Say hello to Doha Expat Mums & Kids (DEMK)! This group unites moms from over 64 countries – Bangladesh, Ghana, Croatia, Iran, and more. Priding itself on its positive, friendly atmosphere, DEMK requires prospective members to attend one event before joining the group.
“We find that this encourages the idea of DEMK being a true local community, since it’s not something random people can join just by going online,” says Roxanne Davis, founder of the group.
DEMK has only been around for a year. How does it already have 500 members?
Roxanne tells us more.
Q: So, how did it all start?
A: When I moved to Doha, Qatar, in October 2008, there were individual playgroups here and there throughout the city, but no groups to connect the moms and help them all thrive in this challenging locale. Having been part of a fantastic moms group in Houston (Heights Kids), I decided to start one here.
Though there were many people who were interested in the group, I was also met with a surprising amount of resistance. I was told that no one would show up to the group’s events, no one would help out, etc. These comments really took me aback, and they motivated me to ensure the group was successful.
Q: What do you do to ensure success?
A: We’re extremely busy! Here in Doha, we’ve had to make our own fun. We have an average of three events per day, ranging from coffee mornings to playgroups to walks along the sea. Our group is volunteer-based, so members dive in and organize activities with the attitude of “build it and they will come.”
Our members have organized and/or given tours of the local organic farm, the wholesale market, the abaya souk, the fabric souk and the zoo.
Q: How does BigTent help your group?
Heights Kids transitioned to BigTent in early 2008 and never looked back. When it came time to start Doha Expat Mums & Kids, I didn’t even consider using other platforms — BigTent is positively the best one out there.
Q: Aw, thanks. We’re blushing now. Tell us about you. What else are you up to besides this group?
A: I am the mother of two kids, a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. Our family is on our third expatriate posting; previously we lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Melbourne, Australia. My husband works for a large oil company, which keeps us on the go every couple of years or so.
Also, I used to work as a mover and long-haul truck driver for Mayflower and United Van Lines. As such, I can drive a split shift transmission, am fully fluent in trucker lingo, and know the best truckstops for Mexican food.
Q: Now we’re hungry. What are your future goals for the group?
A: DEMK is growing very, very quickly, and it has turned into a full-time job for me and several friends. A new website which will support our own advertising is in the works.
We’re also planning to offer a discount card for sale to members, which will get them better rates at hotels, salons, restaurants, specific events, etc. It’s very exciting to see the labor of my love expand to include income opportunities!
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