35 teams and pitched their original ideas to an expert panel. Since registration opened in November, Ma’an received applications from the UAE and overseas including Russia, India, Estonia, Greece, Sudan, Jordan, Nigeria. UK,Canada, Oman, USA, Belarus, Germany, Morocco, KSA, Italy, Singapore, Portugal.

Among the winning projects is 'Nafas,' a mobile app that offers mindfulness therapy content for Arabic speakers at affordable rates.

Other selected start-ups include technology platform, 'Hold My Umbrella,' that provides access to training and toolkits for caregivers to demystify common mental disorders and give them daily guidance by connecting them to an array of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Another winning project, 'Hamda and Hamad Comics', raises mental health awareness among youth via a series of children's comic books. The comics are told from the perspective of children and young adults aged 7-16 years - who took part in multiple workshops to address their needs and concerns as part of the story development process.

Each of the ten teams will be eligible to receive up to AED200,000 from Ma’an and will undergo a 90-day training programme in Abu Dhabi to develop their original ideas into strong business ventures.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said, "This incubator supports and encourages everyone to come forward with their creative ideas in the social sector, specially in the mental wellbeing that has become a global challenge. The incubator seeks to face this challenge through providing sustainable solutions in the emirate of Abu Dhabi."

"The second phase of the social incubator have received increased participation from talented social entrepreneurs and creative individuals. We appreciate the efforts of the participants, we aim for this projects to leave a positive impact in the community, to continue with succeeding through building a clear plan to foresight the future to ensure sustainable solutions for the current social challenges, specially in finding solutions that is related to mental health," he added.

As one of Ma’an’s key pillars, the Social Incubator Programme aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by helping deliver solutions that address social challenges such as mental health and improve the everyday lives of Abu Dhabi residents.

The winning teams will undergo a thorough journey of weekly workshops to gain mastery over the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship, exposing them to a range of tools and models to build their prototypes, business models, find and engage with their customers, and grow their business sustainably.

The social entrepreneurial teams will also be given the necessary support to ensure their projects are sustainable and has a positive impact by having access to mentorship, and business expertise.

For her part, Salama Al Ameemi, Ma'an Director-General, said that mental health and wellbeing "continues to be a vital topic around the world and one that can happen to anyone of us as we go through different stages in life."

She went on to note that "we have a duty to help those in need" and "this is why we are thrilled to have selected ten of the most innovative solutions that, we believe, will make a big difference in supporting the mental wellbeing of people in Abu Dhabi."

"We have been thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm from all the entrepreneurs who have demonstrated how committed they are to helping solve a key social challenge that is being faced today," Al Ameemi continued.

"With their determination to succeed, desire to learn, and along with the valuable support that we are providing, their ideas will help transform lives for the better," the Ma'an Director-General concluded.

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