Volunteers help Saudi job seekers find work via popular app Clubhouse

Volunteers help Saudi job seekers find work via popular app Clubhouse
According to a new report by mobile data and analytics firm App Annie, the Clubhouse app has grown from having more than 3.5 million global downloads in February 2020 to reaching 8.1 million by Feb. 16 this year. (Getty Images)
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Updated 03 March 2021

Volunteers help Saudi job seekers find work via popular app Clubhouse

Volunteers help Saudi job seekers find work via popular app Clubhouse
  • The Clubhouse app has grown from having more than 3.5 million global downloads in February 2020 to reaching 8.1 million by Feb. 16 this year

JEDDAH: A group of recruitment experts in Saudi Arabia have joined forces to launch a jobs initiative via a popular new audio-only app.
The six volunteers have been giving up three hours a day to speak with job seekers on the Clubhouse social networking platform which is rapidly becoming a go-to staging post for connecting users with the country’s employers.
The team’s Employment Forum Initiative chat room aims to help link people with recruitment specialists and businesses throughout the Kingdom.
The forum is among a number of rooms set up on Clubhouse — that in recent weeks has been among the top three most popular social media apps in Saudi Arabia and worldwide — to discuss labor market needs, job interview techniques, freelancing opportunities, and other employment-related issues.
One of the forum’s founders, Saleh Al-Sodmi, told Arab News: “We are a group of volunteers representing ourselves in this initiative where we united our love of giving and compassion to help people. We are providing assistance to our fellow citizens, which we consider a duty, not a favor.”
Al-Sodmi and his colleagues all work in the human resources and recruitment sector but have been sacrificing their time on a daily basis to help Clubhouse users in their hunt for jobs.


During the first five days of the initiative, the group helped more than 20 people to find employment and numerous others to get job interviews, and Al-Sodmi expected more success stories as the app’s network of HR and recruitment specialists grew.
“It began with two young sisters who were looking for a job and started a room in Clubhouse for that purpose. Gradually many people within the recruitment field joined, and we agreed to carry on such meetings on a daily basis,” he said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Employment Forum Initiative chat room aims to help link people with recruitment specialists and businesses throughout the Kingdom.

• The forum is among a number of rooms set up on Clubhouse — that in recent weeks has been among the top three most popular social media apps in Saudi Arabia and worldwide.

Between 700 and 1,000 users have been attending the group’s forums in recent days, and numbers are increasing.
According to a new report by mobile data and analytics firm App Annie, the Clubhouse app has grown from having more than 3.5 million global downloads in February 2020 to reaching 8.1 million by Feb. 16 this year.
Al-Sodmi added: “This initiative has shown how people love good and giving. Personally, all I want in return is an honest prayer. We can always help. Even when we do not have the proper job for the job seeker, we can still offer advice on how to improve their chances or overcome concerns.”
Maryam Saleh, a Clubhouse user, told Arab News: “I am truly fascinated with the idea, and I appreciate the moderators’ commitment to giving three hours of their time or sometimes more to help others.

We are providing assistance to our fellow citizens, which we consider a duty, not a favor.

Saleh Al-Sodmi, Co-founder

“I found out about it from my friend; I hope it grows further and helps young people to get the opportunities they deserve, especially those, like me, who graduated in these difficult times amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Al-Sodmi said Clubhouse had helped users reach out to a wider audience and connect with people that were not as easily accessible via social media platforms.
“For instance, Clubhouse allowed the influencers’ privilege to dissolve and helped the different groups of societies to truly mingle amongst themselves and talk to each other.


“We have seen artists, economists, and CEOs connecting and interacting with the public easily and comfortably,” he added.
Hanan bin Fantokh, another volunteer recruitment specialist within the employment initiative, told Arab News that the platform has helped save recruiters’ time finding candidates and conducting initial interviews.
“It has also helped people break through their fear barrier by allowing them to introduce and market themselves publicly. It also helped many enhance their dialogue and persuasion skills.
“On the jobs front, many have started getting interviews, and some have signed contracts. However, the availability of jobs is less than the number of job seekers,” she added.


‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns
A Saudi woman walks on a social distancing marker at a shopping center, as preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 3, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 35 min 34 sec ago

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns
  • Makkah police arrest 13 people for violating isolation, quarantine instructions

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced on Sunday that authorities have detected a surge of “worrying” behaviors in the Kingdom since the beginning of Ramadan, warning citizens to avoid ignoring anti-coronavirus health measures.

At a joint press conference between the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, MoI spokesperson Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub warned that the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom could potentially lead to citywide lockdowns, as well as the banning of certain activities.
“We must cooperate and not trivialize the dangers. We do not want to have to resort to tough measures,” he said.
Al-Shalhoub added that the Kingdom was continuing to crack down on rule-breakers and those who violate safety precautions, including people using social media to spread misinformation about safety measures and ways to circumvent them.
Meanwhile, Makkah’s regional police spokesman said that 13 people were arrested in Jeddah and Taif for violating isolation and quarantine instructions after they tested positive for coronavirus.
Preliminary legal procedures were taken against them and their cases were referred to the Public Prosecution. The MoI previously warned that violators will face up to a two-year prison sentence, a fine of up to SR200,000 ($53,300), or both.
Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly revealed that the Kingdom has seen a slight rise in the percentage of women contracting coronavirus, warning that the number of women coming forward to be vaccinated was lower than expected.
“We have also seen a rise in the number of female cases that become critical and end up needing intensive care. Women also make up 55 percent of the overall number of cases in the Kingdom,” he said.
The MoH announced that 917 new coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday, raising the total number of cases to 404,970.
There are now 9,445 active cases, 1,044 of which are in critical care.

INNUMBERS

404,970 Total cases

388,702 Recoveries

6,823 Deaths

Of the new cases, 402 were in Riyadh, 203 in Makkah and 131 in the Eastern Province. Baha and Jouf reported the lowest cases on Saturday, with just six cases each.
Al-Aly said that appointments for second vaccine doses would be automatically updated, following news that some appointments had been canceled. The Saudi strategy aims to immunize the largest number of people possible with at least the first dose, Al-Aly added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that more than 15 million people have benefited from its Eatmarna app.
The ministry said that only people who have taken at least the first dose of the vaccine will be permitted to perform Umrah, or pray at either the Grand Mosque in Makkah or the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Violators will be prosecuted for attempting to perform the pilgrimage without the proper permissions, officials said, adding that authorities are encouraging safety precautions in order to ensure safe, smooth, and seamless pilgrimages for all visitors.
There were 907 new recoveries reported in the Kingdom, raising the total number of recoveries over the course of the pandemic to 388,702. The Kingdom’s death toll rose to 6,823 after 13 new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded.
Almost 7.1 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Saudi Arabia so far.


Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework
Updated 2 min 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework
  • Chad is the first country to ask for debt overhaul under G20 common framework
  • It is expected to be a model for dealing with similar issues in the future

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has co-chaired the first creditor committee meeting to help Chad restructure its debts under a new G20 framework.
Chad requested the restructuring in January as it struggles with a high debt burden exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chad is the first country to request the restructuring under the new Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The framework was agreed in November by the G20 under Saudi Arabia’s presidency.
The meeting was also co-chaired by France and attended by the secretariat of the Paris Club and representatives from China, India, the IMF and the World Bank.
Saudi Arabia, which was represented by the finance ministry, affirmed its support for the successful implementation of the common framework and the important role of the IMF and international banks during this process.
The Kingdom said the meeting was important as it is the first test of the common framework for debt treatment, which is expected to be a model for dealing with similar issues in the future.


KSrelief chief meets Swedish envoy for Yemen

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
Updated 17 min 58 sec ago

KSrelief chief meets Swedish envoy for Yemen

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
  • KSrelief also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets to Lebanon and Pakistan

RIYADH: The General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah met with Sweden’s special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby in Riyadh.
During the meeting, Al-Rabeeah, who is also adviser at the Royal Court, reviewed the 590 humanitarian and relief projects that the Kingdom has carried out through the center in Yemen.
Both sides also discussed matters of common interest related to humanitarian and relief affairs in Yemen and the efforts made to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Semneby praised the pioneering role provided by the Kingdom through KSrelief in support of countries in need, and the special attention given to the Yemeni people.
Meanwhile, KSrelief distributed more than 27 tons of food baskets to displaced families in Yemen’s Marib governorate, benefiting 1,554 individuals. 
The center also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets to Syrian and Palestinian refugees and Lebanese families in Lebanon.
About 1,000 Ramadan food baskets were distributed in the Katarmaya area in Mount Lebanon, benefiting 5,000 people.
The center also distributed 1,713 Ramadan food baskets in Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon, Arsal in northern Bekaa and Jiyeh in Mount Lebanon, benefiting 8,500 individuals.
KSrelief also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets in Pakistan. Nearly 1,200 Ramadan food baskets were distributed in the Sibi and Qalat districts of Balochistan region, benefiting 7,056 individuals.
KSrelief has implemented 1,556 projects worth more than $5 billion in 59 countries. The initiatives have been carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.
According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.53 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($305 million) and Somalia ($203 million).


Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah celebrates International Day for Monuments and Sites 

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah celebrates International Day for Monuments and Sites 
Diriyah holds a number of historic sites that bore witness to the development of the Saudi state. (SPA)
Updated 48 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah celebrates International Day for Monuments and Sites 

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah celebrates International Day for Monuments and Sites 
  • Salwa Palace is a symbol of the rise of the Al-Saud family to unify the present-day Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: In celebration of UNESCO’s International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18, Arab News highlights one of the Kingdom’s oldest and most cherished sites: Diriyah, capital of the first Saudi state and birthplace of the ruling family.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is racing to finalize its plans to make the site the “Jewel of the Kingdom.”
Restoration of historic Diriyah will reflect Saudi Arabia’s remarkable past, maintain the area’s landmarks and highlight its history.
The Diriyah Gate giga-project was launched in November 2019 by King Salman, who has regarded it as special since he was governor of the region.

HIGHLIGHT

The Diriyah Gate giga-project was launched in November 2019 by King Salman, who has regarded it as special since he was governor of the region. Restoration of historic Diriyah will reflect Saudi Arabia’s remarkable past, maintain the area’s landmarks and highlight its history. 

“Diriyah holds a number of historic sites that bore witness to the development of the Saudi state,” said DGDA spokesman Thamer Al-Sudairi. He described Diriyah as “a symbol of unity of the land.”
Nestled between the bend of Wadi Hanifa and considered one of Diriyah’s oldest neighborhoods, At-Turaif holds prominence with over 300 years of history etched on the mud-brick walls that dot the area. Salwa Palace is a symbol of the rise of the Al-Saud family to unify the present-day Kingdom.


The seven grand mountains of Makkah

The seven grand mountains of Makkah
Makkah is rich in mountains related to Islamic history. These include Jabal Al-Nour, Mount Thowr, Mount Arafat and other mountains that reflect the cultural values of the holy city, which is what distinguishes it from other cities. (Supplied)
Updated 28 min 21 sec ago

The seven grand mountains of Makkah

The seven grand mountains of Makkah
  • Natural features overlooking the Grand Mosque bear testimony to history

MAKKAH: If only mountains could talk. For centuries, Makkah, a holy city in the middle of large grey bouldered mountains, has witnessed thousands of historical events over several millennia and undergone many stages of development, sheltering millions throughout the years.

Surrounded by seven distinct mountains, the once bare land located in a valley where no plants can grow holds the holiest site in Islam, the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah. It has drawn people from all walks of life to settle and develop a city of mixed cultures, races, backgrounds, sects and traditions.
Inhabitants of Makkah grew into the habit of climbing the mountains from Al-Misfalah neighborhood and descending from the Al-Mallah area of the Grand Mosque through the valley known as Ibrahim Al-Khalil.
Dr. Mansur Al-Daajani, a history researcher, told Arab News about Makkah’s most famous mountains. Abu Qubays mountain is considered one of the pillars of Makkah and lies east of the Grand Mosque. It is said that this was the first mountain elevated on Earth and overlooks Kaaba. In the days before Islam, the mountain was called “Al-Amin” (the trustworthy), and was where the Kaaba’s black stone was stored in the year of the Genesis flood.
The second is the Khandama mountain, located behind the Qubays mountain.
The third, the Quaiqian mountain, or Jabal Hindi, lies west of the Grand Mosque. It was called Quaiqian due to the clanking of swords during the battle between the tribes of Jurhum and Katura, according to the history books of Makkah.
One of the more famous mountains located northeast of the city is Jabal Al-Nour, “the Mountain of Light,” where the cave of Hira lies and where the Prophet Muhammad received the first of his many revelations.
Another important mountain noted in the history books and Holy Qur’an is Thowr. Located 3 km from the Holy Kaaba, it is where the Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr sought refuge when fleeing to Madinah from the Quraysh tribe.
Located to the west of the mosque, Jabal Omar extends from Al-Shabika to Al-Misfalah neighborhoods and is where many worshippers are housed in hotels and apartment houses nowadays due to its close proximity to the mosque.
The last of the seven mountains is Mount Thabir. Located opposite Jabal Al-Nour to the east, it is believed to be where the scapegoat was sent to Ismail, son of Abraham. The mountain is divided into many regions, such as Thabir Ghinaa, Thabir Al-Nakhil (Thabir of Palms), Thabir Al-Nusu and Thabir Al-Aaraj.

Landmarks
The Abu Qubays, Khandama, Al-Sayeda, Jabal Omar and Quaiqian mountains are landmarks with a long history. Over time, the many homes and slums that covered their slopes became an issue for development planners in the region. The preservation of the city’s identity was a concern and returning these mountains to their correct state is a continuing project for the city’s future development.
Anas Saleh Serafi, head of the real estate committee at Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News that the process of developing and building on the mountains surrounding the Grand Mosque is important in accommodating the increasing number of Muslims visiting the site and in continuing the expansion plans of the Grand Mosque but in a manner that will ensure that they are preserved within technical parameters.
Serafi said that Jabal Hindi, north of the Grand Mosque, was the first to be developed, where the “Northern Terraces” project was executed to facilitate climbing on its slopes while preserving it and developing the buildings on top of it. The same applies to Jabal Omar, which lies 600 meters north of the mosque, and includes the small market and part of Al-Misfalah neighborhood. He added that rocks were cut to allow for the expansion of the Grand Mosque and for facilitating access to the visitors of holy places.

‘The old houses of Makkah should be preserved, painted and rehabilitated.’

He said that Makkah is rich in mountains related to Islamic history and heritage. These include Jabal Al-Nour — where the Cave of Hira lies — Mount Thowr, Mount Arafat and other mountains that reflect the cultural values of the holy city, which is what distinguishes it from other cities.
Serafi said that a number of violations had occurred in the past, including building in unauthorized areas in some of Makkah’s mountains, the expansion of slums, and the damage caused by quarries on top of the mountains surrounding the highway leading to Makkah.
“This contributes to staining the beauty and nature of the place, and distorts the image for visitors,” Serafi said. “There should be moderation in developing the mountains of Makkah so as not to stop the necessary development operations and at the same time not to indiscriminately damage this topography that reflects the historical identity of the city, its structure and essence. The ultimate objective is to preserve these mountains, which are deeply rooted in history.”
History researcher, Dr. Samir Barqah, told Arab News that Makkah, with its mountains, has a geographical and historical identity related to events, stories, and facts documented in history.
Barqah said that in some countries, such as Italy and Greece, houses are clustered on top of mountains and still have all the necessary services and infrastructure; they are easily accessible, and have hospitals and schools. He said that Makkah is distinguished by its distinct geographical characteristics, and that its identity and cultural potential should be reflected through its mountain ranges and its building designs.
He said: “Our role as Saudis is to present the identity of Makkah to the world including its historical landmarks and characteristics. This is what officials are trying to do as we saw slums invading the mountains near the Cave of Hira and Jabal Thowr, noting that today we are witnessing the rehabilitation of these two mountains by rendering easy access to them and by giving special care to the holy sites of Muslims, which entails cooperation from all.”
Barqah said that the old houses of Makkah should be preserved, painted and rehabilitated, especially the ones that do not obstruct the development operation in the central region, for they reflect the authentic culture of Makkah and satisfy the curiosity of any visitor who is passionate about history.