By Shaden Tubaileh
PR & Communications Coordinator
Hakini—which suggests “inform me” in Arabic—is defying social stigma and lack of understanding by serving to 1000’s of Palestinians put money into their psychological well being. The web psychological well being platform is on a mission to make psychological well being care extra accessible by offering teletherapy and steerage for self-help intervention in Arabic.
Hakini’s web site and cellular app matches customers to therapists offering confidential care and guides customers on a self-help journey supported by evidence-based workouts. The vast majority of customers are ladies and youngsters, who face a scarcity of accessible psychological well being sources. Hakini’s success is because of its help by Arab psychological well being professionals who adapt content material and providers particularly for Arab tradition.
Necessity is the mom of invention
Sondos Mleitat, the co-founder and Co-CEO of Hakini, is a full-time entrepreneur and he or she holds a bachelor’s diploma in architectural engineering from Birzeit College. With a background in funding, design considering, and venture administration, Sondos at all times had the drive to do one thing that will profit her neighborhood.
The concept of Hakini got here when Sondos personally went by way of a tough patch and located herself in want of remedy. On the time, Sondos struggled to seek out the assistance she wanted. Not solely had been providers restricted, however individuals searching for assist should additionally deal with stigma and lack of understanding concerning the significance of psychological well being and wellbeing in Palestine. Statistics present that solely 10% of the Palestinians needing care and psychological well being providers are capable of obtain it.
“Present psychological well being care suppliers are disorganized, raveled, costly, and simply plain disappointing,” says Sondos. She felt the necessity to create a well-organized, personalised, and reasonably priced psychological well being care and self-awareness resolution for Palestinians and folks from the area, and world wide.
“In the beginning of the pandemic, my co-founder Majd and I had been within the thought stage of growing Hakini. We labored manually and on a really low scale.” Sondos explains. “After we noticed the decision for the hackathon ‘Hack the Disaster Palestine’ we determined to take part.”
Psychological well being remedy needs to be accessible to everybody
‘Hack the Disaster Palestine’ was a web based occasion hosted by Gaza Sky Geeks, a joint effort of Mercy Corps and Google for Startups. Gaza Sky Geeks is the lead co-working area, startup accelerator, and expertise schooling hub in Palestine. The hackathon introduced collectively greater than 130 groups to share concepts and discover options in well being, schooling, and work life for Palestinians within the time of COVID‑19. Winners of the occasion go on to obtain help and mentorship to develop and launch their concepts.
Having a very distinctive concept that serves an precise want in Palestine, Hakini received ‘Hack the Disaster Palestine’. After their win, Hakini went on to the incubation stage on the Gaza Sky Geeks Startup Accelerator. The intensive 16-week pre-seed acceleration program helps founders construct a usable product that was examined by customers, launch their apps for the general public to make use of, and scale their person base.
After they joined the Gaza Sky Geeks Startup Accelerator in 2020, Hakini solely had an thought with out implementation. The assistance of the Gaza Sky Geeks Startup Accelerator crew opened their eyes to many elements of their enterprise, from their pitch deck to their enterprise mannequin.
“Gaza Sky Geeks Startup Accelerator, helped Hakini transfer to the following stage. They turned our thought into an actual startup and helped us transfer ahead. With out their assist and the grant that we received, and with out the steerage of our mentors and different native and worldwide supporters, Hakini wouldn’t have been capable of serve a big base of shoppers because it does immediately,” says Sondos.
Hakini now gives therapeutic help by way of one-on-one on-line classes, entry to self-help supplies, and content material about psychological well being and remedy. They help lots of of Palestinians and their content material has reached lots of of 1000’s of individuals by way of Hakini’s social media channels and web site.
Reflections on working a female-led startup
All through their journey, the Hakini crew has skilled many highs and lows, lots of that are tied to being a female-led startup in a stigmatized area reminiscent of psychological well being. Sondos has typically felt that she was not being taken significantly as a founder due to her gender, however that didn’t cease her from pursuing her purpose of offering dependable sources to anybody in want of assist to enhance their psychological well being and wellbeing.
“My crew’s dedication and religion in what we’re doing are what have made Hakini hold going. We wish to assist everybody in want of our providers,” says Sondos.