Chikara Global: A women's collective Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A new women’s collective, led by Emirati holistic wellbeing practitioner Dr Mariam Ketait, has been launched in Dubai.

Eleven other female business owners from around the world are the founding members of the women’s collective named Chikara Global, which means power in Japanese. The collective has seven advisory board members as well.

“The aim of the collective is to create a networking and mentorship space to join efforts and launch one platform for wellbeing, sustainability and retail using digital solutions and marketing strategies,” said Dr Mariam.

Dr Mariam Ketait Image Credit: Supplied

One of the advisors of Chikara, Zainab Aziz, a lawyer, participated in a conversation with Elizabeta Gjorgievska, the First Lady of North Macedonia, about gender balance and women empowerment at the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 last week.

“We have worked with women in all walks of life; women of determination, those who were trafficked, those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic and many who are choosing to step out of victimhood and into choice,” said Dr Mariam.

“It is important that we rethink the way we do things from day to day activities to policies and strategic objectives of our organisation that we align with the sustainable goals, the UAE’s vision into the next 50 years and be a driver of change in many arenas,” she pointed out.

Chikara’s programme involves one-on-one coaching and mentorship, group support circles and solution design through technology and partnerships.

“I joined Chikara because of the aspect of empowerment of women in business and life. I see my portraits photography as a complementary tool to that too,” said French photographer Brigite Richaud.

Mariam Qayed (Al Beqsha), Suhair Al Bastaki (Access by Suhair), Fareshta Al Bastaki (Fleur by Fareshta), Rhoda Soriano (Raise and Rise), Anne Dominique Janecek (Ad Synergies), Maria Alejandra Chaves (Latido) , Dutil Cynthia Camelia (Ellexiir Minerals), Leidy Tatiana and Yeedy Lan are other founding members of Chikara.

What will the collective do?

Utlilising the social media to engage young women entrepreneurs and creating support circles, transforming small businesses with artisans from Africa, Latin America and other countries to a digital platform and creating liaisons with mainstream sellers are some of the primary objectives of the collective.

“The online store planned under the collective aims to put the products and services offered by each member under one platform,” said Dr Mariam.

“Chikara will help women step into financial freedom by giving them access to a digital market place because after COVID, many women lost their jobs and were not able to have financial freedom.”

Bringing parents of women of determination onboard the healing journey and including them in the workshops to facilitate communication is another aspect of the collective.

“Reimagining education through designing with the students and young girls to aid and creating a safe space for women who have been abused or attacked to express through art or singing movement and healing in a group setting without traditional psychotherapy are also in our plans.”

Another objective of the collective is raising awareness on women’s issues by creating videos on women, gender, inclusion and diversity-related topics and having video series with themes each month led by women experts in the field to make sure their voices are heard, and to spread the messages. The group also aims to work with female frontline warriors and their families.