Ramadan: A month of compassion toward the underprivileged

Ramadan: A month of compassion toward the underprivileged
Most Saudis step up their efforts in Ramadan to reach out to those needing assistance. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 19 May 2020

Ramadan: A month of compassion toward the underprivileged

Ramadan: A month of compassion toward the underprivileged
  • Supermarkets in the Kingdom offer the option of prepaid cards that can be handed over to those needing help

RIYADH: Ramadan is not just about personal spiritual growth. An important aspect of fasting long hours is to help people understand the plight of the underprivileged. We abstain from eating and drinking knowing well that at the end of the day we will have enough to eat.
However, there are many in our surroundings who are never sure about their next meal. Fortunately, Saudi Arabia has a culture of helping the downtrodden, not only during Ramadan but throughout the year.
Ramadan only increases compassion toward the needy, and most Saudis step up their efforts to reach out to those needing assistance.
“Charity is not limited to (the month of) Ramadan,” Al-Sharifa Wadea’a Al-Hazza told Arab News. “It is an important part of the teachings of Islam to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters.”
 She said it was perhaps due to the sacred nature of the holy month that more people gave back to their community.
Al-Hazza is a great-grandmother with little formal education, but she is fully aware of the importance of charity and its long-lasting impact on society.
Helping others is a trait that has been ingrained in her personality since childhood. She remembers visiting families in dire straits with her mother to provide them with necessities. She said they would buy groceries and put them with care and love into boxes, distributing packages among needy families.
The sentiments remain the same but methods of helping others have changed, mainly due to technology.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Saudi Arabia has a culture of helping the downtrodden, not only during Ramadan but throughout the year.

• Supermarkets in the Kingdom offer the option of prepaid cards that can be handed over to those needing help.

Supermarkets in the Kingdom offer the option of prepaid cards that can be handed over to those needing help. Malaka Al-Rifaey said her son urged her to consider it once he discovered this option. “Not only will I still be able to help the families, but it will also cut on the workload of filling up boxes for over 30 families,” she told Arab News. Prepaid grocery cards are a more convenient way of helping the less fortunate because they put purchasing power directly into the hands of beneficiaries. This Ramadan has been different because of the coronavirus outbreak and authorities restricting people’s movements to ensure their safety, but Al-Rifaey said she had been able to distribute the prepaid cards three days before the curfew was announced.
“This Ramadan I bought SR15,000 ($3,993) worth of prepaid cards and sent them over to needy families. Of course, the amount depends on each household and the number of individuals in it.” Al-Hazzaa also seeks to give out prepaid grocery cards, but says that buying groceries herself was more rewarding and fulfilling.
“I’m an old lady. I no longer have the strength but I still make sure to actively fill boxes with essential items of daily use such as flour, milk, rice, oil, sugar, and tea. I sneak in chocolates and chips for families with children and teens because I know they have a sweet tooth,” she said.
The distribution is not done in person but through a network of contacts. “We never hand out cash. Only essential foodstuffs and clothing,” said Al-Hazza. The head of her neighborhood then distributes it amongst the families.
Al-Rifaey said that many supermarkets organized sales, singling out Al-Othaim. “Every Monday they have discounts, and I tell them to buy on those days as you can buy two items for the price of one. The world is still filled with kindness and kind people who want to give back. If we are capable and able then I shall continue as long as I live. It’s a pleasure and not a duty. I’m proud to be able to serve.”


Saudi HR ministry launches tough measures for unvaccinated workers

A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
Updated 56 min 12 sec ago

Saudi HR ministry launches tough measures for unvaccinated workers

A nurse speaks to a man before administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine as part of a vaccination campaign by the Saudi health ministry, in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
  • Authorities instruct all institutions to require proof of immunity against COVID-19 from employees

JEDDAH: Unvaccinated employees within the Saudi public, private, and nonprofit sectors will have their leave days deducted until they receive a COVID-19 jab, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has warned.

The ministry issued a statement on Sunday clarifying procedures to deal with unvaccinated employees following the Ministry of Interior’s instruction for institutions to limit entry to vaccinated people after Aug 1.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Saudi Arabia has increased ahead of the deadline, with about 350,000 doses being administered per day, with a total vaccination rate of about 78 doses per 100 people in the Kingdom.
As a result, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development instructed all institutions in the Kingdom to require proof of immunity against COVID-19 from employees and workers, as approved by the Ministry of Health on the Tawakkalna mobile app.
The gradual plan to deal with unvaccinated employees begins with directing them to work remotely, according to the work need. In case remote work is not beneficial for the institution by Aug. 9, the employee will be granted leave deducted from their official leave balance.

HIGHLIGHT

The gradual plan to deal with unvaccinated employees begins with directing them to work remotely, according to the work need. In case remote work is not beneficial for the institution by Aug. 9, the employee will be granted leave deducted from their official leave balance.

As for the public sector, employees will consume their eligible leave days according to their legally approved conditions and requirements. However, if those requirements are not met or the employee has exhausted their leave balance, then absence days must be deducted from the balance of regular leaves or will be considered as an unpaid excused absence.
In the private and nonprofit sectors, employers will allow unvaccinated employees to go on official leave that will be calculated from their annual leave.
In case the annual leave balance is exhausted, employees will be granted unpaid leave, and their work contract will be considered suspended during the period once it exceeds 20 days, unless the two parties agree otherwise.
In case of disagreement with a worker, the employer shall deal with the consequences according to the procedures approved by law. The employee must be informed about decisions issued in this regard.
However, the ministry said that the new regulations do not apply to people who are excluded from taking the vaccine according to the Tawakkalna app.


Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry
Updated 02 August 2021

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry

Only fully jabbed students can return to school, says Saudi Education Ministry
  • Primary, kindergarten pupils will return to classrooms once 70% of population has been double-jabbed or October 30

JEDDAH: Only students who have been fully jabbed against COVID-19 can go back to school once the academic year begins on Aug. 29, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Education said on Sunday.
High school and middle school students who have completed their vaccination program in Saudi Arabia are set to return to the classroom by the end of the month.
Elementary and preschool students will be exempt from returning until 70 percent herd immunity has been achieved through double dosage.
Saudi Arabia has so far administered more than 27.2 million vaccine doses and 8.25 million people have received both shots, making up 23.7 percent of the country’s 34.8 million population.
The ministry said appointments would be provided for staff and eligible students to get vaccinated in time for the start of the school year.
At Sunday’s press conference, Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly urged pregnant women to get jabbed. He reaffirmed the vaccines’ safety and efficacy and said a large number of unvaccinated pregnant women around the world had been hospitalized with COVID-19.

FASTFACT

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 526,814.

He also called on doctors to do their part in communicating the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women. “You aren’t just protecting one life, you’re protecting two,” he added.
Exemptions, including cases of medically proven hypersensitivity to the vaccines or one of their components, are determined through reports issued by the ministry.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Husain said that more than 1 million commercial establishments had followed health precautions to only admit immune customers on the first day that all residents in the Kingdom were required to have had at least one dose or have recovered from COVID-19 in order to enter commercial, government, private and public establishments.
On Sunday there were 1,084 new cases recorded in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 526,814.
There were 1,285 new recoveries, taking this total to 507,374, while 12 new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 8,249.


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company signs contract KACST to provide satellite data

The images will carry the coordinates of its geographical location. (SPA)
The images will carry the coordinates of its geographical location. (SPA)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company signs contract KACST to provide satellite data

The images will carry the coordinates of its geographical location. (SPA)
  • The data is collected using satellites to monitor the progress of the Red Sea project
  • It will enable the company to know how the project is progressing and the impact it may have on the environment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company signed a contract with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to provide high-resolution data for key locations at the company’s headquarters.
The data is collected using satellites to monitor the progress of the Red Sea project, which covers an area of ​​28,000 square kilometers, and to track developments in real estate assets more effectively.
The CEO of the Red Sea Development Company, John Pagano, said that this technical work will enable the company to monitor any unexpected effects in the development of real estate assets on the surrounding environment, and work immediately to find alternative solutions.
Pagano said the Red Sea Project’s stakeholders and its affiliates can obtain reliable and detailed images on a monthly basis, adding it was important to understand how the actual development processes affect the natural destination environments.
He also said that this partnership will enable the company to monitor the main assets, both natural and real estate, closely during the construction phase, which will support efforts to lead renewable tourism worldwide.

Pagano added that KACST, through the National Consortium on Remote Sensing in Transportation (NCRST), will capture monthly high-resolution data for the Red Sea project, using the GeoEye-1, WorldView, and Pleiades satellites.
This will allow the images to be color-balanced as they are on the ground, and each will carry the coordinates of its geographical location. The images will be integrated with the company’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems and will be available to its employees from the planning, engineering, and environment departments.
The company’s GIS department will periodically compare the data provided by KACST with the latest versions of the master plans and detailed designs of the project to monitor changes and avoid any environmental damage.
The images will be used to determine the best methods and locations to perform construction and development activities. It will also be an important part of the project’s monthly progress reports.
Dr. Talal Alsedairy, the supervisor of the Space and Aeronautics Center at KACST, said that NCRST will support the company by providing them with high-resolution images of the project area that will enable them to have a more comprehensive perspective on how the project is progressing and the impact it may have on the surrounding environment.


Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Thursday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Thursday
Updated 01 August 2021

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Thursday

Weather warnings issued across Saudi Arabia until Thursday
  • The civil defense warned some areas will experience heavy rain that may lead to torrential flows and flooding

RIYADH: Weather warnings have been issued for several regions across Saudi Arabia lasting until Thursday, the Kingdom’s civil defense said on Sunday.
The authority warned of thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rain and brisk winds in Jazan, Asir, Najran, Al-Baha, and Makkah. It also warned some areas will experience heavy rain that may lead to torrential flows and flooding.
The civil defense also warned of rain in Madinah, Tabuk, and Hail starting from Monday until Thursday.
The warnings were issued based on data received from the National Center of Meteorology.
The civil defense called on everyone to be wary of the weather conditions, to stay away from places that could flood, and to abide by the civil defense’s instructions and updates announced through media and social media outlets.


Saudi Arabia records 22k virus violations in one week

KSA records 22k virus violations in one week. (SPA)
KSA records 22k virus violations in one week. (SPA)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia records 22k virus violations in one week

KSA records 22k virus violations in one week. (SPA)
  • The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 7,049 violations

RIYADH: Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
They recorded 22,042 violations of the regulations in one week, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior.
The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 7,049 violations, followed by the Eastern Province (3,026), Madinah (2,383), Qassim (2,250), Makkah (1,904), Jouf (1,313), Hail (1,010), Tabuk (796), the Northern Borders (757), Najran (426), Jazan (390), Asir (372), and Baha (366).
The ministry called on people to abide by the preventive protocols.