Mataya Exhibition showcases significance of camel heritage in Saudi Arabia

In ancient times, the Arabs used to say: ‘Camels are the ships of the land, their hides are like sacks, their meat is nourishing, their dung serves as fuel and their value is akin to gold.’ (AN photo by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub)
In ancient times, the Arabs used to say: ‘Camels are the ships of the land, their hides are like sacks, their meat is nourishing, their dung serves as fuel and their value is akin to gold.’ (AN photo by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub)
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Updated 02 January 2024
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Mataya Exhibition showcases significance of camel heritage in Saudi Arabia

Mataya Exhibition showcases significance of camel heritage in Saudi Arabia
  • Camels are the optimal means of transport as they can endure harsh weather, long journeys, scarcity of water, challenging terrains and heavy loads better than any other animal

RIYADH: The Mataya Exhibition is taking visitors on a journey through the significance of the camel in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.

The exhibition, which is part of the eighth King Abdulaziz Camel Festival organized by the Saudi Camel Club, opened on Dec. 1 and will run for 45 days.

Exhibition supervisor Salman Al-Ajmi told Arab News: “The exhibition is called Mataya because, unlike horses, camels are very sturdy and majestic creatures that can carry weight and endure exhaustion more than any other animal in the region.”




(AN Photo by Abulrhman Bin Shalhoub)

There are about 17 million camels in the Arab world, of which 7.1 million are in Somalia and 4.8 million in Sudan.

Of the 1.6 million camels in Saudi Arabia, 322,579 are in the Riyadh region, 256,079 in the Eastern region, 200,241 in Makkah, 144,486 in Qassim and 131,606 in Asir.

In ancient times, the Arabs used to say: “Camels are the ships of the land, their hides are like sacks, their meat is nourishing, their dung serves as fuel and their value is akin to gold.”

FASTFACTS

• Event runs until mid-January.

• Saudi Arabia is home to about 1.6m camels.

Al-Ajmi said people believe camels are better than all other animals because they provide milk and meat, and can carry heavy loads and people.

Camels play a vital role in the Arab economy, serving as a medium of exchange for goods, gifts to rulers, dowries for brides, blood money for the families of the murder victims, rewards for achievers and heroes and wages for laborers and servants.

“These majestic beings were employed in various professions, including drawing water from wells, pressing sesame seeds for oil extraction, and transporting goods, as their caretakers sought skilled individuals for their care,” Al-Ajmi said.




(AN Photo by Abulrhman Bin Shalhoub)

Camels are the optimal means of transport as they can endure harsh weather, long journeys, scarcity of water, challenging terrains and heavy loads better than any other animal.

Their meat is a favored delicacy among Arabs and their milk is a natural substitute for human milk as it has a lower fat content and higher vitamin C levels than other animals’ milk.

Camel milk, known for its natural anti-coagulant properties, helps expel germs from the body, protects against bacteria and aids in the treatment of various illnesses.

Camel hair is used by Arabs to make clothes and tents.




(AN Photo by Abulrhman Bin Shalhoub)

In ancient times, camels were used to carry military leaders and their armies and were a cause of conflict between tribes. They were sometimes paid as ransom for prisoners and in exchange for protection.

In the past, Arabs prioritized teaching their children how to ride and tame camels. Camel bones were even used for educational purposes in writing, as evidenced by archaeological findings displaying verses from the Holy Qur’an written on camel shoulder bones.

The male camel is known as a “jamal” and the female a “naagah.”




(AN Photo by Abulrhman Bin Shalhoub)

The practice of naming camels reflects the strong connection Arabs have with the animals and is similar to how they name their children. Camels are given names corresponding to their specific characteristics, appearance and functions.

“Camels possess numerous aesthetic qualities that set them apart, and their prices vary based on these qualities. Different types of camels have distinctive aesthetic features,” Al-Ajmi said.

A large head and longer lips enhance beauty, and a raised nose adds to the overall appeal.

“The longer the neck, the higher its arch, and the wider the throat, the more beautiful the camel,” Al-Ajmi said.

The exhibition also display some of the adornments and accessories required for riding a camel.

Al-Hawdaj is an ornate chamber placed on the camel’s back for women to ride. It has four supports and fabric doors. Al-Haniy is a special saddle for warriors engaged in battle while riding camels. Al-Masaamah is a wooden tool strapped to the camel’s back to carry and secure loads.

Established in 2018, Saudi Camel Sports manages and governs all camel racing events in the Kingdom.

A royal decree was issued in 2017 to establish the Camel Club, overseen by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. It focuses on all scientific and operational aspects related to camels by nurturing and developing the camel sector and innovating investment opportunities.

In 2019, the International Camel Organization was established with its headquarters in Riyadh.

 


How a Saudi startup is using AI to boost the efficiency and uptake of solar energy

How a Saudi startup is using AI to boost the efficiency and uptake of solar energy
Updated 19 July 2024
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How a Saudi startup is using AI to boost the efficiency and uptake of solar energy

How a Saudi startup is using AI to boost the efficiency and uptake of solar energy
  • OptimalPV addresses the high costs and inefficiency of solar PV systems by leveraging AI in the design phase
  • Its software uses algorithms to determine the optimal number and placement of solar panels on buildings 

RIYADH: Mindful of their carbon footprint, a growing number of people are opting to power their homes and businesses with solar photovoltaic systems rather than traditional energy sources. One Saudi startup is leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to help increase uptake.

Solar PV systems are a type of renewable energy technology that converts sunlight into electricity, making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel-generated electricity. 

Despite the numerous benefits of transitioning to solar energy, including cost savings on electricity bills and greater environmental sustainability, the upfront investment required can be a significant barrier to wider adoption.

Abdulelah Habib, CEO and founder of OptimalPV, a distributive solar design startup founded in 2023, told Arab News that the high capital cost for solar systems is primarily due to the expensive materials required. 

“This includes high-quality solar panels, inverters, and other essential components,” he said.

With recent advances in technology, solar PV systems are becoming more efficient and cost-effective, making them a popular choice for homeowners and businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs.

From solar panels on rooftops to large-scale solar farms in the desert, Saudi Arabia has embraced renewable energy sources to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. The country aims to install 50 GW of solar capacity by 2030. 

However, if the government wants to make good on its commitment to encourage the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, it will need to find ways to make the technology more affordable and accessible to the general population. 

“The company was founded to address the challenges of high costs and inefficiency in traditional solar PV system installations, aiming to make solar power more accessible and cost-effective through advanced artificial intelligence technology,” Habib said. 

An AI-equipped robot helps install solar panels. (Shutterstock image)

OptimalPV’s AI-powered software automates the design of solar PV systems by using 3D modeling and optimization algorithms to create the most efficient and cost-effective layout without needing a site visit.

“While the installation and warranty costs are comparatively low, the operation and maintenance costs can be negligible over the 25-year lifespan of the system,” Habib said.

Unlike traditional systems that require manual design and site inspections, OptimalPV’s AI software optimizes the design process to reduce costs

OptimalPV’s AI-powered software automates the design of solar PV systems by using 3D modeling and optimization algorithms. (Supplied)

“The software uses advanced algorithms to determine the optimal number and placement of panels, considering factors like shading, orientation and solar irradiation,” Habib said.

Supported by The Garage, a tech startup incubator hosted by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, and the Royal Commission of Riyadh City, the company provides solutions for both residential and commercial buildings. 

By providing information, addressing concerns about cost and installation, and offering incentives for adopting solar energy, OptimalPV encourages more individuals to take advantage of this renewable energy source. 

Not only does it reduce installation costs. OptimalPV also maximizes the return on investment for homeowners. 

“The company’s advanced design optimizes the efficiency and capacity of rooftop solar systems, making them capable of meeting high electricity demands in urban areas like Riyadh,” Habib said.

A new startup, The Garage focuses on local and international startups, scouting and inviting them to join The Garage’s programs and events. (Supplied)

“By optimizing the system design for maximum efficiency, many houses can potentially meet their full electricity needs through PV systems designed by OptimalPV.”

Habib said that by reducing upfront costs and ensuring maximum efficiency, OptimalPV helps homeowners to save more on electricity bills and achieve a quicker payback period.

OptimalPV also supports homeowners, local governments and the private sector throughout the process, from the initial feasibility study to post-installation monitoring. 

“Customers can use an online tool to generate a feasibility report, including expected monthly savings and payback period,” Habib said.

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The company helps customers to find affordable financing options, where they are matched with trusted service providers for installation.

When it comes to post-installation monitoring, OptimalPV monitors the system’s performance to ensure it operates efficiently.

As Saudi Arabia continues to invest in solar energy infrastructure, it is start-ups such as these that are helping to pave the way for a cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy future.
 

 


Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar
Updated 19 July 2024
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Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

Review: Curva Pilates Studio in Alkhobar

There’s a new way to stay fit in Alkhobar this summer with the recent opening of Curva Pilates earlier this month.

The women-only studio is situated on the second floor of an indiscreet building, marked with the letter A on the outside. It is an ideal place to spend an hour using the reformer Pilates machine, either in a solo session or with a group class. There is limited parking directly outside of the studio space.

Pilates, which is a form of exercise developed by the German Joseph Pilates in the 20th century, helps combat health issues and increases flexibility. It was originally designed to help soldiers gain strength by attaching springs to hospital beds to create resistance. If you have ever done yoga or ballet or gymnastics, you might enjoy this process — but it is its own thing.

You may opt to message their account on Instagram, where you will be asked to provide your name and phone number, after which you will receive a welcome message on WhatsApp, with the class details and some ground rules. “For your safety and to keep up our hygiene standards, you should always make sure to wear Pilates socks when taking a class,” it says.

Once entering the serene space, decorated with fresh flowers and the refreshing scent of lemon detox water, which is free for all customers, you will be given an electronic key to a locker where you can securely place your handbag. You can keep the key with you and return it at the end of your visit. There are hooks to hang your abayas and a shoe cubby.

If you do not have Pilates socks you may use regular ones. And, in case you forget to push your hair back, there are hair clips available in the mirror area to use, and wet wipes at the ready, should you wish to freshen-up before or after your session.

You may take a session with Coach Lubna, who is fair and balanced. For first-timers, she asks whether they have any body ailments they need to be aware of — do they have any existing body aches or injuries, any surgeries or issues with their back, shoulders, arms or legs.

Lubna explains every step briefly, and makes the experience enjoyable. The reformer machine is not hard to use and is ideal for any fitness level.

She makes sure to ask for feedback and listens to all comments and concerns. Lubna believes that consistency is what matters most — no matter what level you are on — and recommends visitors try the reformer three times per week.

Reformer classes at Curva can be purchased either per session for SR175 ($46) each, or in a package for a slightly better rate. Five sessions go for SR850, 10 sessions for SR1,650 and two other package options are available — for 15 sessions and 20.

There is a 10 percent discount for college students and a 10 percent discount for Aramco staff.

While it has become a global trend, this enduring form of exercise that emphasizes core strength, flexibility and overall body awareness is not yet widely practiced in the Eastern Province. Curva is there to change that.

Find them at CurvaPilates.com or on their Instagram, @CurvaPilates.


KSrelief runs medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

KSrelief runs medical projects in Sudan, Yemen
Updated 18 July 2024
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KSrelief runs medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

KSrelief runs medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief continues to provide healthcare for vulnerable people in Sudan and Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The project in Port Sudan for urology surgery, from July 13 to 20, involves 11 volunteers with training in various specialities.
The team members have already completed six surgeries.
A similar project is currently being implemented for orthopedic surgery in the Seiyun district of Yemen’s Hadhramaut governorate, with seven operations already completed.
Recently, the agency started a training program for people supervising orphans in Hadramout in coordination with the country’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.


Saudi Red Crescent in Makkah region puts in almost 80,000 volunteer hours during second quarter

Saudi Red Crescent in Makkah region puts in almost 80,000 volunteer hours during second quarter
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Red Crescent in Makkah region puts in almost 80,000 volunteer hours during second quarter

Saudi Red Crescent in Makkah region puts in almost 80,000 volunteer hours during second quarter

JEDDAH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority in the Makkah region revealed its volunteer statistics for the second quarter of 2024, with the number of volunteer hours reaching 79,128.

It said the volunteer opportunities ranged from providing first-aid services to worshippers in the courtyards of the Holy Mosque in Makkah to national occasions, international days, events, humanitarian aid, and sports events.

Additionally, several first-aid courses were held to train male and female volunteers.

The authority indicated that Makkah has the largest number of volunteer initiatives with 273 opportunities, followed by the Jeddah governorate with 207 and the Taif governorate third with 104 opportunities.

The volunteer medical staff included several specialties, most notably consultants, general practitioners, and emergency medicine doctors. The authority emphasized its commitment to developing its volunteers by organizing specialized courses and training them in line with the authority’s mission and work.


Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University

Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University
Updated 18 July 2024
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Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University

Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University

RIYADH: Staff at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University recently had the chance to take part in a series of training programs to help them develop their own training and development skills, and prepare more effective training resources.

A six-day “Training of Trainers” program, provided by the university’s Deanship of Quality and Development, included topics such as theories of learning and their effects on training; the needs of the trainer; development of the communication model and communication skills; and the design of training materials.

It also covered management of the training process and the evaluation of performance, along with development of the skills required for managing workshops and conducting training sessions, and how to research information in support of training.

The deanship also provided a three-day “Preparation of Training Packages” program. This addressed the practical aspects of preparing a training program that effectively familiarize trainees with the required principles and standards of quality. It included topics such as development of a curriculum, setting objectives, training methods, and the types and organization of programs.

Officials said the initiative forms part of the deanship’s efforts to help achieve the university’s Strategic Plan 2025, the aim of which is to achieve excellence in teaching and learning through professional support, career guidance, and improved knowledge and skills.