Effat holds girls’ sporting competition for universities, schools

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Winners of the basketball match pose for a group picture with Princess Lolowah bint Faisal and Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Nobles International School students pose for a group picture with Princess Lolowah bint Faisal and Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Lina Al-Maeena, one of the most famous champions for women and girls’ sports in Saudi Arabia, founded the first women's sports club in Saudi Arabia, basketball team Jeddah United. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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In the running competition, Layl Bakhshab from Jeddah Private School won the gold medal, Aya Abu Al-Jadayel, also from Jeddah Private School, came second with the silver medal, while Dor Jamjoom, from Dar Al-Fikr School received the bronze medal. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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In the swimming competition — schools category, Nilli Mansour was awarded the gold medal, Mayar Aziz the silver medal, and Farida Ahmed took the bronze medal, all of them are students of Al-Koon International School. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Effat holds girls’ sporting competition for universities, schools

JEDDAH: Princess Lolowah bint Faisal and Lina Al-Maeena, founder of the Kingdom’s first female sports club, were guests at a sporting competition for girls at Effat University on Sunday.
The competition was divided into three categories between four private schools and two universities, including Effat University, under the theme “Champion of the Day.”
The sports categories were running, basketball and swimming.
Princess Lolowah, deputy chairman of the board of trustees and general supervisor of Effat University, is considered one of the most publicly visible female members of the Saudi royal family.
She told Arab News: “I am always proud of what Saudi women do, and today I am way happier than any time because we saw how creative the participants were. We encourage all the youth — males and females — to serve their countries from the bottom of their hearts.”
Lina Al-Maeena, one of the most famous champions for women and girls’ sports in Saudi Arabia, founded the first women's sports club in Saudi Arabia, basketball team Jeddah United. She told Arab News: “There was a lot of amazing energy; I really felt involved and the future looks great. I am proud to be here in Effat. I started my words today by saying it is very symbolic that we are in a university that carries the name of Queen Effat, who was the leader behind women’s education in Saudi Arabia, and also for the sports complex that she built in the 1960s.
The competition was hosted by Hind Boumshammer, a Moroccan-French broadcaster. She is working for the MBC Group as a producer and presenter.
Noor Sahaab, a 10th grade student and a member of the winning Jeddah Private School basketball team, told Arab News: “Such a challenge is something really great and new… it is the first time for us to participate in something this big, and we are really proud to win. Even if we hadn’t won, being part of the competition is wonderful.”
Dana Al-Nahdi, from Nobles International School, told Arab News: “I think this is a really great experience for women since this country doesn’t have a lot of similar activities. It is great for women to expand beyond their limitations.”
In the running competition, Layl Bakhshab from Jeddah Private School won the gold medal, Aya Abu Al-Jadayel, also from Jeddah Private School, came second with the silver medal, while Dor Jamjoom, from Dar Al-Fikr School received the bronze medal.
In the swimming competition — schools category, Nilli Mansour was awarded the gold medal, Mayar Aziz the silver medal, and Farida Ahmed took the bronze medal, all of them are students of Al-Koon International School. In the swimming competition — university category, the gold medal was won by Ghadeer Hariri from Dar Al-Hekma University, while Ghofran Abdulrahim from Effat University won the silver medal, and Tahani Banaja from Dar Al-Hekma University won the bronze medal.
In basketball, the team that won the first place was Jeddah Private School, while Al-Marjan International School came second and Nobles International School came third.


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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