RIYADH: This year’s Riyadh Season program has excited the nation — and one young Saudi in particular.
Salah Al-Awaji, a disabled student who uses a wheelchair, owns a food truck that is the sole source of income for his family, his mother and his brother.
His ambition was to open for business at the Riyadh Season from Oct. 11 until Dec. 15, but he found himself thwarted at every turn. In despair, Salah recorded a video appeal and posted it online.
“I have experienced difficulties in trying to participate in Riyadh Season. I have tried contacting them and persuading them but perhaps because I’m handicapped, they believe I won’t be able to work, which is not true,” he said.
The response was swift. Turki Al-Sheikh, head of the General Entertainment Authority, posted Salah’s video on Twitter and tagged Riyadh Season organizers. “Immediately finish up his papers and take into account his ease of movement,” Al-Sheikh told them.
“No fees will be taken from him and if he needs support, we will give it. Have I made myself clear?”
Riyadh Season quickly replied: “Consider it done.” A delighted Salah told Al-Sheikh: “Thank you for your quick interaction and support. I will make you proud in Riyadh Season. I will give a half-price discount to people with special needs.”
One of the key aims of the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan is to empower people with special needs.