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‘Saudi Beings’: Storytelling, sharing and learning on Instagram

Saudi entrepreneur Shahla Nazer enjoys listening to stories about people’s upbringings and how they became who they are.

“We all go through hardships and events that change us as individuals, both mentally and emotionally,” she told Arab News. “I believe that every person I cross paths with and listen to ends up inspiring me in some way, and you never know what a person has gone through to become the person they are.”
The Instagram account “Saudi Beings” is a representation of Nazer’s belief. She wants it to help people engage more with each other, enabling them to tell their own stories in order to be heard and seen at a local and international level.
“Saudi Beings” focuses on stories that made people who they are today, where each individual has their own meaning and definition of success and failure. It supports the concept that no one is alone in what they are going through because others are going through a similar hardship, Nazer explained.
“Saudi society is changing. People now want to talk about and speak up about their ideas, values and interests. ‘Saudi Beings’ serves as a medium to inspire locals within the community and help them view each other as role models and inspirational individuals.”
She said “Saudi Beings” is like a TED Talk in written form: Motivating people to open up and share their struggles, achievements, ups and downs.
It features people from different walks of life — innovators, thought leaders, creatives, doctors, entrepreneurs — but most importantly it sheds light on people whose stories have never been heard before.
One of the posts is about a woman, Asma, who became vegan while another is about a life coach called Noorah. Lian posted about her experience with depression, overcoming her health issues to complete an architecture degree in Texas, while Hashem wrote about falling in love with dance.
Posts are in Arabic or English, attracting enthusiastic responses in both languages.
Storytelling helps individuals make sense of their surroundings, said Nazer. If each person narrates their own story and learns from other people’s paths, they can they connect with each other and also with themselves.

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