‘Be Helpful’ initiative: A beneficial learning experience for young Saudi volunteers

Roya Tambosi with her workmate Hamza Hindi during their the ‘Be Helpful’ initiative. (Supplied)
Updated 30 August 2018
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‘Be Helpful’ initiative: A beneficial learning experience for young Saudi volunteers

  • The program has assigned volunteers of both genders to different locations based on their skills and experience, and is part of the Vision 2030 plan to encourage young people to join voluntary programs

The “Be Helpful” initiative, which is run under the Hajj Ministry, has helped young people serve pilgrims in this year’s Hajj.

The program has assigned volunteers of both genders to different locations based on their skills and experience, and is part of the Vision 2030 plan to encourage young people to join voluntary programs.

Roya Redah Tambosi has set a good example for volunteers. The 30-year-old mother-of-four left her children behind to work voluntarily for pilgrims in the holy sites. Her husband was also stationed at Muzdalifah as a security man, so the couple relied on their 12-year-old daughter, Hoor, to look after the children.

It is the first time Tambosi has been able to get away from her youngsters for a noble duty. However, she is determined to do it again for the next year’s Hajj, and burden Hoor once more. The latter will surely become a good caring mother.

When she was young, Tambosi told Arab News, her family used to take her to the mosque to help them distribute food and water to pilgrims during Hajj. 

This might have been the seed of humanity Tambosi’s family had planted in her heart.

Tambosi is now a leader at Be Helpful,  one of the many initiatives the Hajj Ministry has supported and adopted. She is a new media supervisor overseeing team field tasks.

Tambosi recalled a rescue case she witnessed during the Hajj, an incident that made her feel that what she was doing is purely human. 

“A female pilgrim suffering from hyperthermia was brought in on a stretcher. It was the first time I had seen an unconscious person. If rescuing procedures had not been provided for minutes, the woman would have died. In fact, that experience made me strongly believe in what we are doing. It was like seeing a dead person come back to life again,” she said. 

“Our initiative has four teams as we have four main programs within the initiative. These are health, translation and guidance, new media and educational programs,” Tambosi explained.

Tambosi added that each field team consists of a physician, a savior, two people whose job is to document trips, and a leader.

“Seven teams left this afternoon to help pilgrims. They get back to the camp an hour before midnight,” she said. 

Another female volunteer, Sumaiyah Hafiz, told Arab News her work in the initiative had taught her how to work within a team and how better to serve pilgrims from all walks of life.

“It has taught me how to work in a mixed environment where both genders confidently cooperate to give a service. We also succeeded in acclimatizing ourselves to working with strangers, people at the workplace who we knew nothing about before. This has also added to our experience,” Hafiz said. 

According to the executive director of the initiative, Hani Abu Al-Saud, the idea started with the
aim of institutionalizing the voluntary work provided to worshippers, not only during Hajj but also to Umrah performers throughout the year.

Handy services

The idea came about to voluntarily provide the guests of Allah with different services they may need when they performed their rituals. He pointed out that some 185 volunteers of both genders took part in the initiative. He noted that 537 pilgrims had benefited from their medical clinic.

“Some 414 pilgrims have taken advantage of the services of our ambulatory emergency teams, while more than 1,240 other pilgrims have done well from of our translation and guidance services,” he said. 

The teams have given more than 160,000 gifts to pilgrims this year, according to Al-Saud.


India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

Updated 21 February 2019
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India and Saudi Arabia take bilateral relationship to new heights

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi heralds Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit on a day that delivers a strategic partnership

NEW DELHI: India and Saudi Arabia have taken their bilateral relationship to new heights with a decision to set up a Strategic Partnership Council and hold a summit meeting every two years.

The move was agreed during discussions between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday that yielded five memorandums of understanding in investment, tourism, housing, and information and broadcasting. 

The Saudi crown prince also announced a $100 billion investment in India in areas including energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing. 

Saudi Arabia is also investing in the IT industry, and India can help the Kingdom expand and strengthen its “IT footprint,” he said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi announced e-visa facilities for Saudi citizens to promote trade and tourism. 

The two leaders spoke one-on-one before the start of delegation-level talks. The Saudi crown prince’s visit has “given a new momentum to our age-old relationship,” Modi said in a joint press conference after the meeting.

Modi told the media that Saudi Arabia has agreed to become part of the International Solar Alliance, a group of “solar resource-rich countries” initiated by India to promote solar energy.

The “time has come to convert our energy relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said. “The biggest refinery in the world and Saudi participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserve elevate our relationship from a mere buyer-and-seller relationship.”

Speaking at the joint press conference, the Saudi crown prince agreed. “We are now diversifying our interests in petrochemicals and building storage capacities. We want to cooperate with India, and this will give a new momentum to our relationship,” he said.

The crown prince said that the tie between India and Saudi Arabia goes back in history and “flows in our blood.”

Recalling the visit of Modi to Riyadh in 2016, he said that “since then we have made great strides, and Saudi Arabia has made the investment of $44 million.”

Earlier in the day, the crown prince met with the media at the presidential palace. “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA,” he explained. “Today, we want to be sure that the relationship is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries, and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister, we can create good things for both countries.”

The crown prince expressed his admiration for Modi. “He is the elder brother and I am his younger brother.”

On the sidelines of yesterday’s talks, 400 business leaders from India and Saudi Arabia gathered in the capital under the banner of the Saudi India Forum to discuss opportunities for business cooperation.

“India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing a paradigm shift, and both countries need to cooperate strategically to realize the potential of the change,” said Dr. Faisal Al-Sugair, head of the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, in his inaugural address. 

“We want Indian companies to become strategic partners in Saudi Arabia’s march to realize (the) 2030 Vision.”

Yousef Al-Benyan, of the Saudi petrochemical company Sabic, said that “both India and Saudi Arabia are undergoing transformation, and at this stage we can do so many things together to realize the potential of the young generation.”

Azim Premji, of the Indian IT company Wipro, underlined the importance of “using India’s IT know-how” to access the knowledge and service industry in the country.

Indian foreign policy experts see the crown prince’s tour as a landmark development. “Mohammed bin Salman’s visit marks a paradigm shift in the relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh,” said Dr. Zakir Hussain, a New Delhi-based foreign policy expert. 

“The visit reveals  a mature partnership, and underscores the importance both countries place on each other’s growth and prosperity,” he said.