It is within the next few weeks that we will be not necessarily celebrating but coming to the realisation that we have been in lockdown (on and off) for a year now. Throughout that time, there have been many struggles for many people, but this hasn’t stopped some going the extra mile and achieving something.
Take Nour Arqub, for example. As a final year law student, Nour was already occupied with work and deadlines and dealing with being a student in a global pandemic. However, back in August 2020, Nour came up with the brilliant idea to bring together people from conflicted countries on Clubhouse – a new type of social network that enables people around the world to “come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time.”
Nour said: “The idea first came to me when the events of the Beirut port explosion happened back in August.
“It was such a shock and hit very close to home given I also had friends who had their own friends and family in Lebanon.”
“The event also put into perspective how, beyond the politics and the mainstream media’s portrayal (or lack of) of events, it doesn’t incorporate the voice of the people and the impact of events, politics, wars and conflicts on them.”
At first, Nour found it difficult to launch the idea, so it was delayed because she didn’t feel that Instagram and YouTube would be appropriate. For it to be popular on these social media platforms, she would have to put more time into a marketing and engagement strategy.
Then, Clubhouse was launched, and within a month of being on it, simply from speaking in certain rooms on the platform, Nour was able to connect with likeminded individuals.
Nour added: “I’m really happy to say that since I launched VOX on Clubhouse – we now have almost 300 members.
“They will be notified of an event (room) that I host with any individual I have arranged to speak with on their experiences and history.
“As members, they can also get involved in the discussion and are able to see other members and network amongst themselves, creating a more unified and open space.”
Within each room, it will be hosted from a minimum of an hour, up to a maximum of two hours and the aim of them is to have two participants alongside Nour, where one talks about their personal experience whilst the other is the “informative source”, giving listeners facts and history.
When asked about Nour’s main aim for her initiative, she said: “I really want to have this space to act as a refuge for those whose voices have been dimmed, silenced or forgotten and as space for a global community to get to know and understand each other’s struggles.”
In terms of the future, Nour hopes to take this beyond Clubhouse and even social media and make this its own platform with its own household name.
Nour adds: “I hope to be able to travel so that it’s not just a voice, but it’s a face too.”