Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Passion Behind Vivre Au Qatar Website

JOMANA ABU-FARAH

DOHA AMEL Saadi-Cherif and Beatrice Truyffaut, two French speaking expatriates living in Doha for eight years, have been passionately serving the French speaking community since 2007. Amel and Beatrice, took over Vivre Au Qatar Website (VAQ) after its founders left the country, and have been dedicated ever since to create a dynamic platform that fulfils the needs of the French speaking community in Qatar.

The two women, along with a small team of volunteers: Nicolas Rojanski, Marie-Hélène Elian, Stéphanie Lachenaud and Valérie Ward, have voluntarily managed the website for more than six years. VAQ has become the most visited website that caters to the French community in Qatar with 17,000 monthly visitors. It provides free tips, information, news and lists all the events happening in Qatar.

“There was simply a need for the French-speaking community to have its own network: a network that is more family-oriented that could help in settling down in a new country,” stated Amel.

“Our mission is to assist and inform the French-speaking community. When we say French speaking we do not represent a specific country, rather, we cater to a wide and diverse community that includes people from France, Belgium, Canada, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Lebanon. Our main objective is that every single French-speaking expatriate (actual or potential) will visit our website and facebook page for information in all sectors: culture, tourism, employment, health, administrative procedures and classifieds,” she further explained.

For Amel and Beatrice, passion is their driving force.

“We are passionate about this; we love to be useful to the community. We created this out of our personal struggles when we first moved to Qatar; eight years ago, information was not always available, and we found it somewhat difficult to find all the information we need, let alone connecting with the wider community,” explained Beatrice.

“This is our baby, and we have gained a tremendous social reward, we have become the main French speaking network and knowing that we are being helpful to our community keeps us going,” she added.

VAQ website works in collaboration with other French organisations in Qatar to provide its visitors with a comprehensive and updated website.

“We are working in partnership with ‘Doha Accueil’, another French speaking group where we announce their activities. Our events calendar promotes the activities organised by the French Institute and any other happening in Qatar (French, English, or Arabic),” explained Amel.

“We are more like a media network, we are always on the lookout for any upcoming events, we are on most of the media press lists and we even attend press conferences,” added Beatrice.

The women expressed their interest in expanding the services and reaching out to the wider community in Qatar.

“Qatar was admitted into the ‘International Organisation of La Francophonie’ based on its commitment to popularising the French language, and we are very interested in working with the local community to build a bridge between the expatriate and local communities and to help us grow and promote the language.” explained Amel.

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