MAKKAH: A Saudi scholarship student has launched a website dedicated to volunteering called riyadea.academy, adopting some 200 volunteer initiatives in Britain.
More than 100 volunteers of various nationalities have signed up to implement volunteer initiatives and support the British people.
Website organizer and scholarship student Raihan Jumah recently vaccinated more than 400 people against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including Saudi, Gulf and Arab students.
Jumah told Arab News that she started studying English and the preparatory year in the UK in 2010. After that, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in international business administration with distinction and honors, together with certificates of excellence from the Saudi Cultural Attaché at the Saudi Embassy in London.
Jumah completed her master’s degree in the same discipline at the University of Westminster, graduating with honors as one of the top five students in her class.
I did volunteer work in the best way possible through official institutions and individuals.
Her graduation project focused on entrepreneurial women in Saudi Arabia.
Now studying for a Ph.D. at the University of Reading’s Henley Business School, Jumah said that she acquired the culture of volunteer work from the Saudi environment.
“I did volunteer work in the best way possible through official institutions and individuals.”
She said that volunteering is part of daily life for Saudis, adding that being a volunteer in a country where you are studying has many advantages, the most important of which is that it helps the student to be actively involved in other societies.
Jumah volunteered in several fields for technology company Green Towers, such as in sustainability, renewable energy, biofuels and academic fields.
She also attended forums for horses in Britain and other sporting events, including rowing, rugby, cricket, horse-racing, football and tennis. “I was keen to represent Saudi Arabia well in international forums,” she said.
Jumah moved to university volunteering and traveled with the university on several occasions, including a trip to the UAE for leadership training.
She also volunteered in the real estate industry in the UK, describing her work as “a very important opportunity to emulate the Saudi vision 2030 in its most important pillar: Volunteering.”
During the past 10 years, she was keen on five important occasions: The National Day, the Arabic Language Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and the Islamic New Year’s Day, which are windows for volunteer work in the UK “through which we were able to crystallize the cultural concepts of our country and its great role in human contributions at all levels and in different fields.”
Jumah said that her voluntary leadership website in the UK helped open new opportunities for voluntary work in Britain.
The website consists of a voluntary work team and includes scholarship students from all over the world, including New Zealand, the US, and Australia.
During the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, Riyadea’s volunteer team launched virtual celebrations via Zoom. So far, they have virtually celebrated events such as Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and Global Arabic Language Day.
The volunteer team also initiated virtual academic meetings with their supervisors under the title “My supervisor and I,” where they meet academics in a virtual friendly setting to discuss postgraduate matters, encourage and maintain interactions between members of the academic community and to gain additional training and create professional connections.
The volunteer team is also producing live webinars for Ph.D. students. The main goal of this initiative is to provide inspiration and support to current and potential Ph.D. students and to generate productive discussions about how to tackle the common challenges.
“We were keen to highlight the student’s role in activating the cultural and social role at the academic level and various disciplines. It works within 200 initiatives and has more than 100 volunteers,” she said.
Jumah received her training at Oxford University and said it was one of the most important stages in her life. She used to encourage scholarship students to apply for approved volunteering. “In the UK, there are real opportunities for approved volunteering in the sites designated for them within large companies.”
She hopes to attract international companies in renewable energy, biofuels, real estate development, and the reduction of the use of carbon in architecture.