‘Life-changing’ Harakia scheme empowering Saudis with disabilities

‘Life-changing’ Harakia scheme empowering Saudis with disabilities
Under the umbrella of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has focused on empowering people, especially those with disabilities, to use their abilities in different fields. (Social media)
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Updated 03 December 2020

‘Life-changing’ Harakia scheme empowering Saudis with disabilities

‘Life-changing’ Harakia scheme empowering Saudis with disabilities
  • Launched in 2017, the project is expected to benefit 219,000 by 2021

RIYADH: People with disabilities seeking employment in Saudi Arabia are getting a bigger boost with the help of Alwaleed Philanthropies and car companies.
Under the umbrella of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has focused on empowering people, especially those with special needs, to use their abilities in different fields, a topic of discussion that was emphasized in one of the G20 Riyadh Summit agendas during the Kingdom’s presidency.
In observation of International Day of Persons with Disabilities — marked each year by the UN to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in society — Alwaleed Philanthropies has partnered with the Physically Disabled Adults Association (Harakia), Careem, and Al-Jazirah Vehicles Agency to provide care for youth, women, and men with disabilities and boost their employment prospects.
The Harakia project, launched in 2017, is expected to reach 219,000 beneficiaries both directly and indirectly by 2021.
For the last four decades, Alwaleed Philanthropies has initiated and supported a variety of projects to equip women, youth, and those living with disabilities with the resources and support required to prosper.
“We have worked on a series of projects that focus on economic independence locally and internationally,” said Najla Al-Jeaid, manager for local initiatives at Alwaleed Philanthropies in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
“It is important to understand the ripple effect of socioeconomic empowerment. Supporting job creation can increase opportunities for the next generation, change perceptions, improve quality of life and elevate local industries,” said Al-Jeaid.
Harakia is their flagship project supporting individuals with physical disabilities in becoming more mobile and independent. The project involves numerous schemes to support people living with hearing impairments, childhood development challenges, and lower body disabilities across Saudi Arabia.
“In Saudi Arabia, we have examined and identified the barriers that this segment face and have initiated projects with our partners to overcome them through greater access to resources and training opportunities. We must take a more circular approach to overcome challenges, ensuring that the resources provided support long-term income generation for individuals,” said Al-Jeaid.




The beneficiaries of the Harakia project with Alwaleed Philanthropies’ Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud. (Photo/Supplied)

She added that the Harakia project provides beneficiaries with greater access to equal opportunities for employment, enhances their quality of life, and supports increased participation in the economy.
“We believe that mobility is critical to almost every aspect of our lives: Our ability to work, to socialize, and to go out, and that it is truly synonymous with freedom and independence. By taking advantage of simple and cost-effective technology, we can make a long-lasting and life-changing differences to people’s lives,” said Al-Jeaid.
She said that the Harakia project not only provides important resources but connects people with disabilities with life-altering employment opportunities. “Through access to vehicles, people with disabilities can participate in the workforce as independent drivers, which provides greater independence and flexibility for those newly joining the job market, while simultaneously supporting increased participation in society.”
The General Authority for Statistics issued a report containing the results of the Persons with Disability Survey 2017. It revealed that the number of people in the Kingdom with difficulties (mild, severe, and extreme) was 1,445,723, which accounts for 7.1 percent of the total population. Males make up 3.7 percent and females 3.4 percent.
“We are dedicated to developing communities and achieving long-term and sustainable change. In doing so, we must empower people on the ground with the skills and resources they need to gain access to greater employment opportunities,” said Al-Jeaid.
She added that all of their programs are completely free. “For the Harakia project, eligible participants must apply and will be assessed by an expert team at the Physically Disabled Adults Association to receive a modified vehicle.”
Al-Jeaid expressed her appreciation for the team she works with. “For all our initiatives, we work with trusted partners on the ground to deliver truly impactful projects. We draw on a variety of expertise and knowledge to initiate life-changing projects for vulnerable communities locally, regionally, and internationally.”
She added: “These strong partnerships help us ensure that projects are being delivered to those who need it the most and with the right approach.”

 


First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
Updated 22 January 2021

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
  • The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination

RIYADH: The first phase of the “Pulse of Alkhobar” project has been launched as part of plans to develop an integrated cultural center in the heart of the city and transform the Eastern Province’s arts scene.
The project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.
According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.
Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Majid Al-Hogail said that the project will build an artistic and heritage destination that will improve the lives of residents of Alkhobar governorate as well as visitors to the Eastern Province.
The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination, he added.
Abdulhadi Al-Shammari, the province’s municipal chairman, told Arab News that the new project will also improve services at municipal facilities, while preserving Saudi heritage and culture.
The project introduces tourists and visitors to the culture of the province, and highlights Al-Olaya district as the center of the city’s culture and arts activities.
Al-Shammari said that the project will boost the city’s finances, driving sustainable development and growth as well an improvement in quality of life.
“It will create new investment opportunities for the private sector, and encourage small and medium-scale enterprises, which have an excellent and effective social impact,” he said.
Al-Shammari added: “The Saudi government supports all sectors to help them deliver lucrative investment opportunities and build a conducive environment for local and foreign investment, where new job opportunities are created for young men and women.”
Faisal Al-Fadl, secretary-general of the Saudi Green Building Forum, told Arab News that creating a cultural and arts destination that is open to a range of activities will add to the city’s tourist appeal.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.

• According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.

“Cooperation between the public sector and international organizations, as well as professional organizations, archaeologists and the public, is instrumental in preserving the cultural and architectural heritage of neighborhoods and cities,” he said.
Al-Fadl added that the collaboration between the two ministries reflects “the importance of architectural and cultural heritage, and the tangible and unique archaeological importance of the buildings as a key element in the history of peoples and relationships inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula.”
He thanked both ministries for their efforts.
Arafat Al-Majed, a Qatif Muncipal Council member, said the partnership is a step forward that falls in line with agreements concluded as part of Vision 2030.
“The agreement will increase interest in cultural heritage and the buildings and towns whose profound and ancient history should be brought out to the world to see and enjoy,” she told Arab News. “The agreement will also improve the urban landscape.”
She said that the joint committee should have branches in municipalities around the Kingdom in order to shed light on heritage sites that can be included in UNESCO. “The Kingdom is rich in such heritage sites.”
Al-Majed said that the project will introduce today’s generation to the ancient heritage of the province in a way that encourages investment opportunities.
“Nobody can deny the fact that some municipalities are still hesitant about what to do with heritage buildings and towns since some of these are abandoned or about to collapse. These municipalities want to tear them down. But these are historical treasures that should be preserved and invested in to become an important economic driver, and a source of arts and culture,” she added.
Maysoon Abu Baker, a Saudi poet and columnist, said the Saudi government attaches great importance to culture and heritage.
“Vision 2030 emphasized the significance of the culture existent in old cities,” she told Arab News.
“Arts, culture and heritage are at the top of the agenda for developing cities and preserving their culture. The cultural impact is important for the future of the Kingdom and is related to its history.”
Yousef Al-Harbi, director of Culture and Arts Society in Dammam, said that the partnership will lead to “new visual perceptions highlighting the Saudi, Arabian and Islamic identity.”
He highlighted the importance of nurturing Saudi art and architectural talent, and facilitating cooperation in order to “bring out the beauty of Saudi heritage and cities.”