Tarahum plans prisoner welfare programs

Updated 22 February 2013

Tarahum plans prisoner welfare programs

Prisoner welfare in jails in the Kingdom will soon be a reality if The National Committee for Prisoners, their Families and Ex-Convicts (Tarahum) has its way.
“Tarahum’s strategic plans call for the positive development of inmates in reformatories and jails, and the welfare of inmates, their families and of ex-convicts so that they will never relapse to their old criminal ways,” Tarahum’s report for 2012 said.
It undertook separate projects for prisoners and their families and for ex-prisoners. The projects targeting inmates included the settlement of loans of prisoners who could not pay their debts, organizing training in various trades and conducting lectures, cultural and sports events, and social and psychological programs inside jails.
Tarahum also sought the volunteer help of lawyers to represent prisoners in courts.
It also undertook humanitarian projects such as organizing family days and providing secluded rooms for family meetings.
The programs aimed at ex-convicts were mainly focused on conducting training programs and financing efforts to find jobs besides offering assistance in cash and kind, the report said.
It also helped ex-prisoners to perform Haj and Umrah and organized cultural, religious and amusement events throughout the Kingdom. It also paid special attention to those who were released after serving time for drug addiction with the help of the National Anti-Narcotic Committee and mental health organizations. Those ex-convicts who wanted to lead a family life were given cash assistance for getting married.
The assistance to prisoners’ families included payment of apartment rents and utility bills, supply of food, clothes and furniture apart from cash assistance. Tarahum also provided them with social and moral support and educational and health aid.
The charity organization also participated in the Janadriah Cultural and Heritage Festival for the eighth time in a row with the aim of attracting public attention to the difficulties of the prisoners’ families and of ex-convicts. It also distributed 155,000 awareness booklets and flyers.
Its activities also included celebration of a Kingdom-wide Inmates Day in all provinces in December with the participation of the General Directorate of Prisons.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.