Feeling low or lost your way in Doha as an expat woman? The Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group could be the solution.
A few weeks or months ago you may well have left behind all your friends and supportive family to start a new life in Qatar. This may be leaving you feeling rather overwhelmed and stressed by the many new challenges that have to be faced as an expat in the city. If you are a woman and feeling lonely or isolated in the city, Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group could be of help to you.
The history of the organisation
Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group was founded in 2014 by Carole Astin, who settled into a small compound in Al Gharafa. Like all of us, Carole found the whole experience of moving to Doha and living in a new country totally alien. Her husband adapted quickly, but Carole was left feeling unoccupied, lonely and very isolated. After a few months of feeling really sad and meeting very few people, causing great anxiety, she thought that there must be many more women in the same situation as herself and decided to start a support group. Carole set up a new Facebook page calling out to expat women to make new friends, and was soon joined by a number of women – some had been in Qatar for a number of years and others new to Qatar. A venue for the support group was found at Garvey’s European Club. On the 10th November, 2014, the inaugural meeting was held and was very well attended. ‘This project has now become my passion, and I truly believe in everything I and the rest of the amazing team do,’ says Astin.
Stages to the group
The Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group has three main initiatives that women can access. The first is a weekly drop in centre at Garvey’s European Club, Al Areen Gardens, just off the Salwa Road in Al Aziziyah. Women of all nationalities are welcome to come along every Monday from 10.00am-midday, where they can talk to other women in the same situation as themselves and are supported by a group of caring women who are there to provide tips and hints, as well as advice and help, in settling into Qatar. It is a calm, quiet place to have a chat and make friends.
The second is known as Buddies. A buddy will be a lady who has lived in Qatar for a number of years and has a wealth of experience of expat life and of living in Qatar to share with newly arrived women. All buddies have been registered by the buddy co-ordinator and operate a charter of best practice. Each buddy is assigned someone to take under her wing for a minimum of three hours per week for a total of six weeks, although this may be longer if requested and agreeable by both parties. During this time, the buddy and her new acquaintance meet up and explore the many places of interest in and around Doha, and help them to settle in their new home.
The third initiative are the events. The support group organises a number of events each month, designed to introduce you to places of interest such as a trip into the desert, a visit to the souq, museums, theatres and art galleries. There are also fun nights out such as to Reggae on the Beach, Trader Vic’s and La Cigale, bowling, a visit to the organic farm and Friday brunch, among many others.
Aims of the group
The aims of these initiatives are to help new recruits foster new friendships and lift morale, to give them a feel of belonging, focus, and a whole new exciting purpose. People can also ask questions about how to go about sorting out the various challenges facing them as all of the members experienced the same feelings and situations and, more importantly, resolved them. You’re not alone, so you don’t need to feel that way.
If you feel that Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group is something that you would benefit from, then you can either come along to the drop in centre at Garvey’s European Club in Al Aziziyah on Monday mornings or, if you would like the support of a dedicated buddy, then email the buddy co-ordinator on qatsup2014@outAslook.com with details of your name, age, your background, any children and your main interests/hobbies and she will try to match you with someone with a similar outlook. For details of the events, you can join the support group’s Facebook page at Qatar Expat Women’s Positive Support Group.