With people safely ensconced at home at the moment, the Internet has become most people's primary source of entertainment. From online puppy Pilates (yes, that’s a thing) to virtual book readings, the digital world is bursting with activities to keep people busy. But as UAE residents Brad Standish and Alice Forde noticed, there was no “central directory” collating all local events. So, with Standish owning and operating a web development company and Forde being a full-time dance teacher exploring the option of online classes, they decided to launch one.
Keepbusy.ae was created with the mission "to provide the people of the UAE with a source of activities to do at home".
The platform is free for both visitors and activity providers. As Standish puts it, “there are no charges, fees or commissions and we have no plans to monetise the site at any time”.
So why was it created? As the website states “All we ask is that any providers out there search their hearts and see what they can offer people for free. Even if it’s just an introduction class or free invitation to an online event, every little bit helps. We can do our part for each other.”
How it works:
Anyone providing online activities - from meditation classes to coaching sessions - have to fill out a form on the site to be a part of it. Some of the events that are already up on the website include sessions on self-help coaching, meditation, newborn and maternity photography and sound vibration therapy. The website is currently seeking providers willing to offer a free activity, even if it is a single event.
“From our own experiences and from what we're seeing, it seems like almost everybody is being affected by Covid-19 in one way or another, and the majority of people are feeling some kind of financial strain. By focusing on offering free events, more people can try out brand new things from their homes and even potentially discover a new passion or hobby,” explains Standish.
Providers benefit because keepbusy.ae works as a free advertising platform, increasing brand awareness and offering it access to a larger audience.
Meanwhile, beyond learning new skills, the website was created with the goal of helping people socialise while under self-isolation.
“A lot of people are looking at weeks or even months alone in their homes. This offers them a chance to join in with some online classes, events or activities,” says Standish.
“One of the key principles of the website is to support the #stayathome initiative. We believe that if everybody does their part, the long-term effects of Covid-19 will be mitigated much faster and we can all help the UAE recover. If the activities can help keep more people at home while still being productive, then we would consider that as a pretty big win for not only us but the whole country,” he adds.