Saudi aid agency signs 16 deals to combat blindness worldwide

1 / 2
In Aside from providing food, clothing and other basic goods to refugees, KSRelief also sends specialists to perform medical surgeries for various illnesses in communities that usually have no access to doctors. (SPA)
2 / 2
Aside from providing food, clothing and other basic goods to refugees, KSRelief also sends specialists to perform medical surgeries for various illnesses in communities that usually have no access to doctors. (SPA)
Updated 19 September 2019

Saudi aid agency signs 16 deals to combat blindness worldwide

  • Saudi Arabia spent $87 billion on humanitarian aid to 81 countries over two decades

DAMMAM: Saudi Arabia has signed a raft of deals with an international health charity aimed at combating blindness in seven countries around the world, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) inked 16 agreements with Al-Basar International Foundation to implement medical programs in Bangladesh, Yemen, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco, Eritrea and Pakistan.

Dr. Aqeel bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, KSRelief’s assistant general supervisor of planning and development affairs, signed the accord with the foundation’s secretary-general, Dr. Adel bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rashoud.

Al-Ghamdi said the campaigns to prevent blindness and diseases would involve medical checks on 100,000 cases, 10,000 vision-related operations, and the distribution of 20,000 medical glasses by the end of this year.

Saudi Arabia has spent $87 billion (SR326 billion) on humanitarian aid to 81 countries over two decades. According to a KSRelief report, more than 1,011 humanitarian aid programs worth $3.5 billion have benefitted 44 countries, primarily Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iraq, since 2014.

Recently, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock announced that Saudi Arabia would be contributing $500 million to the world body next week to help fund its humanitarian response in Yemen. Lowcock said the Kingdom planned to pay on Sept. 25 and that the UAE had also recently made a payment of $200 million.

HIGHLIGHT

The campaigns to prevent blindness and diseases would involve medical checks on 100,000 cases, 10,000 vision-related operations, and the distribution of 20,000 medical glasses by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the center is carrying out several humanitarian projects in Syria and Yemen, which includes provision of food, health care, vocational training and education.

KSRelief allocated 132 cartons containing food baskets to the needy in Socotra, the Yemen archipelago, benefiting 116 families, in addition to 80 food baskets for 400 people in Saada governorate’s Al-Atif.

A total of 1,432 food baskets were also handed out in the Al-Wafa, Al-Baidar, Al-Rajab, Al-Zaalanah, Al-Taliya, Al-Fardan, Sabiroun, and Benin camps in Syria and many other informal settlements in Saraqib, Sarmin, Maarat Misrin and Salqin, benefiting 8,730 people.

In addition, the center distributed 367 cartons of food baskets in Marib governorate, Yemen, in coordination with the Benevolence Coalition for Humanitarian Relief, helping 900 displaced people.

This comes within the framework of the food projects provided by the Kingdom and represented by the centers for the Yemeni and Syrian peoples during the current humanitarian crisis.


Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

Updated 23 September 2020

Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

  • The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day with exhibitions, a scavenger hunt, a fine dining pop-up, and artistic performances.

The center started its National Day celebrations on Sept. 21 and the activities run through to Sept. 26. 

Rania Biltagi, the head of communication and partnerships at Ithra, said she hoped that people this year would ask themselves what being Saudi meant to them.

“I am proud to be part of an organization created as a creative and cultural destination perfectly positioned to drive and participate in conversations such as these,” she told Arab News. “Our mandate involves igniting cultural curiosity, exploring knowledge and inspiring creativity, and it’s a task we don’t take lightly.”

“Saudi at heart, multicultural by nature” had been the Ithra motto from the start, she said, and the center was always looking inward even as it looked outward.

Biltagi shared the results of research that Ithra had conducted about the impact of globalization on Saudi Arabia’s culture.

“The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization. However, it also shows that Saudis are willing and able to embrace modernity and globalization while still cherishing their unique national identity.”

Ithra has created the “Kingdom of Cultures” exhibition, which will take visitors on an interactive and state-of-the-art journey through Saudi Arabia’s lands and tell stories about the Saudi people. It will also feature crafts, dialects and customs.

Writer and Saudi heritage expert Ali Ibrahim Moghawi said he was honored to be participating in the festival as part of the “Flower Men” booth.

“To be representing our great nation at the very place where oil was first discovered, a place that represents the heart of progress in Saudi Arabia, the place that has done the most to respect our heritage and support every Saudi generation future, past, and present, is an honor,” he told Arab News.

Ithra has scheduled musical performances from Saudi band Al-Farabi, which will also feature the pianist Abeer Balubaid and singer Ameen Farsi. Award-winning poet Abdulatif Almubarak will host an evening of poetry – “Aswat” – accompanied by musicians in a celebration of Saudi civilization.

The center has devised a pop-up restaurant called Takya, which will offer guests a fine dining experience with Saudi fusion cuisine and modern takes on old favorites.

It has also announced plans to revamp and renovate an old farmer’s market in Alkhobar’s Al-Ulaya district to give it an energetic and artsy edge. The covered space is being redecorated and will feature areas for art and music, in addition to a dedicated and upgraded space where local farmers can sell their produce.

Ithra plans to curate installations at the market to make it more visually appealing as well as to take art and creativity directly to the community.

It has scheduled two celebration sessions a day with limited space and occupancy. The first runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. while the second is from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

Tickets to the events, as well as the special performances, are available on Ithra’s website.