Call to introduce mandatory pre-marriage training courses in Saudi Arabia

Young men attend a program to prepare them for marriage in Abu Arish in the Jazan region. (SPA file photo)
Updated 03 December 2017

Call to introduce mandatory pre-marriage training courses in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A charity is advocating mandatory pre-marriage training courses to curb the increasing numbers of divorces and matrimonial disputes.
Mohammed Al-Raddi, director for Almawaddah charity Family Development, told Arab News that more than 30,000 families had benefited from their service in 2016, with a 92 percent satisfaction rate.
He said the charity’s objectives are in harmony with the Vision 2030 plans for reinforcing the role of families to preserve the social fabric and build a strong and productive society.
Al-Raddi suggested that the Ministry of Justice should make it mandatory for couples who are going to get married to attend a course.
“Increasing divorce cases and family problems make it necessary that we do all that we can to minimize these numbers, just like the pre-marriage medical screening, which has helped couples avoid many health risks,” he said.
He said that an agreement with the Social Development Bank to link their marriage loans to a marriage preparation course had been reached. However, he added, this has not yet been put into effect.
Al-Raddi said that since their society was established 15 years ago, they have trained more than 20,000 people who were going to get married. “We conducted a study last year about the impact of our courses on those who had attended our courses three years before. We found that 95 percent were then enjoying a good family life,” he said.
Al-Raddi said that some of their studies had shown that a large proportion of divorce cases occurred during the early months of marriage. “This was found to be due to outside interference from relatives who stick their noses into a couple’s life,” he said.
Similar studies had shown that 23 percent of divorce cases were due to couples being unable to solve their problems.
Their pre-marriage qualification program was designed to prepare young men and women to enjoy a strong, healthy relationship and offer them a better chance of a satisfying and lifelong marriage.
He said the program presented stories of successful couples who had managed to turn relationship failure into success. It also helped young people to know their marital rights and duties in accordance with the Shariah rulings.


Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

Updated 16 min 54 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

  • Wayakit leaves the clothes clean and fresh again

JEDDAH: Wayakit is a biotechnology start-up incubated by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

KAUST Ph.D students Sandra Medina and Luisa Javier are avid travelers who have come up with a pocket-sized product that deals with both odors and stains on fabrics, leaving the cloths clean and fresh again.

Wayakit is also gentler on fabrics because traditional laundry eventually damages them, said Javier, who first moved to Saudi Arabia from Mexico ten years ago.

Her business partner, Sandra Medina, who came from Colombia to study at KAUST, explained to Arab News how Wayakit works. “You just spray the smelly area twice and you’re good to go. In the case of stains, you spray twice and then pat dry it with a tissue and it will disappear,” she said.

The idea for the product came during a trip for a conference two years ago when the travelers realized their luggage was lost “We had to present with our dirty, seven-hours’ flight clothes,” Javier told Arab News.

“We started looking into the possibility then, because there’s not a proper solution to doing laundry while traveling,” she said.


They decided they needed to come up with a product that was not pricey, was easy to carry, and did the job by removing stains and bad odors “on-the-go.”



The duo began by interviewing more than 100 travelers of 23 different nationalities to find out if this was a common issue that travelers struggled with.


“From the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, we learned the importance of listening first to the customers before designing any product,” said Medina. From these interviews, Wayakit team got the product requirements and then moved into the lab to start working on the formulation of Wayakit. “The amazing facilities and labs in KAUST helped us to speed up the creation of our first prototype. After this, the same KAUST community was the people who first tried Wayakit and gave us feedback. “In KAUST we do not only have state-of-the-art labs, but also a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Medina added.

Wayakit is different from its competitors in that it contains no toxic chemicals, and covers a broader spectrum in covering stains — it is two products in one. It also contains anti-bacterial properties, acting as a sanitizer that “removes all the stains that occur on a day-to-day basis as well as being an odor remover,” Javier said.

The pair went for a biotechnology-based formula that excluded the usage of oxidizers and focused on more organic compounds. “Even the anti-bacterial properties are not toxic as we incorporated these in an environmentally friendly formulation,” she said.

The Wayakit founders had to rigorously test their product, dealing with different types of sweat and stains to perfect their spray. “We had to give testers to travelers to try it out and had to listen to their feedback, then went back to the lab to improve it, in order to make sure the product was as promised.”

Medina said KAUST’s mentorship had also helped their company to develop. “KAUST for us is a catalyst of entrepreneurship and has given us a lot of room to grow our start-up Wayakit,” she said.

KAUST helped Wayakit by giving the advice and support from the start. From entrepreneurial courses to teaching the concepts of building a brand, KAUST encouraged Wayakit to grow from a scientific outlook and helped the founders to better understand the customer.

“As foreigners, it was difficult for us to understand the logistics and procurement of shipping and importing here in Saudi Arabia. KAUST has helped us to face that hurdle in order to be able to reach all our clients in the MENA region and worldwide,” Medina said. “Beyond helping travellers, our mission is to change the way how laundry is commonly done. We found a way to effectively wash clothes reducing water and energy consumption,” Javier said. 

Wayakit has recently began selling in Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, chosen because it is “a Middle Eastern brand store with unique ambience,” said Medina.