The Grand Mosque’s volunteers — a culture loved by Saudis

The areas in which the volunteers work varied from translation to helping the elderly use transportation services (electric vehicles). (Supplied)
The areas in which the volunteers work varied from translation to helping the elderly use transportation services (electric vehicles). (Supplied)
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Updated 26 April 2022

The Grand Mosque’s volunteers — a culture loved by Saudis

The areas in which the volunteers work varied from translation to helping the elderly use transportation services (electric vehicles). (Supplied)
  • ‘Volunteer work is honorable and constitutes a main pillar of the society’

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques recently announced that thousands of volunteers are working at the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

The areas in which those volunteers work varied from translation to helping the elderly use transportation services (electric vehicles). The volunteers were recruited through the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s national platform for volunteer work.

This came at a time when the Saudi Red Crescent announced that 1,728 of its personnel, including doctors, specialists and medics, will be volunteering at the Grand Mosque during Ramadan. They efficiently provided the Grand Mosque’s visitors with emergency care services through 18 main emergency care stations, along with additional sub-stations that covered the remaining parts of the mosque.

NUMBER

20,736

volunteering hours were recorded, while volunteers responded to 1,650 cases of sickness.

So far 20,736 volunteering hours were recorded, while volunteers responded to 1,650 cases of sickness. However, most of the cases that they responded to were mild ones caused by exhaustion.

The Red Crescent volunteers are stationed alongside the main emergency care teams in the Grand Mosque’s Mataf area, Al-Masaa area, first and second floors, squares and corridors.

Some cases are transported to the Grand Mosque’s clinics, while the majority of those seeking emergency care are treated on-site.

These efforts are a continuation of the volunteer work that started many years ago at the Grand Mosque. The volunteers increase their presence at the Grand Mosque to help distribute iftar meals to pilgrims and worshippers in cooperation with the authorities.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority is increasing the number of volunteer opportunities available every year to reach 1 million volunteers in 2030, which is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its objectives.

Dr. Mustafa Jameel Baljoon, Director-general of the Red Crescent in Makkah region

Dr. Mustafa Jameel Baljoon, director-general of the Red Crescent in Makkah Region, stressed the importance of volunteer work.

He told Arab News: “It promotes the sense of responsibility among our young men and women as volunteer work strengthens the sense of belonging to the society and lets our youth feel how important it is to participate and help build the homeland and serve the Grand Mosque’s visitors, which reflects positively on capacity building.”

“The Saudi Red Crescent Authority is increasing the number of volunteer opportunities available every year to reach one million volunteers in 2030, which is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its objectives,” he said.

Ehsan Hawsawi, a volunteer with the l2jlkyawatan (For the Homeland) team, said that “volunteer work is honorable and constitutes a main pillar of the society, especially during Ramadan, which embodies the values of giving, solidarity and cooperation.”

“It aims to leave a great impact in the hearts of the visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, teach the generations the dimensions of this work along with its interactive and cultural values, and incorporate the concepts of innovation and diversity in religious, cultural, social, health and tourism-related volunteer work,” she said.

Abeer Fakirah, leader of Hur Makkah Volunteer Team, said: “We continue to give in the country of good deeds. Humans, by nature, cannot live alone. They need to be a part of a society and with a group of people, whether at home, place of study or place of work. This is the case because the social characteristics are among the human traits. Common sense always calls on humans to do good and indefinitely put evil aside.”

She said that volunteer work was considered one of the prominent sources of good deeds because it helped reflect a positive image of society, and revealed its prosperity and how much good morals were spread among its members.

“Hur Makkah Volunteer Team has contributed every year and this year to serving the visitors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque. It has helped provide first aid services and organizational services in support of some bodies that were entrusted with ensuring the safety and security of the mosque’s visitors,” she said.

Fakirah said that 30,000 pilgrims and visitors had benefitted from the team’s services, while the number of male and female service providers from the team reached 145 people. “This constitutes a very small portion of what our homeland deserves.”

Fakirah said that “our goal is to be rewarded by God for our good deeds until Makkah becomes the first city in the world.”


Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen
  • Initiatives include 17 development projects in 6 sectors, valued at $400 million
  • A further $200 million will provide oil derivatives to operate power stations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced a number of vital developmental projects in Yemen to bolster the economy, the Kingdom’s deputy defense minister said on Thursday.

“The initiatives include 17 development projects in 6 sectors, valued at $400 million, in addition to $200 million in oil derivatives for power stations,” Prince Khalid bin Salman tweeted.

The projects will be carried out by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen and aim to help the Yemeni people.

Prince Khalid met with the President of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi and members of the council to convey the Kingdom’s support and appreciation for their efforts.

The deputy defense minister said Saudi Arabia is committed to alleviating the suffering in Yemen and achieving security, peace, stability, and economic development.


Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com
  • Local artisans will be able access to a larger consumer audience through the Noon Mahali program

RIYADH: The Heritage Commission on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement with Noon, an online shopping platform, to empower local businesses in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

A ceremony was held at the Commission's headquarters to commemorate this partnership, which was attended by Heritage Commission CEO Dr. Jasir Suleiman Alherbish and General Manager of Noon KSA, Ahmed Abdel Qader Gadouri.

Under this agreement, Saudi artisans will be able to sell craft products and cultural heritage content online, gaining access to a larger audience through Noon's Mahali program.

The program also aims to assist local entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses improve their product quality.

Dr. Alherbish thanked Noon for its cooperation, emphasizing the significant benefits gained through the agreement.

He also made note of the Commission's numerous initiatives to develop the handicraft sector, such as training programs and providing a consumer audience through outlets, exhibitions, events, and festivals.

"Our collaboration with the Heritage Commission demonstrates our ongoing commitment to assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Mahali program helps local talent grow their businesses by providing them with the tools and services they need to reach a larger segment of customers in the region." Gadouri said.

The Noon Mahali program exemplifies the company's founding goal of empowering local talent through the development of a strong e-commerce platform.

The agreement is part of the Heritage Commission's broader efforts to strengthen partnerships with the public and private sectors as part of the Kingdom's cultural sector development.


Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future
  • The Kingdom’s Architecture and Design Commission took part in the recent forum with a display featuring the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism
  • Among the charter’s aims is the creation of memorable buildings and spaces that integrate cultural and national identity

RIYADH: An exhibition outlining Saudi Arabia’s future urbanization strategy may inspire a new community-focused approach to architecture following its debut at the 11th World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland.

The Kingdom’s Architecture and Design Commission took part in the recent forum with a display featuring the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism, launched late last year to help develop the sector as part of Vision 2030.

King Salman’s architectural vision, developed during his five decades as governor of Riyadh region, was highlighted in the exhibition, which also showcased exemplary projects in the Kingdom.

Among the charter’s aims is the creation of memorable buildings and spaces that integrate cultural and national identity, as well as contemporary designs that meet the needs of local communities.

The commission hopes to increase awareness of the charter, and inspire architects and designers worldwide in line with the forum’s theme “Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future.”

A panel discussion on the charter brought together CEO of the Saudi Architecture and Design Commission Sumayah Al-Solaiman, founder of Dabbagh Architects Sumaya Dabbagh, and Arup Group’s director of master planning and urban design Daniel Ringelstein.

Al-Solaiman said: “Our participation at WUF 2022 opens new horizons for applying the charter and presents an excellent opportunity to introduce the international public to its methodology. By showcasing the ways in which the charter has already improved the built environment, we highlighted the range of circumstances in which the charter can be applied to improve quality of life not only in Saudi Arabia, but also further afield.”

This is the exhibition’s first international appearance after touring through five cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Abha, Jeddah, Dhahran and Madinah.

The World Urban Forum was established in 2001 by the UN to examine the growing global issue of rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and climate change.


First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
Updated 30 June 2022

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
  • The pilgrims’ entry procedures were completed with ease
  • Thursday marks the start of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the month during which Hajj is performed

RIYADH: The first group of Omani pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom through the Empty Quarter port ahead of Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Thursday marks the start of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the month during which Hajj is performed. The first day of Hajj, 8th of Dhu Al-Hijjah, will fall on July 7, and the pilgrimage will end on the 12th day of the month (July 11). Arafat Day falls on the 9th day of Dhu Al-Hijjah (July 8).

The pilgrims’ entry procedures were completed with ease, and the General Directorate of Passports is supporting sites designated to serve pilgrims with modern technical devices and qualified employees so that procedures are completed without delay, SPA said.


Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
  • Illegal online adverts included providing transportation to the holy sites securing sacrifices for pilgrims

RIYADH – Saudi authorities arrested 15 people in two separate operations for offering fraudulent Hajj-related services, state news agency (SPA) reported.

Makkah police arrested seven residents of different nationalities for promoting fake services on social media involving Hajj performed on behalf of others.

The illegal online adverts also included providing transportation to the holy sites and hotels, as well as securing and distributing sacrifices for pilgrims, according to the SPA statement.

In a separate operation, Riyadh police detained seven residents for offering fake transportation services for pilgrims to Makkah. Another resident was detained for running an unlicensed website in Riyadh to promote fraudulent Hajj campaigns.  

The fraudsters were detained and referred to public prosecution.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah earlier warned against suspicious sites and social media accounts offering unauthorized Hajj-related services, stressing that the ministry's online platforms are the only official channels to book Hajj campaigns inside the Kingdom.