Saudi official’s gesture brings smile on Yemeni child’s face

The winning bid was $10,000.
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Updated 21 May 2020

Saudi official’s gesture brings smile on Yemeni child’s face

  • Handmade ‘goggles’ made by refugee boy bought for $10,000 by MD of Kingdom’s project for landmine clearance in Yemen

MAKKAH: The story of a child in a refugee camp in Yemen who made a pair of spectacles from a metal coat hanger so that he could sell them to buy Eid clothes for his family caught the imagination not only of the Yemeni media but also international humanitarian groups.

When Yemeni photographer and filmmaker, Abdullah Al-Jaradi, heard about the youngster’s creativity, he took up the cause and arranged an online auction to raise as much money as possible. His efforts were widely embraced on social media by international charities.

The winning bid was placed by Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the managing director of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen (Masam).

“The proceeds from the spectacles, which amounts to 2.5 million Yemeni riyals ($10,000), will be allocated to buy clothes not only for the child that made the glasses, but for all the children in the refugee camp,” said Al-Gosaibi. “This comes as part of the Saudi humanitarian efforts in Yemen. “The whole idea began with a competition launched by a journalist on social media. He displayed the glasses and they went on sale for 2 million Yemeni riyals. This initiative aimed to promote the humanitarian efforts and support, meet the needs and lift the spirits of the Yemeni people as Eid approaches, particularly the children.”

A team at Masam, a project launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in June 2018, researched the auction to ensure it was genuine and legal before making the winning bid, he explained.

Journalist Al-Jaradi suggested that representatives from MASAM should document the distribution of aid and clothing to the children and make sure the funds are correctly spent. Work on this is now underway.

Masam is a charitable project that forms part of the humanitarian efforts being made by the Kingdom to aid the Yemeni people and help them rebuild their lives free from the Houthis’ terrorism and oppression.

“The project comes within the framework of the humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia along with the relief projects in Yemen,” Al-Gosaibi said. He added that the aid provided through the auction is an extension of MASAM’s projects in Yemen, as part of the Kingdom’s role in providing assistance to the country in the form of humanitarian aid, food and relief services.

The situation in Yemen remains very difficult, according to Al-Gosaibi. After working there for almost two and a half years, he said he can see the misery in the eyes of refugees as a result of the actions of the Houthis, including the placing of landmines.

Masam has helped tens of thousands of refugees return to their villages on Yemen’s western coast after clearing the region of mines. Others, however, are still not able to return home.

“The number of refugees in Marib, which was the safest region in Yemen, reached 2 million people,” said Al-Gosaibi. “We helped clear landmines from some of its lands, on which the refugee camps were built. We also cleared villages, orchards and agricultural lands. This allowed tens of thousands of people to return to their homes.”

Saudi foreign minister calls for ‘transparent and independent’ Beirut explosion investigation

Updated 09 August 2020

Saudi foreign minister calls for ‘transparent and independent’ Beirut explosion investigation

  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan told an emergency donors conference that Saudi Arabia stands with Lebanon
  • Minister condemns 'destructive hegemony' of Hezbollah, which has history of storing explosive materials among civilians

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia called for a transparent and independent investigation into the Beirut explosion, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Sunday.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan told an emergency donors conference that Saudi Arabia stands with Lebanon. He described the explosion that killed more than 150 people as “horrific.”

Prince Faisal said strong state institutions that work for the interests of the Lebanese people are vital to the reform required to guarantee Lebanon's political and economic future.
“The continued destructive hegemony of the terrorist organization Hezbollah worries us all, and we all know this organization’s history of using explosive materials and storing them among civilians in several Arab and European countries and in north and south America.”
“Lebanon is in dire need of comprehensive and urgent political and economic reform to ensure that this terrible disaster will not occur again,” he said.

He added that four planes carrying Saudi aid have arrived in Beirut.
The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has provided 290 tons of medical equipment, food supplies and housing materials.

The conference was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.