Festival of productive families opens

Updated 01 August 2013
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Festival of productive families opens

A four-day Productive Families Festival was inaugurated by Princess Anoud bint Abduallh on Tuesday at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah. The festival witnessed the participation of 600 productive families and attracted 3,000 visitors on the first day, including prominent businesswomen, dignitaries and distinguished guests.
Organized by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s social responsibility department, the festival showcases a number of national products, such as clothing, shoes, bags, perfumes, traditional handicrafts and food, decorative items and jewelry.
Aisha Natto, member of the JCCI board, described the festival “As an excellent platform to display Saudi products.”
Commending the role of the festival in helping Saudi families boost their products in the market and be a part of the national economy, she added, “Today’s crowd is evidence of the festival’s success. This festival would not have been possible without the support and help of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed.”
Explaining the main reason behind organizing the festival, Natto said: “We want to provide all possible encouragement to these members in their endeavor to continue producing and selling their products.
“Productive families contribute to the development of the economy and community and provide support to cottage industries, thereby fighting unemployment through rehabilitating young people and equipping them with skills.”
Another Saudi businesswomen Nila Atar said the festival would open the doors for and boost the production of traditional products.
“The participation of almost 600 families from various regions in the Kingdom serves to support cottage industries and improves the financial situation of productive families. It also showcases the beauty of the Kingdom’s traditional work under one roof,” she said.
Seba Nazir, who introduced crochet and cross stitch handmade products in the festival, told Arab News that she and her friends were showcasing the project to present their work to other Saudi women.
“We are very pleased that we got a chance and opportunity to showcase products made by Saudi ladies as this will stimulate cultural exchange and allow handicraft items a place in the market,” she added.
Many visitors expressed their admiration of the products displayed.
“This is an excellent initiative as it allows people to appreciate our local traditional products. We are proud of the work produced by these Saudi women; there is so much talent in our country that needs to be highlighted,” said Nashwa Jamil. The Productive Families Festival is open to visitors from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The first night was for women only, while the last three days are open to families.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”