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Sun 27 Mar 2016 09:30 AM

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Entrepreneur of the Week: Sahar Wahbeh, founder of Dumyé

Sahar Wahbeh, founder of Dubai-based social enterprise Dumyé Dolls With Purpose, has organised a charity auction to help refugees, orphans and children with special needs across the MENA region.

Entrepreneur of the Week: Sahar Wahbeh, founder of Dumyé

Sahar Wahbeh, a Dubai-based social entrepreneur, has partnered with the S*uce concept stores to raise funds for art workshops for refugees, orphans and children with special needs across the MENA region and India run by the charity START.

Wahbeh, founder of Dumyé Dolls With Purpose, has initiated the creation of The #27Dresses collection featuring 27 handmade Dumyé dolls dressed by a host of regional and international designers, from Ayesha Depala, House of Nomad and Bleach, to Self Portrait, Marchesa and Alice McCall.

The #27DRESSES exhibition will be open to the public at The Dubai Mall until 3 April.

The dolls will then be auctioned at a private VIP party held at The Annex, Burj Khalifa, on 6 April.

Wahbeh, our latest Entrepreneur of the Week, founded Dumyé Dolls With Purpose, a social enterprise which gifts a doll to an orphan for each doll purchased, in Dubai a few years ago.

Each sale of their handcrafted, eco-friendly, and personalised rag Dumyé dolls finances doll-making workshops in orphanages allowing the children an opportunity to self-reflect in a nurturing environment and express themselves through the creative process.

Wahbeh works in partnership with START, a non-profit organisation founded by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation, whose mission is to heal and educate children who have suffered from war, pain and loss through special workshops that provide a safe and secure environment allowing them to learn, interact with their peers and develop skills and creativity.

The workshops give children the opportunity to be kids again – a reality some children can only dream of.

In an interview with Arabian Business StartUp last year, Wahbeh talked about an art therapy workshop they organised at the Maria Art Center in Sharjah in July 2014. “It was great that we did the first one here because we are here, and it is really important to give back here. But it is fascinating because when I talk to people, they don’t even realise that we have orphans here,” she said.

“There’s no country exempt from that.”

Dumyé also partners with a non-governmental organisation in Uttar Pradesh, India, to produce the dolls used in the art workshops. In this way, they aim to empower women to become self-sufficient, with proceeds going into funding girls’ education.

They recently launched the DIY (Design It Yourself) Doll Kit, which was named by InStyle magazine in the US as one of the top ten toys to gift kids during the 2015 holiday season.

“We now have a loyal customer following of customers in more than 22 countries and have also expanded our wholesale reach,” says Wahbeh. “In April 2016 we will be partnering up with START again to deliver doll making workshops to 700 orphans across nine different orphanages in Egypt.”

Dumyé was the 2015 Venture winner for the Gulf Region, named the most promising social enterprise.

Do you know an entrepreneur who deserves to be our Entrepreneur of the Week?

Please explain in 200 words why your entrepreneur of choice deserves the Entrepreneur of the Week accolade and send your nominations to tamara.pupic@itp.com

Please note that the final decisions are made at the discretion of our editorial team.

For information, tips and advice on setting up a new business or insights from those who have taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurship, click on the Arabian Business StartUp section.

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