Wednesday June 24, 2020
Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder and CEO of Rahet Bally received the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, announced virtually on June 16th, on both the Cartier and the Cartier Women’s Initiative’s websites and social media channels. The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an international business competition designed to support social impact-driven businesses led and owned by female entrepreneurs.
Rahet Bally, is an all-inclusive platform to support Egyptian mothers financially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually, both online and in person. The award recognizes it as “The Most Impactful” women-led business in the MENA region; making a positive change in the world by promoting good health and well-being, reducing inequalities and building sustainable communities.
Nadia is one among seven winners from around the world and the only winner from the MENA region. She was selected by an independent international jury committee amongst thousands of applicants from over 162 countries.
The Story of Rahet Bally
Right after Nadia gave birth, she experienced feelings of isolation and near panic. “I was so lost! None of my friends had babies yet. I’m an only child and my mom couldn’t remember anything. I recall saying to myself, ‘What on earth am I going to do with this baby?’”
Nadia’s experience is all too common, not only in Egypt, but around the world. New mothers need a tremendous amount of support as they heal from giving birth and learn to care for a new baby. This intense physical, psychological, emotional, and mental transformation comes with urgent questions, and the isolation of new motherhood can have serious consequences. Up to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum or perinatal depression, which diminishes their ability to cope with the responsibilities of motherhood.
Bringing Peace to Egyptian Mothers
Nadia worked at P&G as a brand manager before she became a mother at 24. Although this is a common age for first births in Egypt, her friends did not yet have children and were focused on work, leaving her with no peer support. Surprisingly, she found no community groups or online resources for new moms. “I decided that I needed to put an end to this situation,” she says. “My ultimate mission is that I want every single mother in Egypt to find peace of mind.”
Her company, Rahet Bally—which translates to “peace of mind” in Arabic—was born in August 2014, not long after her son. “I started a Facebook group right then,” she says. She invited professionals, including psychologists, nutritionists, and pediatricians, to answer hashtagged questions. A mom could ask, “My child has a fever, what should I do? #pediatrician,” and receive an answer immediately. More than 100 professionals and 3,000 moms were using the platform within a month.
As of early 2020, more than 150,000 women in Egypt have been connected to Rahet Bally’s services, which encompass financial, physical, intellectual, and social support. The Rahet Bally discount card helps offset the costs of essential baby items such as clothes, diapers, and healthcare, which can be prohibitive. For physical support, the company offers fitness and nutrition programs in three Cairo- based facilities. And the online community provides the information women need to become confident mothers. “Moms need a lot of knowledge, from conception through when their kids are teenagers. We offer the first and only information platform in Arabic and English in Egypt,” Nadia says.
Rahet Bally Supports All Mothers—and its Employees
The company began with a focus on serving wealthy mothers but recently acquired the Ana 7amel ( I Am Pregnant) platform and now serves low income pregnant women and mothers as well. Beyond reaching more than 150,000 women through one of its four pillars of support, the company employs an all-female staff. This is unusual in Egypt, where it is hard to find women accountants and technicians. “We have almost 100 women working full time in the company divided between our headquarters and our other locations,” Nadia says. The company is mother-friendly, too. Employees can work from home any time and take advantage of flexible maternity leave, making it possible for mothers to get a decent job with a market- competitive salary.
Beyond Support to Empowerment
In March of 2019, Rahet Bally launched its first Cloud space, for which Nadia applied for a patent. The Cloud or the Moms Hub, is a minimalistic and modern designed complex for mothers looking to disconnect and relax from their busy schedule. Mothers can rest in napping pods, conduct business in work pods, attend workshops, socialize, and join book clubs while vetted babysitters care for their children. “It’s beautiful,” Nadia says. “Moms start crying when they come in because it’s the first time anyone is taking care of them. They can have a shower. They can drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot. It’s a place where they can actually breathe again.”Soon, she says, “it will be available to franchise all over the world to support the backbone of society, women.”
The company’s goal is to empower mothers by improving health and wellbeing. But on a deeper level, it’s about providing the peace Nadia felt she so desperately lacked after she gave birth. “A mother’s needs are massive and we are just scratching the surface. I’d love to have the Cloud in every district, to have a hundred workshops a day, and to expand outside Cairo to the rest of the MENA region.”