Lankan student, 15, writes book on poverty

Updated 20 August 2015
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Lankan student, 15, writes book on poverty

RIYADH: A 15-year-old Sri Lankan student from Bangladesh International School in Riyadh, English Section, has becoming one of the world’s youngest authors by writing a book on poverty.
“Poverty is not Passivity” authored by Zainab Ifthikar was presented to Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka in Colombo last week. Some of the country’s leading writers attended, who encouraged the teenager to pursue a writing career.
The young writer said she has personally witnessed the suffering of the poor and wrote the book as an effort to improve their conditions. “I started feeling the plight of the poor when I was 13 years old,” Ifthikar told Arab News.
“Through my book I want to raise awareness among the general public, and request for the direct involvement of the Sri Lankan government to alleviate poverty. The other purpose of this book is to encourage the government to take an effective initiative for the development and expansion of cottage industries.”
“I hope that this book will serve as a roadmap to achieve my goal; to make sure that no one in Sri Lanka suffers from extreme poverty ever again,” she said.
“I have always had a profound love for three things in my life: one is my motherland, Sri Lanka, the other is philanthropy, and the third is writing. This book is a collage of those three things that I love so dearly, it is a collage that can potentially help form a solution to alleviate extreme poverty in Sri Lanka.”
“There were two things that had immensely moved and inspired me to write this book. The first are my parents who have been more than just two characters in my life, they have become my life.”
“In many places in this book, I have blamed us, the spectators, for the dilemma that the poor are in. It is quite obvious that extreme poverty didn’t fall from the sky; it was created by society, and it is upheld by society as well.”
“Many of us live a life of luxury, with cars, clothes, fast food and brands making up a large part of it, whilst there are thousands of people out there who do not have a morsel a day to fill their stomachs, or enough hope to fill their hearts.”
“Nowadays, poverty is not only hunger and the lack of shelter; it has also become inequality, injustice, illiteracy, violence and ignorance. Poverty is the ultimate hub to all the complications that the world faces.”
“This book is filled with words that has failed to describe my ineffable love for humanity; it is filled with miscellaneous forms of vibrant emotions that will make you think twice before you turn your back on an underprivileged family. It is packed with the different angles from which I scrutinize poverty.”
“Everybody has a unique viewpoint when it comes to poverty; some are statistical viewpoints, and others are humanitarian opinions, but this book is a compilation of what I think about poverty, and it is something anomalous and distinctive altogether,” she said.


ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s ‘vegetable basket’

Updated 17 min 43 sec ago
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ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s ‘vegetable basket’

  • Qassim in central Saudi Arabia hosts more than 8 million palm trees, which produce 205,000 tons of high quality dates every year

Al-Qassim is known for its agricultural value to Saudi Arabia. Due to the province’s fertile farming land, it is widely referred to as the Kingdom’s “vegetable basket.”

As the lushest part of the country, it is responsible for most of the Kingdom’s agriculture. Al-Qassim boasts the largest number of greenhouses in Saudi Arabia, producing a wide range of agricultural produce, including dates. 

The province hosts more than 8 million palm trees, which produce 205,000 tons of luxury dates annually that are exported regionally and internationally.

The capital of Al-Qassim, Buraidah, hosts a yearly date festival that is attended by many people, including those from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, who stock up on dates.

Al-Qassim’s farms and orchards attract nature lovers and city dwellers who wish to relax amid its palms and scenery.

These orchards have recently become an attraction for nature lovers, along with anyone who wants to get away from it all and relax. With greenery and tall palm trees surrounding the fields, Al-Qassim’s natural beauty, environmental splendor and fresh water make it the perfect destination.

Visitors come from all over to enjoy the magnificent views and get away from the dull routine of life. They are transported back in time by the simplicity showcased in the orchards by the farmers’ mud houses, and the work these laborers do from dawn until sunset, relying on authentic and traditional agricultural methods.

As well as being a tourist attraction, Al-Qassim is also known for the quality of its product. With so many farms and orchards in the region, and thanks to the fertility of its soil, a wide variety of crops can be grown, including wheat, dates, fruits and vegetables, which are sold across the Kingdom. • Photo by Saudi Press Agency