Browsing 'Life' News

Khadija Dawn Carryl/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only

After losing her cousin to cancer last year, Qatar resident Nazma Mazhar wanted to find a way to help people battling the illness.

So the self-taught henna designer is now offering a free service to decorate the heads of women who have lost their hair to chemotherapy.

Mazhar has been free-hand painting intricate Indian and Arabic designs on women’s bodies for the last decade. But this was only usually to mark moments of celebration such as Eids or weddings.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, her cousin’s death inspired her to want to do more for others in pain.

“I want to help make them feel special because they are suffering from cancer,” the 23-year-old told Doha News.

She added:

“I had thought about doing this two or three years ago but hadn’t got around to it. Then one of my cousins got cancer, and she passed away last year. After that I decided to help people.”

‘Good medicine’

After moving to Qatar from Sri Lanka in March this year, the trained primary teacher set up her own business – Qatari Henna Studio – while she looks for teaching work.


Henna artist Nazma Mazhar

She recently kick-started her search for potentially interested clients on popular Facebook page When, Where & How in Doha.

Describing the process, Mazhar said the henna pattern would be gently applied to the scalp of the person who may have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy.

This can be a traumatic time, particularly for women who often cover their heads with scarves or wigs.

Instead, Mazhar is seeking to transform the patient’s head into a thing of beauty.

Nazma Mazhar

Henna designs

“We can also do the designs on the hands, arms, feet or anywhere on the body the lady would like. Henna has cooling power, it is a good medicine,” Mazhar added.

She added that she will speak to the Qatar Cancer Society to identify women with the illness who might be interested in the initiative.

Similar projects have been undertaken in countries across the world.

The idea gained widespread appeal about a decade ago after a studio in San Francisco began applying henna to scalps to boost the confidence of cancer patients and those with alopecia (hair loss).

Raising awareness

In recent years, Qatar has launched many public awareness programs for some of its more prevalent cancers, particularly breast and bowel cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Qatar among women, accounting for a third of all cancer cases in this demographic.

Jen Goellnitz/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, survival rates are high if the cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

The Primary Health Care Corporation’s Screen for Life campaign offers mammograms to all women aged 45-69 years, and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health advises women to have mammograms every three years to aid early detection and treatment.

You can contact Nazma Mazhar through her Facebook or Instagram pages, call her on 7047 6495, or email her at [email protected]


Norvil & Josephine

Swallowing needle act

From a magic show to the reopening of the MIA Park Bazaar to an exhibition of German design and a pro-swimming competition, there’s lots going on around town this weekend.

Here are our picks:

Illusions and shadow dancing

Magic, illusions, acrobatics, singing and shadows will all feature in performances with variety act Norvil & Josephine and World of Shadows at the QNCC on Oct. 6 and 7.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Highlights of the Norbert & Josephine performance include a flying table scene and contortions. Then, dancers will tell stories through shadows as their bodies become animals, cars and castles, in World of Shadows.

Shows are from 6pm until 8pm at the Al Mayassa theater in QNCC. Tickets cost from QR99 for silver to QR499 for diamond seats and can be bought through Virgin, online or in-store. Children over 6 years old are welcome.

German art

To mark the Qatar-Germany 2017 Year of Culture, two major exhibitions showcasing modern German art and design opened this week at Al Riwaq gallery and at Doha Fire Station.

Al Riwaq, which is near the Museum of Islamic Art, is hosting the Driven by German Design show with more than 400 objects, some of which are on public display for the first time.

Design concepts and pieces will be on show, representing architecture, graphic design, product design, fashion, furniture and car design by more than 30 German designers from 1945 to present day.

Among the highlights will be iconic cars including the Porsche 911 Turbo, Volkswagen Golf and Käfer.

In addition, there will be workshops and education activities.

Meanwhile, at the Doha Fire Station, more than 100 works by 27 of Germany’s most significant contemporary artists will be on display in German Encounters: contemporary masterworks from the Deutsche Bank Collection.

Doha News

German Encounters, at Doha Fire Station

The art, which will be on display in the region for the first time, includes pieces by Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter’s Capitalist Realism paintings.

Al Riwaq and the Doha Fire Station are open Saturday to Thursday, from 9am until 7pm, and Friday from 1:30pm until 7pm. Entry is free. German Designs runs until Jan. 14, 2018, while German Encounters is on until Jan. 20, 2018.

FINA swimming

Some of the world’s best swimmers will compete in the Qatar leg of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup on Oct. 4 and 5.


FINA swimming championships

This year, 12 swimmers will be competing for Qatar, including Olympic competitor Nada Arakji.

They will be taking part alongside more than 150 athletes from around the world, including South African multi-Olympic medalist Chad Le Clos. The event is being held at Hamad Aquatic Center near Villaggio Mall.

Sessions run from 10am to noon, and then from 6pm to 9pm. Standard tickets for each session are QR10/child and QR20/adult, while VIP tickets are QR50/100 and can be bought online through Q-Tickets, here.

MIA Park bazaar

The popular bazaar at MIA Park returns for a new season this weekend, with even more talented people selling cooked and baked treats as well as handicrafts, artwork and more.


MIA Park Bazaar

There will be a total of 250 stalls this year, 80 more than last year.

According to the MIA’s Facebook page, it opens on Friday, Oct. 6 from 2pm to 10pm, and Oct. 7 from noon to 8pm. Entry is free.

PAWS volunteer day

PAWS animal rescue shelter is hosting an orientation day to explain more  to potential new volunteers about the work it does for stray and abandoned animals in Qatar.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The event, on Oct. 7, is open to all who are interested in giving some time to help furry friends in need.

The meet-up will be at 9am at Hyatt Plaza. Volunteers will then drive to the shelter, which is about 30 minutes away. Car pooling is possible. Pre-registration is required. To do this, and find out more, see here.

Classical concert

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra will perform works from Austrian composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anton Bruckner at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) on Thursday.


Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra

The concert will feature Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 in C major and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E flat major.

The show starts at 7:30pm. It is suitable for children 6 years and over. Tickets cost from QR125 to QR175 and can be bought online here.

Prize grab

Qatar’s largest confetti dome is opening at Doha Festival City, giving visitors the chance to nab one of 1,000 prizes such as toys, restaurant vouchers or movie tickets if they catch a winning piece of paper.

Customers need to show a receipt worth QR200 or more from a store in the mall to enter the dome, which stands more than 6m high.

Doha Festival City

Family entertainment

The confetti dome is at the center court on the ground floor. It will be open from Oct. 5 to 14, daily from 3pm until 9pm. Children 5 years and over can enter.

Diversity festival

It’s that time of year again for Katara’s Cultural Diversity Festival, which will be held every Wednesday.

A Qatari folkloric group will open the event tonight at 7:30pm at the Amphitheatre, followed by a Palestinian folkloric show from 8:45pm to 9:30pm.

According to the Gulf Times, other countries that will be featured during the festivals include Lebanon, Algeria, Ethiopia, Togo, South Africa, China, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Chechnya, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the UK, Mexico, and Brazil.

What are your plans for the weekend? Thoughts?

Fanillacouture / Jerome Elizaga

Nawaal Akram

Qatar-born 18-year-old Nawaal Akram has been included in the BBC’s list of the world’s most inspirational women.

The Pakistani expat is one of only three women from the Middle East region to make the BBC 100 Women 2017 list.

Diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as a child, Akram has worked to battle discrimination and societal stereotypes toward disability in Qatar.

Despite being denied a secondary school education, she is now a comedian and a model.

She is also the founder of a regional support group, Muscular Dystrophy Middle East.

Inspiring line-up

Akram was nominated to the list by a journalist from the BBC Urdu service, who had interviewed her recently.

Maria Ovsyannikova

Nawaal Akram

After being told she was a finalist, Akram said she “honestly thought” she would not make the final cut.

“The day before the final list came out I couldn’t sleep,” she told Doha News. “But in the morning I got a phone call saying, congratulations, you made it. It was a shock.”

Akram said that she was “particularly amazed” to be on the list because it featured so many accomplished people.

The list includes data scientists, Olympic athletes and many other leaders, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She is the first elected female head of state in Africa.

“Seeing myself in the same list as these amazing women who have changed lives and changed history – it is a big moment as me. You know, with me not having an education – it shows I can make a change, I cannot let my past define me,” she said.

Changing perceptions of disability

Now regarded as a social media influencer in Qatar, Akram is seeking to use her following to help change attitudes toward disability in the country – especially schools.

“I hope that in the future, more educational places around Qatar and in the wider region will start giving people with disabilities more chances. They have a right to an education,” she said.

One of her projects is a new YouTube channel on which she plans to showcase restaurants, beauty salons and other venues in Qatar that are accessible to disabled people and their families and friends.

“I do a lot of things that people don’t consider normal for me to be doing. I am really hoping that people will watch them and be inspired by it,” she said.

She is also working with photographer Maria Ovsyannikova and make-up artist Debi Mendez on the Nawarti Dreams project, which aims to show disability through conceptual photography.

What can you see …? #arabart #disability #society #art #fineart #photography #doha #qatar

A post shared by Nawarti_dreams (@nawarti_dreams) on

“It is showcasing strength and beauty and showing that disability is in the culture, and that it is everywhere,” Akram said.

If you have Muscular Dystrophy and would like to join Muscular Dystrophy Middle East, you can fill in a form to do so here.