Colombo provides home to distressed Saudi expat

Updated 17 March 2014
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Colombo provides home to distressed Saudi expat

The Sri Lankan government has decided to help a distressed Sri Lankan worker by providing him a Rs500,000 house in his home country.
Twenty-nine-year-old Ruwan Chamara Herath lost his leg in an accident while driving his sponsor's vehicle in the Kingdom.
“Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera agreed to provide Herath with a house back home,” Kifaya Ifthikar, a Riyadh-based social worker who was tending to Herath’s case, told Arab News on Saturday.
Ifthikar, who met Perera during her recent visit to the island, said the minister was very sympathetic toward his plight.
Herath left the Kingdom with a cash compensation of SR25,000 upon intervention by the Sri Lankan Consulate, as the sponsor, according to Herath, wanted to forcibly repatriate him against his will without giving him proper compensation. “The SR5,000 that the sponsor had promised me is worth my 3 months’ wages and allowances,” he said.
A senior official from the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah said the mission raised the compensation sum to SR25,000 with the sponsor.
“We are happy that we worked out a reasonable compensation upon mutual agreement between the sponsor and the employee,” he said.


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.”