TheFace: Shereen Abdulrahman Abulhassan, Saudi mountaineer

Shereen Abdulrahman Abulhassan with her niece and two of her sons. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
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Updated 13 December 2019

TheFace: Shereen Abdulrahman Abulhassan, Saudi mountaineer

Shereen Abdulrahman Abulhassan I was an extremely fortunate child, born to parents who moved to Alkhobar as it was a developing city set to be a model across the Kingdom. I was lucky to grow up in an environment that encouraged learning and growth, and which allowed a child’s personality to develop, regardless of gender.

My parents never discriminated between their daughters and sons, even when customs and traditions limited women in the Kingdom and elsewhere. We were all allowed to practice our hobbies and pursue our passions with encouragement. My late mother was an avid reader, and my father continues to be a keen sportsman.

I went to Switzerland just after high school.

My parents sent me to study at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu, a school of etiquette, for one year.

After attending that Swiss finishing school, I received my bachelor’s in English literature from the University of Dammam, I got married and had five children, a daughter and four sons. 

For 20 years, I’ve devoted myself to raising my children until they grew self-reliant. A new stage was about to begin.

Taking up from my mother, I was an avid reader for years so I founded the Tent Book Club in 2011. After sending my children off to college, I entered a new phase in my life: Exploring the world and its coexistence of cultures that I had read about for years.

In 2016, I set off on a journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in northeast Tanzania. I found myself in a beautiful world where I could exercise in nature, by climbing to the peak of mountains.

In November 2017, I decided to establish the Rawasi Hiking Team. I was encouraged by the changes that were happening, and continue to be taking place in Saudi society for women. I formed a team, expecting that there would not be more than 20-25 people interested. We were largely targeting women, but to my surprise, in one month, 170 members from both genders joined, traveling twice a month to various areas around Riyadh, once every two months to a heritage site in the Kingdom and for two summers in a row, we traveled to Russia and Japan with funding from prominent female sponsors.

I was supported by my amazing husband, Abdullah Alamri, who was beside me every step of the way, encouraging and supporting me with every decision I made.

I challenge myself every time I set out, I want to reach the summit by any means. 

On my first trip to Kilimanjaro, I was struck with anxiety and fear after enduring freezing temperatures, I fell behind and was left alone with my guide. After checking my vitals and oxygen rate, he cleared me and helped me continue forward. I pushed on, until reaching the summit at sunrise. I felt a sudden strength channelled by my late mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s at the time, I stood and admired the strength that pushed me toward the peak. My mother, a source of power, a strong woman who moved to a new city not knowing anyone until with time, became one of the most prominent women in the Eastern Province, loved and respected by all.

Strength derived from success on the peaks has helped me overcome all my fears, as the American author Ruth Gendler once said: “Fear has a big shadow but it is small in size.”

Dreams are limitless, whether you’re on top of a high mountain or on an arduous adventure, a mantra I encourage my friends and teammates to follow. 


Houthis are ‘threat’ to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region

A houthi rebel fighter holds his a weapon during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP)
Updated 21 September 2020

Houthis are ‘threat’ to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region

  • Five civilians injured in lastest attack at village in Jazan

JEDDAH: Houthi militias in Yemen are continuing to break international humanitarian law by targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia.
In its latest attacks on Saudi terrority, the group launched a projectile at a village in the southern Jazan region on Saturday. Five people were injured and property was damaged.
The Iran-backed militia has attacked Saudi Arabia’s territory, killing and injuring civilians in the process, since the start of the war in 2015, often to international condemnation.
“The Kingdom has tackled many Houthi attacks, which included ballistic missiles and drones that were originally intended to target civilians,” political analyst and international relations expert Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “If it wasn’t for the Kingdom’s instant response they would have caused very big damage.”
Al-Shehri said that a group like the Houthis were not expected to act differently, other than be violent and destructive. He pointed the finger at the international community for its silence as well as countries that have lifted an arms ban on Iran.
“The recently apprehended Houthi cell in Yemen smuggling Iranian weapons has admitted to receiving training in Iran, evidence of Iran’s continued involvement in Yemen. Therefore, this makes the US unilateral proclamation to reinforce UN sanctions against Iran the right thing to do now.”
Al-Shehri added that the militia was an organization whose activities would still endanger the lives of Yemeni civilians even if they did not harm neighboring countries. “They use cities as a shield and launch their rockets from inside Sanaa, among civilians.”
He said that the international community, as part of its responsibility to maintain global peace and security, was required to spare Yemenis the agony and scourge of war by implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and bring the Houthis back to the negotiation table for an inclusive political solution.
“The Houthis are a threat to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region as long as weapons remain in their hands,” Al-Shehri said.
The attack in Jazan was condemned by Egypt, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The OIC secretary-general, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, affirmed the organization’s standing and solidarity with the Kingdom in all the measures it took to protect its borders, citizens, and residents on its territory.