Empowering People of Determination: The Story of Mahaweb

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Mawaheb is more than an art studio; it’s a symbol of hope, empowerment, and inclusivity. Through its transformative programs, it unlocks the potential of individuals of determination, enriching their lives and inspiring others to embrace diversity and celebrate the human spirit. In a world where differences are often seen as barriers, Mawaheb stands as a shining example of unity, acceptance, and the power of art to transcend boundaries. Founded under the vision of Mrs. Neelam Pagarani supported by her son Mr. Dinesh Pagarani this is the premiere offering for people of determination, between 18years and 70 years, who were lacking a safe space… A special story by Soniya Kirpalani, Images & Video: Santosh Rai, The Wordsmiths, UAE

In the heart of Dubai, nestled within the vibrant arts scene of Al Qouz, lies Mawaheb, a unique art studio and café. Designed in keeping with the needs of “Beautiful People” this is a beacon of creativity and inclusivity. Founded under the vision of Mrs. Neelam Pagarani supported by her son Mr. Dinesh Pagarani this is the premiere offering for people of determination, between 18years and 70 years, who were lacking a safe space.

When Covid closed down the last beacon of hope for adults of determination, Neelam Paghrani’s firsthand experience gave her the insight into the challenges faced by people of determination and their families. She realised how devastated they were when their routine, discipline and development was disrupted. She then contacted Ms. Wemmy who was the visionary behind the last Mawaheb school and they worked collectively to create a sustainable structure for the present day Mawaheeb.

“Even when I lived in London, and when I came to Dubai, I always had a utopian dream of building a safe space for people of determination” Ms. Neelam explains. A thought which is echoed by Ms. Wemmy. Brainstorming, using their intuitive experiences, Mawaheb was launched. Born out of an altruistic vision of empowering people of determination to be self-sufficient, to tap into their latent talents and skill them in Arts and Communication.

A Haven of Creativity

Mawaheb’s team ensures it serves as more than just an art studio. It’s a sanctuary where the Artist find their voices through creative expression and creative healing. With the support of carefully selected experts, Mawaheb’s nurturing environment is a safe space for them to explore and experiment with all their artistic abilities. This subtle guidance has helped evolved some of the talent, they are now showcasing at Art Dubai (Sikka), CoP28, Infinity’s Art Program where they have been winning accolades.

Art as a Universal Language

At Mawaheb, art is not merely a form of expression; it’s a bridge that connects people across diverse backgrounds and abilities. Through painting, drawing, and various artistic mediums, along with yoga and conscious networking the participants discover new ways to communicate and connect with the world around them. Each stroke of the brush and every hue on the canvas tells a story of resilience, creativity, and the human spirit. Today Mawaheb stands as a testament to the transformative power of creativity and communication.

Fostering Communication and Confidence

The core team understand the importance of every individual in ushering in societal development and they have developed programs at Mawaheeb so the artist can contribute towards their own growth and the growth of humanity. Fostering effective communication skills, their specialized programs foster verbal and non-verbal communication abilities to boost social interactions and stir confidence to navigate the world with greater independence and self-assurance.

Recognizing the importance of physical and mental well-being, Mawaheb offers a diverse range of activities aimed at promoting overall health and independence. From yoga sessions that enhance flexibility and mindfulness to workshops focused on communication skills and daily living tasks, participants are equipped with the tools they need to lead fulfilling and independent lives. The teams are very interactive and personalize the training to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential and live life to the fullest.

Inclusive Education for All

Whilst instilling skills, they also work to sensitize the community by creating interactions at public art events, with the aim of preventing discrimination. “The appreciation that our artists have received whilst showcasing their art, has served as a mirror, which has been a big boost for their self-confidence” Neelam says. Experimenting with greater inclusivity Mawaheb team ensure the artists not only showcases at international events and even give art talks.

Mawaheb’s commitment to inclusivity extends beyond its programs. It serves as a model for inclusive education, providing a supportive learning environment where individuals of determination receive personalized attention and support to grow interdependently. Neelam explains “Regardless of their abilities, their community, their gender and their financial status, everyone is welcomed and celebrated for their unique talents and contributions and their mentors enhance their inherent skills”

Building a Community of Support

Central to Mawaheb’s success is its strong sense of community, supportive families, volunteers, mentors, who all come together to create a nurturing ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to thrive., “Fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among its participants, enriching their lives, is important. But we also have to teach them to be independent. This is a fragile balance. Simple tasks like paying for a coffee, requires a deeper understanding of money management. This is a simple task for us but it has to be differently instilled in people of determination” Mrs. Pagarani said, sharing her personal experience.

The First Inclusive Cafe

A spacious purpose-built facility which offers greater freedom of space for the various programs and activities. “We wanted to develop a sustainable model to support Mawaheeb. We built in the region’s first inclusive café. The space was carefully designed by Dinesh & Timsy Pagarani. We also created international quality merchandising with the creative artworks of Mawaheb’s artist. The café offers a perfect place for showcasing our artists creativity. This also strengthens our student’s bond with the community. In this way we challenge stereotyping, supports interaction and promotes inclusivity. It raises awareness about the abilities and potential of individuals of determination” Ms. Neelam shared. Through this subtle advocacy and outreach efforts, Mawaheb strives to create a more inclusive society where everyone interacts and has equal opportunities to pursue their passions and dreams.

Mawaheb is more than an art studio; it’s a symbol of hope, empowerment, and inclusivity. Through its transformative programs, it unlocks the potential of individuals of determination, enriching their lives and inspiring others to embrace diversity and celebrate the human spirit. In a world where differences are often seen as barriers, Mawaheeb stands as a shining example of unity, acceptance, and the power of art to transcend boundaries.

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