Become a digital freelancer


Maharah is a program to train Emiratis with digitally marketable skills to freelance those skills online. Maharah can be a path to self-employment from home, extra income, or an opportunity to build a portfolio to use in finding a traditional job.  Participants are taught the necessary freelancing skills, and coached to create an online presence, bid on jobs, communicate with clients, and close sales.

Maharah is taught for 3 months through online workshops. Each workshop is supported by interactive exercises, case studies, and assignments. The program currently has five areas of specialization, digital marketing, graphic design, web design, video editing and virtual assistant. Each candidate must choose one area to specialize in for freelancing.

One of the key features of the program is the hands-on experience of creating a digital presence on a freelance site. Candidates will learn how to set up a professional profile, display their skills and experience, and navigate the bidding process to secure clients and projects. The program provides access to a range of freelance sites and marketplaces, so candidates can choose the platform that best suits them.

Each participant is assigned a coach who provides guidance and feedback throughout the learning journey. The coach is an experienced freelancer who understands the challenges and opportunities of the digital market and can offer valuable insights and advice to candidates.

Throughout the program, participants will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills by bidding on real projects and working with clients. This practical experience is an essential component of the program as it allows candidates to build their portfolio, sharpen their skills, and develop confidence as freelancers.

Overall, Maharah Program is an excellent choice for any Emirati looking to build a successful career as a digital freelancer. It provides a comprehensive and practical learning experience, supported by a coach, and equips candidates with the tools, skills, and experience needed to thrive in the digital market.

Purpose - Why does Sandooq Al Watan do this?

To provide non-traditional income earning opportunities for Emiratis with digitally marketable skills.  The program taps into an underutilized and valuable talent pool, unemployed higher-education graduates, by providing access to the world of digital freelancing. The program is particularly attractive for Emiratis living in remote areas, mothers, and people of determination. 

Benefits of Participating
  1. Become a digital freelancer
  2. Work from home
  3. Earn income
  4. Build your portfolio
  5. Join a growing economic sector
Maharah Technical skills specializations (choose one)
  1. Website Designing
  2. Digital Marketing
  3. Graphics Designing
  4. Video editing
  5. Virtual Assistant
Maharah soft skills learning path
  1. Problem Solving
  2. Creative Thinking
  3. Communication
  4. Success Mindset
  5. Effectiveness and Efficiency

A pilot program for 80 Emiratis began in December 2022 and is currently underway. A second cohort of 100 will commence in September. Applications are open year-round.

12 weeks study

8 weeks online setup

Bidding on Jobs

Traits we are looking for
  1. Interested in digital freelancing.
  2. Willingness to learn and put in the work.
  3. Strong English language skills.
  1. Emirati National  
  2. Desire to freelance.
  3. Have your own computer and internet connection.
  4. Good understanding of English.
  5. Have completed higher education.
How to Apply
  1. Applications are open throughout the year.
  2. The program begins in February and October.
  3. Applicants fill out an initial interest form.
  4. Selected applicants will be asked to take a remote test to show their skills
  5. Following the test, selected applicants are invited to a final interview.
  6. Successful applicants are invited to join the program.

Maharah Program Application

If you are interested in joining the next cohort, you can register your interest by filling out the form below.  An email will be sent to you in either August or December reminding you of your interest and will include an application link.  The program is run by Sandooq Al Watan’s delivery partner, the 5’th Element. They will receive your application and guide you through the process.

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Summer Program

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