Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

Updated 05 February 2016
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Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Ambassador Azim Thassim told his countrymen in the Kingdom that his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia.
The envoy was addressing the Sri Lankan community on the occasion of his country’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day on Thursday.
A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, graced the colorful ceremony organized by the mission.
Around one-third of the Sri Lankan population of 1.5 million overseas workers are concentrated in the Kingdom.
Expatriates from all walks of life were present at the morning function to meet and greet one another on this auspicious occasion.
Thassim, who also re-launched the mission’s website with new features, said the website will give an insight into the activities of the mission. “It provides a portal to learn about the facilities and services rendered by the mission for the welfare of workers.”
The envoy called upon his community members to build up the various projects earmarked during the next five years.
“We need professional help in social, cultural, economic and educational fields from our countrymen in the Kingdom,” he said, stressing that the expatriate community can help the country as well as the host country in their march toward national development.
He also announced that in addition to the two community schools in Riyadh and Jeddah, the mission has received a license to operate another school in Dammam. “Arrangements are being made to open this school during the new academic year,” he added.
To begin the day’s event, the ambassador unfurled the national flag amidst the beat of drums (Magul bera). Then community members joined the choir of the Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh to sing the national anthem. It was followed by the recital of Jayamangala Gatha and observance of two-minutes silence in memory of fallen heroes. “This was done as a mark of respect to all those, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation,” the envoy said.
Speaking further, the ambassador noted that the new government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is working hand-in-hand to create a new political culture, economic system and communal harmony in the country.
“Good governance (Yahapalanaya) is the motto of the present government. Following the end of the war, we had massive development drives and projects. Around half a decade later, now the country is led toward the marvelous goals of good governance and social justice where significant paradigm shifts in social, economic and political arenas are at their dawn,” he concluded.
In Jeddah, acting Consul General M.S.M. Ansar, hoisted the national flag at the consulate. More than 100 expatriates in the western province were present at the morning function to meet and greet fellow Sri Lankans.
Typical Sri Lankan dishes were served to guests at both the functions held in Riyadh and Jeddah. They included kiribath with katta sambol, kevum, dodal and kokis.


Saudi university launches survey into the effects of women driving

Trainee Maria Al-Faraj practices changing a tire during a driving lesson at the Saudi Aramco Driving Center in Dhahran. Reuters/File
Updated 21 June 2018
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Saudi university launches survey into the effects of women driving

  • A scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents
  • The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country

JEDDAH: Researchers will observe and document the effects women driving in Saudi Arabia have on the economy, environment, community and traffic safety. It will also gather information about attitudes toward the change in the law, and the experience of women who get behind the wheel.
With the ban on women driving in the Kingdom due to be lifted on June 24, 2018, Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam has launched a national study titled “The impact of women’s driving on sustainable development and traffic safety in the Kingdom.”
Researchers from the university, headed by Dr. Najah bint Moqbel Al-Qarawi, a professor of geography of transportation, will supervise the project in collaboration with a specialist team from the General Directorate of Traffic.
Al-Qarawi said that a scientific survey about cars and drivers is being distributed on social media outlets, targeting male and female citizens and residents from all parts of society, in cities and villages. The questionnaire will reveal how participants feel about the issue of women driving and the potential effects it will have.
It will also measure the extent of support for the move from men, while women will be asked about their means of transportation and the main problems they face. Women who want to drive will also be asked about driving, training, the process for getting a license, their fears and aspirations, and for suggestions that might make the process easier and more appealing.
The survey will be carried out in two stages, before and after women get behind the wheel.
The data will be analyzed to help make recommendations to benefit the community and the interests of the country.
Everyone who completes a survey will be entered in a draw to win one of several cars from Almajdouie car company.