Children fight stigma through art on World Autism Day

Updated 01 May 2013
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Children fight stigma through art on World Autism Day

World Autism Day was marked with artwork by autistic children at the Arabian Wings Gallery on Monday. The exhibition was organized by the Saudi Autism Society and Arabian Wings with the aim of spreading awareness on autism while at the same time bringing autistic children to the forefront of society to eradicate stigmas associated with the disability.
A number of guests and prominent personalities, including Saud A. Al-Sheikhi, general manager at the Ministry of Culture and Information's Makkah Branch, Ali Nazar, a famous Saudi artist and Faisal Laban, a folk singer, visited the exhibition.
The artists not only supported the cause but also put their paintings up for sale to help the charity.
“The paintings done by children and painters are both on sale and whatever money will be made will go towards helping autistic children. This is our main mission; it is our social responsibility towards our nation, country and society,” said Najla Felemban, founder of Arabian Wings.
Almost 30 pieces of artwork by children themselves were on display. The organizer from the charitable organization said that they did it to let the children feel normal and give them a chance to come close to normal children and society.
“Under the patronage of Hala Al-Talhi and Sama Al-Sayed, the Saudi Autism Society organized a workshop for children, where they made their paintings themselves and participated, marking a difference in World Autism Day, which was an excellent idea,” Felemban added.
Badar Mohammed Abdu also said that he is very honored to participate in this exhibition. He also emphasized on the awareness of autism and helping children and parents who are suffering with this problem.
“Such awareness and initiatives are the responsibility of all Saudi youth and others, as it is our social responsibility towards our nation and country,” said Badar Mohammed Abdu, son of prominent Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu.
The mission of Arabian Wings is to provide an artistic environment fostering determination, encouraging artists, developing the different fields of fine arts and fostering concentration and integration amongst artists, investors and society at large, added Felmeban.
“Arabian Wings is planning to participate in this day every year as part of their social responsibility,” she added.


Taj Mahal ticket price hiked fivefold for Indians

Updated 10 December 2018
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Taj Mahal ticket price hiked fivefold for Indians

  • An all-inclusive ticket for Indian citizens was raised from 50 rupees ($0.70) to 250 rupees
  • The latest move comes only months after Indian authorities restricted the number of tourists to 40,000 per day

NEW DELHI: Authorities have hiked fivefold ticket prices for Indian visitors to the Taj Mahal, in the latest attempt to lower tourist numbers and reduce damage at the country’s top tourist site.
Indians make up the majority of the Taj Mahal’s 10,000-15,000 average daily visitors. Nearly 6.5 million people marvelled at the white marble 17th-century masterpiece in 2016.
An all-inclusive ticket for Indian citizens including entry into the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, was raised from 50 rupees ($0.70) to 250 rupees.
International tourists will pay roughly $19 to enter the UNESCO World Heritage complex in northern India, up from $16.
“We want people to pay more to limit the footfall,” an official from the Archaeological Survey of India, the government body responsible for upkeep, told AFP.
“This will cut down the number of visitors to the mausoleum by at least 15-20 percent and generate revenue for its conservation,” the official said.
The latest move comes only months after Indian authorities restricted the number of tourists to 40,000 per day. Previously up to 70,000 people would throng the site at weekends.
Experts say the huge flow of people is causing irreversible damage to the marble floor, walls and foundations.
Officials have also struggled to stop the white marble from turning yellow as pollution levels rise in the northern city of Agra.
Further damage is being caused by excrement by insects from the noxious adjacent Yamuna river, one of India’s most polluted waterways.
In July, India’s Supreme Court threatened to either shut or tear down the monument over the failure of the authorities to protect it from degradation.
The court asked the Indian authorities to consult international experts to speed up the conservation efforts.