Saudi initiatives empowering people with disabilities

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Tawafuq, Arabic for ‘success,’ ensures equal employment opportunities within the private sector for Saudis with disabilities. (Photos/Social media)
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Tawafuq, Arabic for ‘success,’ ensures equal employment opportunities within the private sector for Saudis with disabilities. (Photos/Social media)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Saudi initiatives empowering people with disabilities

  • About 10 percent of the Saudi population has some form of disability, according to a survey conducted by the General Authority for Statistics
  • The Labor Ministry also launched Mowaama, Arabic for “adaptability,” a program aimed at increasing the number of companies that can hire people with special needs, in July 2017

JEDDAH: Providing equal opportunities in education and employment are tantamount to achieving a thriving economy ahead of 2030.
Ensuring people with special needs are able to join the workforce is no exception. As such, government institutions have spared no effort in empowering people with disabilities to become more self-reliant, thereby improving their standard of living.
The Saudi Human Resources Development Fund, which is tasked with ensuring people with special needs can secure sustainable employment, launched Tawafuq, an employment program for people with special needs, in 2014.
Tawafuq, Arabic for “success,” ensures equal employment opportunities within the private sector for Saudis with disabilities.
Officials at Tawafuq liaise with other institutions to create a special platform for job seekers that takes into account capabilities, personal preferences and opportunities.
Services include helping the disabled overcome obstacles that can hinder their progress in the workplace. The program follows up with candidates after a period of six months.
The Labor Ministry also launched Mowaama, Arabic for “adaptability,” a program aimed at increasing the number of companies that can hire people with special needs, in July 2017.
Mowaama encourages private sector institutions to cater to this segment of society as part of their moral duty to their country, while also ensuring companies foster an inclusive agenda.
Savola Group, one of the country’s foremost industrial companies, launched the Makeen employment initiative, which has helped more than 1,000 citizens with disabilities find work over the past eight years.
Meanwhile, Qaderoon, Arabic for “we are capable,” is a national business disability network that provides guidance, advice, data, and training for employers to recruit, retain and include employees with special needs.
About 10 percent of the Saudi population has some form of disability, according to a survey conducted by the General Authority for Statistics.
According to the survey, 3.2 percent became disabled as a result of traffic accidents. Hassan Al-Zahrani, a Saudi paraplegic social media activist, was one of those victims.
He lost his ability to walk in a car accident when he was just 14 years old. He was in a coma for nine months after the accident.
Now 39 years old, he has worked with Saudi Arabian Airlines at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah since 2004.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Al-Baha University.
“Finding work was challenging and taught me a lesson that I chose to share with my community, which sees me as a role model,” Al-Zahrani told Arab News.
“I believe that people with disabilities can be integrated in any field. We just need good social services and environments that are conducive to our progress.”
Al-Zahrani has more than 4,000 followers on Twitter and aims to ensure equal opportunities for all.
He was keen to shed light on the issues he faces in his daily life, and hopes people can respect special needs provisions.
Al-Zahrani’s story was told through a documentary.
“I have taken on diving as a hobby,” he said. “It was difficult imagining myself diving because I’m a paraplegic, but I find it easy now since I was well-trained.”
Hawazen Binzagr, a Saudi clinical psychotherapist who works at the Adult & Child Therapy Center in Jeddah, told Arab News: “The most important point is to focus on the needs of this segment of society and to help them to reach their aspirations.
“Every person with a form of disability will have different ways of coping and dealing with their situation. The lack of social services and awareness makes them see their difficulties as obstacles. They begin to feel sadness, anger, hopelessness and disappointment.”
Binzagr said that such negative thoughts could severely impact their mental health.


Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Updated 22 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco recognized as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco’s Uthmaniyah Gas Plant (UGP) has been recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a “Lighthouse” manufacturing facility and a leader in technology applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 
Saudi Aramco is the first energy company globally to be included in this select group of manufacturing sites. The plant is also the only facility in the Middle East to be recognized by WEF. 
The announcement was made ahead of WEFs annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The gas plant is one of the world’s largest gas processing plants and was commissioned in 1981 as part of Saudi Aramco’s Master Gas System to process associated gas from oil wells. 
The use of drones and wearable technologies to inspect pipelines and machinery has helped cut inspection time by 90% in this industrial facility.
“The recognition of the Uthmaniyah Gas Plant demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s shift to transform and adapt in the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Uthmaniyah is only one part of our large integrated energy value chain where IR 4.0 technologies are playing a critical role to enable significant capital and operational efficiencies,” said Amin H. Nasser, Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco.
The seven new facilities join nine other “Manufacturing Lighthouses” which WEF unveiled in September 2018. The 16 factories were selected from an initial list of 1,000 manufacturers based on their successful implementation of cutting-edge technologies of the future that drive financial and operational impact.
The “Lighthouse” program was conducted by WEF in collaboration with McKinsey during a year-long study. A study team visited UGP in Saudi Arabia and performed a thorough audit.