TheFace: Sana Al-Jabr, Saudi entrepreneur and piano teacher

Sana Al-Jabr. ( AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 13 June 2019
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TheFace: Sana Al-Jabr, Saudi entrepreneur and piano teacher

The eldest of three siblings, I graduated with a degree in business studies from the University of Sharjah in the UAE. When I graduated from high school, my father told me that studying abroad was the first step toward shaping a person’s personality. He encouraged independence and always trusted my judgment.

In addition to my academic studies I also enrolled in a music institute to learn to play the piano. My mom was very supportive of this as she plays the violin, as does my sister. One of the most enjoyable times for us is when we play a piece of music together.

At first I thought of it as a hobby that I wanted to learn and improve, no more than that. Then one of my teachers gave me some good advice: if you are going to spend time, money and effort in learning anything, you might as well get a proper qualification. So I did. I took theory and practical exams and was certified at each level.

After I graduated from university, I got a job with a National Commercial Bank where I worked as a private banker for nine years. I loved banking and feel it is one of the best work environments in which to learn.

During the last year of my banking job, I started a small manufacturing business that specializes in dyeing leather. I juggled both careers for a while until I decided to focus full time on my new business. It was a major shift for me. As an entrepreneur, I have to wear many hats — including accountant, quality control, HR, marketing — especially at the beginning.

What attracted me to the business was the idea of restoring and reusing valuable leather items. It changes the consumption mindset: Instead of buying a replacement whenever something is damaged, the existing item can instead be restored and its useful life extended. Currently, the business is expanding from dealing in personal items such as leather bags, wallets and clothing to include leather furniture and car seats.

I also decided to find time to teach the piano. Watching Saudi women learn and get excited to play music is certainly very rewarding. One of my most difficult experiences was teaching a sight-impaired child. As I am used to teaching by demonstrating on the piano, I had to instead find a way to explain in words what I normally show by example.

The recent announcement that a music institute will be opening in the Kingdom is life-changing news. I aspire to see the culture of music spread in Saudi Arabia and hope I can be part of it. 


Hajj Ministry, Misk launch program for volunteers to serve pilgrims

Updated 13 min 58 sec ago
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Hajj Ministry, Misk launch program for volunteers to serve pilgrims

  • It aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practices

RIYADH: The Initiative Center at the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk Foundation) has launched a program to prepare volunteers for the Hajj season in 2019, in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. 

The program, called Misk Al-Mashair, which launched its first workshop in Jeddah, encourages the culture of voluntary work and gives individuals greater space to participate in charitable work.

The program includes workshops in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, Dammam, Alkhobar, Jazan, Al-Jouf, Al-Ahsa, Abha, Tabuk and Qassim, as well as other cities across the Kingdom. The one-day program is attended by volunteers to learn about volunteering in Hajj.

The workshop includes an introduction to dealing with emergencies, problem-solving, communication skills, dealing with pilgrims of different cultures, working together in crowd management, and the ethics and values of voluntary work, all linked to the honor and value of participating during Hajj.

Thousands of registered volunteers and several other official bodies are taking part in the training program through the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Health, and the Directorate of Civil Defense to unify efforts to support young volunteers, improve the quality of services provided and benefit from the expertise provided by the program.


IN NUMBERS

673,000 - The number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season.

650,000 - pilgrims came by air.

15,000 - pilgrims entered by land.

7,735 - pilgrims arrived by sea.


Through this program, the Initiative Center aims to raise the level of volunteer performance in providing a professional service and high-quality practices that reflect positively on pilgrims and contribute to improving their experience in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to promote volunteering and increase the contribution of Saudi youth volunteers in the service of their community and their country.

Volunteer work in this initiative is centered on the reception of pilgrims, guidance, translation, medical volunteering, honoring the elderly, helping people with disabilities and volunteering to monitor and document the feelings and attitudes of the pilgrims.

So far, the number of pilgrims who have arrived in the Kingdom since the start of the current Hajj season has reached 673,104, according to statistics issued by Saudi General Directorate of Passports. Most pilgrims — 650,294 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 15,075 entered by land and 7,735 arrived by sea, the Saudi Press Agency reported.