Sri Lankan student launches awareness program on kidney disease

Zainab Ifthikar, a 16-year-old student from Bangladesh International School, with Azim Thassim, ambassador of Sri Lanka, at a presentation on renal diseases held at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh. (AN photo)
Updated 14 March 2017
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Sri Lankan student launches awareness program on kidney disease

RIYADH: A 16-year-old Sri Lankan student based in Riyadh has launched an awareness program on acute kidney diseases in parts of her native country.
Zainab Ifthikar, who attends the English section of Bangladesh International School, founded a charitable foundation dubbed MEI (Motivation Encouragement and Inspiration) in Colombo.
She told Arab News on Friday that she wants to create awareness among the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom about the strong prevalence of renal diseases in the central part of Sri Lanka due to the drinking water in these areas.
Ifthikar said that some 13 percent of the population in these areas suffers from kidney diseases, and more than 90 percent of those are from farming villages.
Ifthikar, who has traveled widely in central Sri Lanka, said the disease is mostly prevalent in farming villages because farmers use agrochemicals for cultivation.
“The chemicals used for fertilization get mixed with the well water, and people consume that water,” she said.
The young activist said that she is interested in taking preventive as well as curative measures to address the issue. She called upon philanthropists to join her to achieve her goal of supplying water filters to these areas, which will enable residents to drink purified water.
She would also like to help dialysis patients who patronize hospitals for their weekly treatment.
Ifthikar, who also wrote the book “Poverty is not Passivity,” has personally witnessed the sufferings of the poor, and had made a genuine effort to bring about measures that could help those in need.
“I started feeling the plight of the poor when I was 13 years old,” Ifthikar told Arab News. She said that such a sincere feeling toward the poor prompted her to document her thoughts in a book.
She has since been working tirelessly to spread awareness on poverty, and how families in need could be helped.
“I have always had a profound love for three things in my life: One is my motherland Sri Lanka, the other is philanthropy, and the third is writing,” said Ifthikar.
“Many of us live a life of luxury, with cars, clothes, fast food and brands making a large part of it; whilst there are thousands of people out there who neither have a morsel a day to fill their stomachs, nor enough hope to fill their hearts.”
“Nowadays, poverty is not only hunger and the lack of shelter; it has also become inequality, injustice, illiteracy, violence, and ignorance. Poverty is the ultimate hub to all the complications that the world faces.”


Italy pledges electronic warfare support to Saudi Arabia

Updated 20 April 2018
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Italy pledges electronic warfare support to Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi-Italian collaboration to develop electronic defense solutions pushed in workshop organized by the Italian Embassy, KACST and Elettronica SpA
  • Italy's Elettronica specializes in the designing and manufacturing electronic warfare equipment

RIYADH: Italy has pledged to support the Kingdom with electronic warfare and defense electronics, offering a range of state-of-the-art solutions to counter threats. 

The call for Saudi-Italian collaboration was made on Thursday at a workshop organized jointly by the Italian Embassy, the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Italian-based Elettronica SpA, a world leader in electronic warfare.

Italian Ambassador to the Kingdom Luca Ferrari welcomed the workshop initiative, and said: “We are working to develop a strategic partnership between our two countries, building on decades of excellent political and economic collaboration.

“Such initiatives increase mutual understanding and knowledge between Italian and Saudi counterparts and foster further opportunities for collaboration.” 

Ferrari added that the workshop is a proof of Italian industries’ and institutes’ willingness to strengthen the relationship between the two countries through working with local high-tech university centers and industries in Saudi Arabia.

He added: “The move on the part of the Italian government and our companies comes within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for foreign partnerships to diversify the economy, cut reliance on oil and build a robust Saudi defense sector.”

The workshop, entitled “The Digital Revolution: Impacts on defense electronics, security and life,” looked at electronic warfare, cyber intelligence, the future of autonomous vehicles and implications of the digital revolution for the defense industry. 

Enzo Benigni, Elettronica’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Italian institutes and companies are keen to embrace the Saudi Vision 2030, and to support the growth of the defense industry and overall defense sector of the Kingdom. 

“We work in Saudi Arabia to create high-value cooperation with the Saudi armed forces and local partners with an aim to build a world-class defense sector of the Kingdom.”

Benigni said Elettronica specializes in the designing and manufacturing electronic warfare, from single stand-alone equipment to complete integrated systems, for naval, airborne and ground applications as well as for space and homeland security.