KSA to serve Syrians in Jordan meals in Ramadan

Updated 29 June 2014
0

KSA to serve Syrians in Jordan meals in Ramadan

The Saudi government has announced that it will offer the Syrian citizens in Jordan with daily meals during the holy month of Ramadan as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to alleviate the ongoing sufferings of the Syrian refugees who fled the violence in their country and sought safe refuge in neighboring countries.
The new effort will commence as of the first day of Ramadan and will continue toward the end of the month, the government said, adding that dry meals will also be distributed to needy citizens in other Muslim countries.
The announcement, which was made by Saad bin Muhanna Al-Suwayed, the campaign’s director in Amman, corresponds to a recent agreement the “Saudi National Campaign to Support Brothers in Syria' has signed with the Al Tajmouat University Facilities Services Company in Amman to distribute dry meals among the Syrians living in the Hashemite Kingdom.
"Under the agreement, 150,000 dry meals will be distributed among Syrian families in Jordan during the holy month of Ramadan," sources told Arab News, adding that the food distribution program will be executed in three stages.
According to the campaign organizers, the first phase will cover Syrians residing in the northern governorate of Irbid, which is housing the largest number of Syrian families.
Furthermore, the Saudi national campaign has vowed to pay the rent expenses for around 1,000 households to accommodate Syrian refugee families in Lebanon.
Moreover, a consignment of 150 tons of dates has been sent for distribution among the displaced Syrians living in Lebanon ahead of the fasting month.
"The relief efforts is being done in implementation of directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to meet the needs of the displaced Syrian people, particularly children, women and the elderly,” the Saudi Embassy in Beirut has said.
In that context, the Kingdom recently donated six tons of dates to needy Palestinians through UNRWA. In addition, the Jeddah-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), an affiliate of the Muslim World League (MWL), has allocated SR6,450,000 to implement the iftar project for this Ramadan.
The aid will benefit tens of thousands of fasting Muslims in 29 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.


How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

Dr. Fatima Alakeel, cybersecurity expert. (AN photo)
Updated 20 March 2019
0

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

  • ‘Securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,’ says Dr. Fatema Alakeel of King Saud University in Riyadh
  • ‘Saudi women are ambitious,’ says one graduate. ‘We are acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers’

DUBAI: More and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and now the challenge is finding them employment, said Dr. Fatima Alakeel, a cybersecurity expert and faculty member at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh.
“In the Kingdom, STEM-related jobs are limited at the moment, as the economy is primarily oil-based and there are few technical jobs available,” said Alakeel, who is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability Group (CIAG), which focuses on information security training and research in Riyadh.
According to a government report on the labor market situation in the third quarter of 2018, more than 30 percent of Saudi women aged between 15 and 65 are unemployed.
Among them, the highest rate of unemployment is among 20-24-year-olds (more than 70 percent) and among 25-29-year-olds (55 percent).
According to the report, there are 923,504 Saudi jobseekers, of whom 765,378 are women (82.2 percent).
“We have more girls in STEM education compared to Western countries,” said Alakeel, who completed her doctoral degree in computer science in the UK at the University of Southampton in 2017.
According to a report prepared by the Saudi Education Ministry, girls accounted for 57 percent of undergraduates for the year 2015-2016 in the Kingdom.
That same year, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology (IT), mathematics and statistics, and physics.
According to a survey Alakeel recently conducted on social media, “almost 80 percent of (Saudi) girls were keen to study STEM, but securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,” she said.
Maha Al-Taleb, 22, graduated earlier this year with a degree in technology from KSU, specializing in IT networks and security.
“It’s common for girls in the Kingdom to opt for STEM education,” said Al-Taleb, who now works in a public sector company in Riyadh as a junior information security analyst.
“Saudi women are ambitious. We’re acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers. I don’t know why the world assumes that Saudi women are a backward tribal species who have no say in these matters. This entire perception is flawed.”
Al-Taleb got a job offer immediately after university, but realizes that not all her peers are as fortunate. Women “are facing problems in securing jobs, not because companies don’t want to hire us, but because employment for Saudi youths is a major challenge,” she said.
“In today’s Saudi Arabia, parents are encouraging their daughters to get a degree not just in the Kingdom; they also want them to go to Western universities. It has become a common phenomenon. Things have changed. Women are a crucial part of the nation’s development process.”
Not all women graduating in the Kingdom are as lucky, among them Razan Al-Qahtani. “It has been several months since I graduated, yet I haven’t been able to find a job. It has been a struggle so far,” said the 25-year-old IT graduate. “We have more talented and qualified girls, especially in the field of technology, but there are few jobs available. It’s a difficult situation, but we’re hopeful things will change very soon.”
Al-Qahtani expressed confidence that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan will bring opportunities for qualified Saudis.
As part of Vision 2030, the government has committed to raise employment among Saudi women.
Alakeel said the government is working hard to find a solution, and it is only a matter of time until more such jobs are on offer.
“As per Vision 2030, there will be more jobs, including technical jobs, available in the country. Once we have more jobs, women will eventually get their due share,” she added. According to Alakeel, female empowerment and promotion to leading roles have made huge progress in Saudi Arabia, and this may affect existing STEM job opportunities.
“We’re glad to see Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud becoming the first female ambassador of the country. It only suggests change is on the way,” Alakeel said.
Al-Taleb expressed pride in the way her parents have supported her, saying: “My father isn’t educated and my mother has basic literacy, but both provided me with the education I desired. They want their daughters to be as successful as their sons.”
Like women in any country, the transition from university to the workplace is not always easy, even for young Saudi women with technology degrees. Yet they are not losing hope.
“We realize these are difficult times in terms of employment, especially in technology-related fields, but things will change,” Al-Taleb said. “Saudi women will soon be ruling the fields of STEM all over the country.”