Dubai: The Arab Hope Makers are the makers of our civilisation and our future as every person has the spirit of giving and the ability to contribute positively to our society.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, made these remarks on Saturday as he launched the second round of Arab Hope Makers, the largest Arab initiative dedicated to celebrating philanthropic efforts.
The initiative seeks to honour and promote the people who spread hope, and who encompass the values of giving, positivity and optimism by dedicating their lives to helping those around them.
The initiative encourages people from around the Arab world to submit their stories of hope on the website www.ArabHopeMakers.com. It will celebrate thousands of people behind the stories and welcomes submissions from any person, team or entity with an initiative, service or volunteer programme in education, health, environmentalism, awareness or community development.
Shaikh Mohammad said, “There are thousands of people who work silently and tirelessly to help others — these are the true heroes who deserve to be honoured. We will take these people’s extraordinary stories, and continue to fight despair and pessimism with their spirit of positive change. 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.”
“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. This initiative is like a school that annually graduates thousands of positive change makers in our communities,” he concluded.
Honouring and celebrating Hope Makers
Arab Hope Makers seeks to celebrate the people in the Arab world who dedicate themselves to helping others and spreading optimism and positivity in their communities.
It seeks to honour the people who are combating 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.
The initiative, which falls under Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), offers an 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 the efforts to spread hope and help those in need.
An invitation to join
Shaikh Mohammad published an invitation on his social media accounts to all Arabs wishing to spread hope in their communities. The invitation specifies the qualification of participants — they must be Arab, of any age, with any humanitarian experience, fluent in the language of giving and possessing the skill of creating a positive outlook in life.
Several committees will be formed in order to evaluate and verify the applications.
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 finalists will undergo a comprehensive evaluation, including field visits to follow up on initiatives and documents.
Some of the judging criteria for finalists will include their seriousness and commitment, their reputation and credibility, and the impact of their initiatives.
Last year’s ceremony
When the Arab Hope Makers initiative was launched in February 2017, the response was unprecedented. Although it was anticipated that 20,000 people would apply, 65,000 shared their inspiring stories of hope.
After months of evaluating submissions, it was narrowed down to 20 finalists from across the Arab world. After more consideration, it was narrowed down to the five finalists who would attend the final ceremony in Dubai.
The 2017 finalists were 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 ten years to help Yemenis in very difficult situations; the White Helmets, the Syrian Civil Defence Organisation that works under harsh conditions to save war victims in Syria; Hashim Zahabi, from Iraq, who opened his home to street children in Iraq; and Magda Gibran, better known as Mama Maggie, from Egypt, who dedicated her life to serve the poor.
The final ceremony was held in Dubai, attended by Shaikh Mohammad, along with more than 2,500 officials, celebrities, media professionals and humanitarian personalities. Nawal Al Sufi was voted the Arab Hope Maker, but Shaikh Mohammad surprised the crowed by awarding all five candidates the grand prize of Dh1 million each, helping to support their hopeful endeavours.