Donya Imraa (Arabic for “women’s universe”), a social portal that is “by every woman and for every woman”, as described by founder and managing director, Lina Habib, was first launched last October – universally the month of breast cancer awareness. The timing of the launch was not without reason, as Habib was hoping it would allow the usually shy and reserved women of the Arab who had been and are struggling with breast cancer to come out and tell their story. “It was a chance for us to start creating awareness around the concept and key contributions that Donyaa Imraa can make in the life of Arab women, and invite or incentivize women to share their experiences and help others,” explains Habib, adding that with a relatively small number of visitors at the time, “we generated a big number of real stories from survivors”.
At the time, a total of 72 participants submitted 86 stories, with Amal Bin Alaya, a breast cancer survivor from Saudi Arabia, winning a rose gold necklace shaped after the breast cancer ribbon. Since then, Bin Alaya’s earned her own section, “Ask Amal”, on Donya Imraa, where Habib’s noticed visitors have grown trust in not only the platform, but also, each other. Also a “winner” from last year and this year, Jihane Ashmai, another cancer survivor from the KSA who has a YouTube channel, Enta Be Kheir (Arabic for “you are fine”), is now a regular contributor on the portal alongside Bin Alaya. Recently, Donya Imraa launched “Anti Al Amal” (Arabic for “you are the hope”), inviting friends and families of breast cancer survivors to also take part of the conversation and helping them cope with the struggle of their loved ones.
“We are looking at creating a real life support group. We want to escort the survivors with real help: real-time chats, nutritionists – because food regimens and cooking habits for women with breast cancer are different – and life coaching. We have registered around 60 tips by life coaches who would talk about things such as coping with someone who has breast cancer,” explains Habib. In November, the platform tackled diabetes, as “there is very little quality content in Arabic that gives advice to Arab moms who are suffering from the illness,” she adds.
In a region where women are not particularly encouraged nor open to sharing their intimate experiences and problems, Donya Imraa’s worked extensively on mitigating the risk of privacy, “always waiting for Arab women to come to us – instead of us running to them,” and providing them with a tutorial on how to keep anonymous on the portal. Under the promise of trust and confidentiality, topics on the platform have ranged from “the deepest emotional issues – such as husbands cheating, women marrying from within the family and having children with genetic problems, low self-esteem and self-confidence – to make up tips. We take all this content shared by real women and use it into tailoring the platform even more for them.”
Today, Donya Imraa’s gamification concept has been honed further, rewarding original content creation – such as recipes and tips – on a three-tiered system: Gold, Silver and Bronze. This, for Habib, translates into ample opportunities for brands to connect with and reward women. The first collaboration for Donya Imraa’ was with Tejuri last year and, this year, “L’Oreal gave us very nice hampers to give to users”. There’s a twist to the gift-giving, however, as women can now overbid each other with content under each section.