Saudi pharmacist provides lift for kids with cancer

Saudi pharmacist provides lift for kids with cancer
Nabila Samir Ben Slimane launched New Smile, a Saudi-based project that provides handmade hats for children suffering from cancer.
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Updated 18 February 2021

Saudi pharmacist provides lift for kids with cancer

Saudi pharmacist provides lift for kids with cancer
  • Nabila Samir Ben Slimane launched New Smile, a project that makes hats for children battling disease

JEDDAH: Nabila Samir Ben Slimane learned how to knit when she was a young child and now her passion for crocheting is helping children across the Arab world.
Ben Slimane launched New Smile, a Saudi-based project that provides handmade hats for children suffering from cancer. She leads a group of more than 40 volunteers that designs, manufactures, and delivers hats and beanies to patients who have lost their hair while battling the disease.
“I met with many children in the hospital who suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy,” said Ben Slimane, a mother of four, who works at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Jeddah.
“Sometimes they wear normal hats to hide their head and sometimes they wear nothing at all. I see them so embarrassed that they try to hide behind their parents.”
Ben Slimane’s work at a tertiary hospital specializing in cancer studies and treatment, coupled with a video she saw on social media, inspired her to launch New Smile.

In the video, a group of US women started “The Magic Yarn,” a project designed to help cancer patients by making them hats from threads.
Ben Slimane’s first hat featured threads that looked like real hair and it went to a 3-year-old girl named Rafif, who had lost her hair due to cancer treatment.
“The child’s reaction was amazing and shocking to all,” she said. “As soon as I put the beanie on her head, she started running around the corridors of the hospital, dancing with happiness and going to the nurses to show off her new beanie.”
It was not long before Ben Slimane started to recruit other Saudi seamstresses on WhatsApp to join her in the new nonprofit venture.
The hats are handmade using organic cotton threads and high-quality raw materials. Ben Slimane says the seamstresses pay careful attention to the people they are trying to help.
“The skin of cancer patients is very sensitive and some patients suffer sores in the scalp,” she said. “That is why we use no allergenic threads that can be easily washed. The hats last for a long time and can sustain weather changes.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nabila Samir Ben Slimane leads a group of more than 40 volunteers that designs, manufactures, and delivers hats and beanies to patients who have lost their hair while battling the disease.

• The hats are handmade using organic cotton threads and high-quality raw materials.

• In the first year of its launch, New Smile partnered with several hospitals in Riyadh, including the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and the King Khalid University Hospital.

• The project also distributed beanies and hats to some patients of private hospitals upon the request of their parents, doctors and nurses.

• In the second year of the project, Ben Slimane discovered beautiful silk threads in Tunisia, that she used to make soft hats that offered the feeling of real hair to children.

In the first year of its launch, New Smile partnered with several hospitals in Riyadh, including the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and the King Khalid University Hospital. The project also distributed beanies and hats to some patients of private hospitals upon the request of their parents, doctors and nurses.
In the second year of the project, Ben Slimane discovered beautiful silk threads in Tunisia, that she used to make soft hats that offered the feeling of real hair to children.
“In the third year, the kids’ reaction to the simplest things inspired me to add a new collection,” she said. “So we began to make dolls with the help of my friend Dina Jamjoom.”
The hats and dolls are designed for children starting at 6 months old to teenagers. The group’s popularity started to climb within the Kingdom so Ben Slimane started to think bigger.
“The project began to expand and we started distributing our products to a number of Arab countries,” she said.
Hats and dolls were sent to the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt, the Queen Rania Al-Abdullah Hospital for Children in Jordan, and the Sultan Qaboos Comprehensive Cancer Center in Oman. Some products also found their way to hospitals in Tunisia and Sudan.
The group faced some difficulties in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as distribution of the hats and dolls was suspended. But production continued and now the group has a stockpile ready to send out.
“Volunteers did not stop for a second making the beanies and dolls,” Ben Slimane said.
“They are making them with love. I continue to bring them the tools needed to make more, so once the situation returns to normal, we can resume the distribution of our products.”
Before the advent of the holy month of Ramadan last year, New Smile distributed Qur’an covers to mothers to lift their spirits. The group also distributed occasion-related dolls such as the Eid lamb in addition to creating favorite cartoon characters for children.
It was also during the pandemic when the Wareef Charitable Foundation of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital offered financial support for New Smile.
“The charity has provided us with all the project’s needs,” Ben Slimane said. “During the previous two years there had been no funder or financier, but only personal efforts and cooperation between the members.”

The volunteers of the project are from different cities and countries and meet virtually on social media platforms. But the Jeddah volunteers meet for an informal ceremony every year where symbolic gifts are offered to members in recognition of their support.
“My dream is that the project can be based in an official location or a unified known center,” Ben Slimane said. “That would make it easier for people who want to get a gift for their children, friends or neighbors to come and get whatever they need with ease.”
Ben Slimane is hoping the project will continue to expand in the future.
“I want this project to reach every child who is suffering from cancer and lost their hair,” she said. “Our doors are open to everyone, inside and outside of Saudi Arabia.”


Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 535,373
  • A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced six deaths from COVID-19 and 75 new infections on Friday.

Of the new cases, 18 were recorded in Makkah, 15 in Riyadh, seven in Madinah, seven in the Eastern Province, six in Jazan, five in Tabuk, three in Najran, three in Hail, two in Asir, two in the Northern Borders region, one in Al-Jouf, and one in Al-Baha.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 535,373 after 64 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 40.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
  • Event is part of project to develop ministry’s internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Defense held its first Strategic Communication Forum on Thursday in Riyadh. The aim was to engage the ministry’s communication staff across the Kingdom with its targeted operating model, to help achieve the objectives of its transformation program.

The event, which took place under the patronage of Khalid Al-Biyari, assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, also formed part of the ministry’s project to develop its internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices.

The forum included a number of workshops, presented by Prince Ahmed bin Salman Applied Media Academy, focusing on communications-related subjects such as creative content creation, video production for social media and event management. The participants included officials and communication specialists from the Saudi Armed Forces, joint forces and the military’s Health Services Department.

Al-Biyari said during the forum that the ministry views strategic communication as a crucial approach to achieving excellence in performance.

“Adding strategic value to communications raises our media practices to a more advanced level in terms of planning the dissemination of key messages,” he said. “The rapid and frequent advancements in technology make it inevitable that all organizations, not only the Ministry of Defense, must think of communication with audiences strategically.”

Ahmed Ali Asiri, the deputy minister for strategic affairs and a keynote speaker at the event, stressed the importance of strategic communications to the ministry’s media activities. He said it is imperative for all employees to receive updated information accurately and in a timely manner, to ensure the quality and efficiency of operations.

He added that strategic communication is vital to send the right messages about the work of the ministry.

Abdullrahman Al-Sultan, the ministry’s director-general of strategic communications and media, gave a presentation about the role of his directorate, its organizational structure and the strategy behind its operating model.


Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

NEOM: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in a phone call on Thursday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The pair discussed bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Spain and ways to enhance them.


Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

Saudi aid agency KSrelief delivers food aid to Mali, medical support to Uruguay

BAMAKO: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center recently launched a project to distribute food aid to the poor in Mali.

An event to mark the distribution was attended by Saudi ambassador to Mali Khalid Al-Khalid, a KSrelief team and a number of Malian officials.

The aid includes 15,038 bags of rice, weighing 752 tons. It will be distributed to a number of Malian regions, benefiting 120,304 individuals.

It comes within the framework of humanitarian and relief projects being implemented by the Kingdom, through KSrelief, for countries and peoples around the world.

Meanwhile, KSrelief delivered medical and preventive assistance to Uruguay in order to help the country combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of KSrelief, Saudi Ambassador to Uruguay Eyad bin Ghazi Hakim officially handed over the support in the presence of Uruguayan Minister of Public Health Daniel Salinas.

Salinas said that Uruguay has “benefited greatly” from Saudi assistance in its fight against the pandemic.


Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

Saudi Arabia raises awareness on World Patient Safety Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has joined the world in celebrating World Patient Safety Day 2021.

The Saudi Patient Safety Center said that the 72nd World Health Assembly, affiliated with the World Health Organization, adopted in May 2019 a global action on patient safety, which guarantees celebrating a world day on patient safety each year.

The SPSC noted that this year saw the inauguration of an awareness campaign under the theme “safe maternal and newborn care,” which aims at raising community awareness on the safety of mothers and newborns.

It also aims to support the best health practices to reduce risks and deaths that can be avoided during delivery.