We know him as Saudi Arabia’s godfather of volunteering and knight of wisdom. His influence on young volunteers has always been too big to ever be measured. He would be the first to attend every volunteering opportunity, not only that he set an example for everyone to follow.
“Amo Najeeb” or “Baba Najeeb” as I knew him was humble in his attitude and noble in his actions. Today we are mourning a role model who has inspired and taught many young people the beauty of giving, and in building our community through volunteering.
Amo Najeeb influenced many young people to want to venture into the field. He taught us to acknowledge that we have a role in society that we should fulfill by volunteering to give to those around us, and help build our country with our sense of ethics and morals. And for that, he will live through all of us as Saudi’s godfather of volunteering.
He expressed love and appreciation for everyone around him, giving out hugs too. In his presence, volunteers in the Eastern Province who interacted with him saw in his wisdom and humility a light that guides us. He showed us that we, too, can accomplish and succeed by realizing our potentials and gifts for our community.
I initially knew him through my father. But, like many people, I first got to know him on Twitter. When I met him in person, my father and I spent hours talking with him over coffee at our house. He even drew a picture of me and wrote a message to my classmates.
His character on such a virtual platform reflected both his funny and caring sides. He replied and listened to everyone, and the thing is, he really did care. He would follow up with people’s volunteering projects, and even go and visit their sites. Everyone has a personal memory of him. Today, we all feel like we’ve lost a caring and lovable uncle who would always be there to support us. Always.
Around 2012, I started reading his articles in Arab News. Because of the many lessons he shared through his pieces, I was inspired to live up to that level of knowledge and wisdom, and perhaps write for Arab News one day. I remember calling him at one point and asking if he would please review one of my essays for school that was titled “My Philosophy on Life.” He immediately agreed. Looking back on that piece, it was quite ambitious. But he never criticized it. Instead, he showed me how to improve everything I wrote.
Those are some of my memories of Amo Najeeb and there are many who, like me, have amazing stories and memories of him. Amo Najeeb empowered us by enabling us to look at our potential and share it through our work by giving to society. He wasn’t just the godfather of volunteering, he was a role model to many of my generation and beyond.
Reflecting on that letter he wrote for my classmates on Feb. 7, 2012, he ended it with the following:
“To all of you, my girls, I love you all. And so, so proud!” The loss of you is heavy and sad, but we shall keep the memory of you alive.
May your pure soul rest in peace, and may we forever make you proud, our dear Amo Najeeb.
Razan Farhan Alaqil is a political science, international comparative politics and global studies graduate. @Razan_Alaqeel