RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced a $30 million grant to support the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund.
Operated under the umbrella of the Islamic Development Bank in coordination with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the AHTF grant will be provided through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and the Saudi Fund for Development.
Dr. Samer Al-Jetaily, KSrelief’s director of resources and investment, told Arab News that the money would be used toward “urgent” humanitarian work in Afghanistan.
Officials from the SFD and KSrelief handed over the donation during a signing ceremony held at the center’s headquarters in Riyadh.
The Afghan fund was established by the 57-nation OIC and the IsDB in March.
Al-Jetaily said: “The amount will go directly to the AHTF because there is an urgent need for humanitarian intervention right now in Afghanistan, so it should be an immediate deposit which should reflect in the efforts supporting humanitarian works in Afghanistan.
“There will be a quick action from the OIC so that we can see an impact and results as we know that the situation is deteriorating in Afghanistan. The humanitarian needs overview actually is very critical right now; there is an increase in poverty and people under the poverty line.
“The grant is one of the support efforts provided by Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan, including relief air and land bridges which were implemented to help the Afghan people.
“Afghanistan was also supported over the past decades with a number of projects, including in the humanitarian, health, education, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), and food security sectors. The total cost of these projects is more than SR1 billion.
“Saudi Arabia’s support means peace and stability in all regions, in all the states, and one of them is Afghanistan. The grant comes as part of the Kingdom’s mission to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people,” he added.
The fund was established with the aim of reducing the risks of deterioration of the critical humanitarian situation and possible economic collapse in Afghanistan, both of which could affect regional and international peace and stability.
Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and general supervisor of KSrelief, was among officials from the involved organizations present at the signing.
Saudi Arabia has provided Afghanistan with aid worth more than $266 million, through donations and relief programs, including projects focused on health, education, and water and food security.
JAZAN: Jazan province this winter is a hotbed of tourists searching for relaxation, walks through beautiful scenery, the chance to sample the region’s famous coffee — and even scouting investment opportunities in an expanding leisure industry.
A plan to build the province’s tourism economy was approved by Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, who is in charge of the Tourism Development Council in the Jazan region. Since then, the Jazan City Track and the Farasan Islands Track were approved as tourist hiking routes.
The Heritage Village, meanwhile, is an important tourist attraction. During a tour of the site by an Arab News team, the village’s Director Mohammed Ali said that it was popular due to its architectural style and its cultural heritage.
There are several historic buildings made of stone and mud that detail the historical way of life.
• The Jazan City Track and the Farasan Islands Track have been approved as tourist hiking routes.
• Women of Jazan sell traditional and handmade products at the Heritage Village.
• Visitors can take a ferry to the Farasan Islands, whose reserve was included in UNESCO’s ‘Man and the Biosphere Program.’
“The Jazan region has established a name for itself globally in every sphere, be it business, development, or tourism. In the Al-Raith governorate of the Global Islands, for example, there is one of the biggest model gardens in the world,” Ali said.
“In the mountainous governorates, coffee is grown, which UNESCO has called one of the best products in the world.”
According to Ali, the village, which spans 7,000 acres, is where the customs and traditions of the mountains, Tihama, and maritime environments come together in one location.
In the village marketplace, local resident Hamouda Hussain is one of a number of women selling traditional products.
“I have loved sewing since I was a child, and I am here selling my products, which are popular traditional clothes,” she told Arab News. “I also make oud mixtures and incense for the body. I see many tourists who come from everywhere to the heritage village and buy my products.
“Tourists flock more in the winter, spring break, founding day, and national day,” she added.
After visiting the village, visitors can take a ferry to the Farasan Islands, whose reserve is known for its diverse ecosystems and rare wildlife was included in the “Man and the Biosphere Program,” a UNESCO initiative.
The ferry captain’s assistant, Yousef Al-Seeni, said that nothing makes him happier than seeing visitors from all over the world come to the islands.
“We have received many tourists from around the world, and they are pleased with us because the sailing time is only an hour,” Al-Seeni said. As a result, they enjoy us as well as the view of the island and dolphins, as well as the opportunity to indulge in their favorite pastimes like diving, fishing, and a variety of sports like hiking and tasting the delectable seafood.”
Jazan and Farasan are famous for the trade in fish and pearls that are sold and exported to countries around the world due to the abundance of coastal beaches, which are rich in fish, shellfish, and seashells.
JEDDAH: A new Saudi choral group has been established to create and present Saudi and Arab classical songs.
The group, called Choralla — comprising six women and four men and led by Egyptian composer Dr. Karim Abdelaziz — recently performed its first concert at Al-Shallal Park Theater in Jeddah, attended by 350 people.
According to the choir’s chairman, Dr. Bander Arab, the young group of singers together possess the ability to perform ensemble pieces to a professional standard.
“We have brought together an amazing group of singers who have passion for great music. We’re already well into preparation for the inaugural program of concerts which we are sure will be very special occasions for us,” he said.
The band gathered a group of amateurs who are passionate about music and singing, and its goal is to present Arabic singing in a public concert every month. The group adopts the scientific method in its training, and promises its audience that they will leave the concert happy.
Bander Arab, Chairman, Choralla
“Since I was a child, I used to hum beautiful songs with myself, and I was fascinated by many musical instruments. At the same time, I learned to play and read musical notes. Despite my preoccupation over the past two decades with many leadership positions in the private and governmental sectors, I did not forget, even for a moment, this great passion that fascinated and controlled me.”
Arab told Arab News that the choir forms a unified, integrated sound texture, with dimensions that the solo voice cannot reach, so that listeners feels more pleasure when hearing performances of popular songs.
“Choral music is very different from solo singing. In choral music, you kind of have to agree that you’re going to work together,” explains Arab.
“The band gathered a group of amateurs who are passionate about music and singing, and its goal is to present Arabic singing in a public concert every month. The group adopts the scientific method in its training, and promises its audience that they will leave the concert happy,” he added.
Abdelaziz, who is also professor of music at the University of Alexandria, said: “I was struck by how the Saudi youth, who are amateurs, have a great spirit of challenge in executing one of the most difficult Arabic songs, such as ‘My Time of Time’ by Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab, which requires a great effort of training to unify the sound.”
RIYADH: Prince Faisal bin Bandar, governor of Riyadh and chairman of the board of directors of the Charitable Society for Orphan Care in the region, Insan, on Tuesday received a certificate granting the association the practice of humanitarian activity outside the Kingdom by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.
This came during his meeting with KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Suwailem, vice chairman of the executive committee of Insan, and other key officials.
Prince Faisal listened to a brief about the certificate, confirming the excellence of Insan in its activities, after it received the National Award for Voluntary Work in 2022.
The governor also received a report on the work and achievements of KSrelief. He praised its global role in humanitarian relief and volunteer efforts, stressing the importance of work and cooperation in achieving the aspirations of the Saudi leadership.
RIYADH: The Saudi General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) has launched a digital identification document service for family members of expatriates living in the Kingdom.
The new service is available through the Ministry of Interior’s Absher platform.
In a tweet on Monday, Jawazat said: “The digital document service via the Absher platform allows you to display the digital resident identity of your family members.”
Directorate officials pointed out that digital photos of expat family members could be used anywhere in the country to verify ID, doing away with the need to carry paper identification.
Welcoming the new service, Mohammed Serajudduin, an Indian expatriate working in Riyadh, said: “It will certainly make things easy now there is no need to carry the card. There will no longer be any worries of missing it as it will be available on smartphones, just a click away.”
As part of the recent eighth Absher Forum 2022, Jawazat launched several new e-services for citizens and expats avoiding the necessity for them to visit Jawazat offices in person.
Saudi Public Security also launched an online service to report stolen vehicles during the forum.
The e-service enables citizens and residents to report stolen vehicles online without the need to visit police buildings.
After logging in to the Absher platform, users should select services from the vehicles tab, then select the vehicle to be reported stolen and choose the service for reporting.
RIYADH: Several health projects run by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in Yemen and Mauritania have recently drawn to a close.
In Yemen, KSrelief concluded the Noor Saudi Arabia voluntary program to combat blindness in the Hadramout governorate, a two-week initiative implemented in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.
During the campaign, the center’s voluntary medical team dealt with 5,450 patients, distributed 991 medical glasses, and successfully performed 400 surgeries.
The scheme was part of a related series of programs, operated by KSrelief on behalf of the Kingdom, aimed at supporting low-income families in several countries.
Also in Yemen, the center ended a voluntary medical project for plastic surgery, burns, and deformities in Hadramout governorate, and concluded a fifth voluntary training program in the governorate in cooperation with the Technical and Vocational Training Corp. and the Saudi Red Crescent Authority.
Meanwhile, KSrelief’s mobile medical clinic in the Hajjah governorate continued to provide its medical services. In one week, the clinic received 1,028 patients with various health conditions.
In Mauritania, center workers carried out urological surgeries for adults in the capital Nouakchott, with its voluntary medical team performing 156 successful specialized operations in one week.
Another project involving 114 cardiac catheterization surgeries for adults in Nouakchott, also came to an end.
In Sudan, KSrelief recently distributed 1,100 food baskets, benefiting 5,774 needy families and people affected by floods.
And in Lebanon, the aid charity continued to hand out winter clothing to Syrian and Palestinian refugees and families from the country’s host community as part of the Kanaf 2022 project, benefiting 2,052 individuals.