Migrant work force playing vital role

Updated 04 February 2014
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Migrant work force playing vital role

Today we are celebrating the 66th anniversary of independence of our country with vigor and glory, and I am proud to convey my warmest greetings to the Sri Lankan expatriate community who are residing, staying and working in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
Independence is enjoying freedom of life, speech and faith and being economically free.
All countries gain their independence for this purpose. Thus, we celebrate independence every year, in order to remember our war heroes who sacrificed their lives in the struggle to gain our freedom and to be reminded that we are enjoying the freedom obtained.
With the renewed freedom, our country is forging ahead with development schemes, creating great opportunities for investment sector.
The Sri Lankan migrant community can play a pivotal role in the development of Sri Lanka’s infrastructure and economy.
Sri Lanka has gradually increased the amount of visiting tourists during the past years, especially those from Saudi Arabia.
As we all know, our motherland is known as the pearl of Indian Ocean and the paradise island on the earth — an island with extra ordinary beauty, valuable culture and proud history.
Hence I take this opportunity to urge the Sri Lankan community in the western region to continue their efforts in promoting this beautiful image of our country to the Arab world and to contribute to the nation in promoting our tourism and attracting foreign investments from this region.
The migrant workers, who already contribute to national development with foreign exchange from foreign employment, have become the number one foreign exchange earners for the country during the past years.
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Jeddah provides consular and welfare services to the Sri Lankan community in this region and also conducts visits to all major cities in the region on a regular basis for this purpose.
At this juncture, I wish to recall the slogan declared by the government of Sri Lanka last year “Let us make the expectations of general public ensuring an excellent public service delivery” and continued for this year.
I kindly invite my fellow Sri Lankans to join hands, bury our differences, be united as Sri Lankans and strive fourth to ensure excellent public service delivery.
I would also like to mention the huge goal achieved by this Consulate General during the six-month general amnesty period announced by the government of Saudi Arabia last year.
Our consulate general, with the dedication and hard work of the consulate staff and excellent cooperation from the state authorities, was able to repatriate 13,000 Sri Lankans who had violated visa laws. This earned us appreciation from both the Government of Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the government of Saudi Arabia for the excellent bilateral relationship existing between our countries at all levels.
I also wish to thank the Sri Lankan expatriate community and the Sri Lankan International School for their invaluable support to the consulate general’s activities.
Let us all celebrate this day proudly and value our nation by staying united contributing to the economy and development of our motherland in every possible way.

Dr. A. Uthumalebbe
Consul General,
Consulate General of
Sri Lanka,
Jeddah

As we all know, our motherland is known as the pearl of Indian Ocean and the paradise island on the earth — an island with extra ordinary beauty, valuable culture and proud history.
Hence I take this opportunity to urge the Sri Lankan community in the western region to continue their efforts in promoting this beautiful image of our country to the Arab world and to contribute to the nation in promoting our tourism and attracting foreign investments from this region.
The migrant workers, who already contribute to national development with foreign exchange from foreign employment, have become the number one foreign exchange earners for the country during the past years.
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Jeddah provides consular and welfare services to the Sri Lankan community in this region and also conducts visits to all major cities in the region on a regular basis for this purpose.
At this juncture, I wish to recall the slogan declared by the government of Sri Lanka last year “Let us make the expectations of general public ensuring an excellent public service delivery” and continued for this year.
I kindly invite my fellow Sri Lankans to join hands, bury our differences, be united as Sri Lankans and strive fourth to ensure excellent public service delivery.
I would also like to mention the huge goal achieved by this Consulate General during the six-month general amnesty period announced by the government of Saudi Arabia last year.
Our consulate general, with the dedication and hard work of the consulate staff and excellent cooperation from the state authorities, was able to repatriate 13,000 Sri Lankans who had violated visa laws. This earned us appreciation from both the Government of Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the government of Saudi Arabia for the excellent bilateral relationship existing between our countries at all levels.
I also wish to thank the Sri Lankan expatriate community and the Sri Lankan International School for their invaluable support to the consulate general’s activities.
Let us all celebrate this day proudly and value our nation by staying united contributing to the economy and development of our motherland in every possible way.

Dr. A. Uthumalebbe
Consul General,
Consulate General of Sri Lanka,
Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

Updated 24 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

  • They start their engines and hit the roads throughout the Kingdom
  • End of driving ban is crowning achievement so far of Saudi Vision 2030

Women throughout Saudi Arabia waited for the stroke of midnight, turned the keys in the ignition, fired up their engines — and hit the road to a bright new future.

It was the moment they had waited for since King Salman issued the royal decree on September 26, 2017, to lift the driving ban on women. 

Just after midnight on Saturday and in the first minutes of Sunday, Samah Algosaibi grabbed the keys to her family’s 1959 Corvette C1 and drove out of the driveway of her beach house in Khobar.
“We are witnessing history in the making as we look toward the dawn of a promising future,” said Algosaibi, the first female board member of Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros.

“As a businesswoman in Saudi Arabia, I am grateful for the women’s empowerment movement taking place. Today, I am honored to be sitting behind the wheel of change.”

Another woman to hit the road after midnight was Lina Almaeena, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “It feels very liberating,” she said about driving her mother’s Lexus.
Almaeena, also the co-founder and director of Jeddah United Sports Co, had exchanged her UAE license for a Saudi one. 

“I am thrilled!” Sarah Alwassia, 35, a nutritionist in Jeddah, told Arab News. “I learnt how to drive 18 years ago in the States where I got my driving license. I can’t believe that the day to drive in my own home town has come.”

Alwassia obtained her first American license when she was 18 years old in 2000, and had it exchanged for a Saudi license on June 6 in Jeddah. She explained that she is a mother, and this change provided comfort for her and her family. It also comes with various benefits, such as taking quick action in emergencies, and economic benefits such as saving money instead of paying for a driver when she needs to run errands. 

“I will be driving my kids to school and picking them up in comfort and privacy,” she said.

Women in the Kingdom commented on how this event is changing the course of their lives. “Independence is a huge thing for me,” Alwassia said. “Driving is one small part of it. I am very optimistic of the change that our loving country has made.”  

Alwassia applauds the efforts the country has made to support women. “I am confident that driving in the beginning will be pleasant, since our country has made all of the effort to support women and to protect them.
“I think our society was looking forward for this change, and I am sure the majority will adapt fast.

“I feel safe, our country did everything to make this transition pleasant and safe for every woman behind the wheel. I am really thankful to witness this historic moment and I am so happy for all the women in Saudi Arabia, especially my daughters.”
Sahar Nasief, 64, a retired lecturer from the European languages and Literature Department at King Abdulaziz University, said: “Nothing could describe my feelings. I can't wait to get on the road.”
Nasief received a very special gift from Ford for this occasion.

“They gave me a 2018 Expedition to drive for three days, a Mustang California Special,” she told Arab News.

Nasief obtained her Saudi license on June 7. She also holds a British license and two American licenses. “Now, I have my national license too,” she said. 

She also said the lifting of the ban provided a sense of relief. “I feel that I can practice one of my rights, and I don't have to live at the mercy of my driver any more.”
Society has been demanding such a change for years, “as it will take the physical and economic burden off most men.”
Pointing to the anti-harassment law, Nasief said: “I feel very confident especially after announcing the strict harassment law.”
Joumana Mattar, 36, a Jordanian interior designer, exchanged her Jordanian driver’s license and obtained a Saudi one on June 11. 

“I had my Jordanian license since I was 18 years old, and the moment I heard about the opening of exchanging foreign licenses, I immediately booked an appointment,” she said.
Mattar said she looks forward to the change in so many ways. “I'm finally in control of my time, schedule and privacy.” 

Mattar said she is both confident and anxious about the event. “I'm anxious only for feeling that I'm part of a huge first step for women driving in the Kingdom, but I'm confident also because of the support that I'm getting from my husband and family.
“Every first step is the hardest. Society is facing a huge change, but I'm positive because this change is done and supported by the government and Vision 2030.”

Mattar said she feels secure now. “I'm in control of any case I'm facing.”

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