Young Saudi architects make a difference by renovating schools

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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
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Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. (AN photo)
Updated 08 July 2018
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Young Saudi architects make a difference by renovating schools

  • Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. Ten young architects founded the group back in 2015. 
  • Despite the limitations of time and resources, the group (which has eight strong, independent females among its members) has successfully renovated five schools, which has had a positive impact on 650 students.

JEDDAH: Three years ago, during the holy month of Ramadan, a group of young enthusiasts volunteered in an Iftar Sayem campaign, serving and distributing iftar (breakfast) meals to fasting people in need. 

When the month ended, instead of winding up the project they decided to expand it to continue serving the community even after Ramadan. This eagerness to serve humanity led to the establishment of the Ihyaa Group. 

Bayan Hallak (one of the group’s founders) told Arab News: “We could not accept the fact of going back to our normal routines, and usual lives. We had the energy and the knowledge, so we thought why not start giving more to people?”

Ihyaa is a social initiative that focuses on school renovation projects in Jeddah’s poor neighborhoods. Ten young architects founded the group back in 2015. 

“We wanted to make a sustainable change to our community,” Hallak said. 

“By doing something that has an effect, not only on a single person or a family but rather on the generations to come. That was when we decided we wanted to renovate schools and create better learning environments.”

The group’s main objective is to develop a generation of educated and socially active students, by providing them with the opportunity to participate in the renovation of their own schools. 

Hallak said: “In some schools, we worked on the lack of basic needs for health, safety and sometimes education itself.”

Despite the limitations of time and resources, the group (which has eight strong, independent females among its members) has successfully renovated five schools, which has had a positive impact on 650 students. Their work included building classrooms and improving the learning environment by enhancing ventilation and light. They used their own architectural skills and knowledge to improve the schools’ interiors, drawing interactive arts and painting walls.

The group used psychological techniques using different colors in classrooms. “After we finished one of our projects, the school’s principal was surprised by the impact of our work on her students,” Hallak said.

They also do periodic checkups, maintenance, and activities throughout the year. For instance, they have created libraries in three different schools. As a result, their work has had a positive impact on students. Hallak explained: “Now, some of the schools are being used for (adult) literacy classes and craft workshops in the afternoon.”

Ihyaa has been supported through collaborations with local people and sponsorship from suppliers and organizations through their corporate social responsibility programs. This way the group receives the means to do its work effectively. Aiming to help more students every year, the group is planning to work on two more projects this summer. 

“We are passionate to do more, and people are always willing to collaborate and support our work for the development of the community. We educate children today to enhance their living standards in the hope that in the future they will have the power to serve their community by themselves and continue the cycle of giving,” Hallak said.


Al-Jubeir: Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, said Saudi Arabia's foreign minister. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Al-Jubeir: Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

  • Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, says Saudi FM
  • Al-Jubeir: Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition is working with UN envoy Martin Griffith to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and the outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday. 

“Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, and the solution should lead to the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen,” said Adel Al-Jubeir.

“We support a peaceful solution in Yemen. We support the efforts of the UN envoy for the Yemeni cause,” he added.

“We are committed to providing all humanitarian support to our brothers there. We are also working on the post-war reconstruction of Yemen.” The Kingdom supports the envoy’s efforts to hold negotiations at the end of November, added Al-Jubeir.

Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict, he said.

In contrast, Houthi militias are imposing restrictions on Yemeni cities and villages, leading to starvation, he added. 

They are also seizing humanitarian aid and preventing Yemenis from getting cholera vaccinations, Al-Jubeir said. 

The Houthis fire ballistic missiles indiscriminately at Saudi Arabia, use children as fighters and plant mines across Yemen, he added. 

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, he said.

Saudi Arabia did not want the conflict in Yemen; it was imposed on the Kingdom, Al-Jubeir added. 

Saudi Arabia worked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to develop the Gulf Initiative. 

This led to a transition from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to the internationally recognized government headed by current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Kingdom also worked to develop Yemeni national dialogue that led to a Yemeni vision regarding the country’s future.

A new Yemeni constitution was about to be drafted when the Houthis seized much of the country, including the capital. 

Yemen’s legitimate government requested support, and the Saudi-led coalition responded under Article 51 of the UN Charter.