Keep an eye on maids, police tell sponsors

Updated 27 June 2014
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Keep an eye on maids, police tell sponsors

Nawaf Al-Bouk, Jeddah police spokesman, announced Wednesday that the police in coordination with the Passport Department recently apprehended more than 50 domestic workers who had run away from their sponsors in lure of better salaries in upcoming Ramadan.
He told Arab News that the incidence of maids and household workers running away from their sponsors’ homes typically increases before Ramadan due to the increased demand by housewives for such workers to carry out household chores during the holy month. Reports indicate that salaries of domestic helps can increase to more than SR2,000 for the month, he said.
Al-Bouk advised sponsors to avoid tempting household workers to leave by giving them a cell phone of their own to use throughout the day or allowing them to go out into the street alone to avoid the possibility of someone trying to contact them.
A number of cities including Jeddah have recorded instances of maids escaping their sponsors’ homes before Ramadan. Reports say that organized gangs are involved in smuggling these maids to larger cities where they can find work for better salaries. The phenomenon has been growing despite the Labor Ministry’s regulations which stipulate a prison sentence and a fine for any household that employs a maid who has escaped from her sponsor.
Wajdy Al-Sanaa said the number of maids escaping from their sponsors before Ramadan has grown significantly. His family witnessed the escape of eight household workers, one of whom was employed with him and five who were working for his brothers and relatives.
He blamed gangs and traffickers for helping the maids to escape and expressed his confidence in security authorities to identify the culprits and bring them to book for causing the tremendous financial losses to the sponsors.
Mohammed Al-Rifai said a domestic working for him was only employed for a few days before she escaped a few days before Ramadan. He said she had indicated she was using her mobile phone to call her family, but it appears she had devised a plan to call someone else to help coordinate her escape.
The Kingdom plays host to thousands of domestic helps from different countries around the world such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Yemen and some African countries. Sponsors pay large sums of money including airfares to have the household workers gain legal entry into the Kingdom and therefore suffer substantial losses when the domestics abscond leaving them in the lurch.


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.