Lessons from a tea seller

Lessons from a tea seller

Ibrahim Mohammed Badawood

Ibrahim Mohammed BadawoodBy Ibrahim Badawood


THE most common feature among many successful people is determination, persistence, continuous attempts and lack of despair. We often read this in the stories about successful people around the world. The story of the Saudi woman who sells tea on a road in Madina is no different.

According to the story, which was circulated on social media and was published by some newspapers, the woman is a Saudi national who is known to a number of residents in the Prophet›s city.

She has set up a small counter on King Abdulaziz Street where she started selling tea and other drinks to the passersby to make a living for herself and her four daughters and two sons.

Some government departments expressed reservations on a woman selling tea alone in a public place and without a municipality permit. The concerned department (municipality) eventually closed down the stall.

The woman resorted to the weapon of the age to draw attention to her plight, which is Twitter. Many people sympathized with her. They even created a hashtag tilted “the tea seller”.

The municipality was quick to issue a statement justifying its decision to close down the woman›s stall by citing rules and regulations. It said it launches continuous campaigns against hawkers and violators street trade regulations so as to apprehend them.

It said under the existing rules and regulations, the stalls selling Zamzam water, tea, sweets, food and other items of unknown origins without permits would be shut down as this might harm the consumers.

The woman tea seller and her two university-going daughters worked diligently to earn a decent living while safeguarding their honor, honesty and modesty.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) gave the woman a temporary corner at Al-Salam Festival and a permanent one at the Heritage District at King Fahd Park following the municipality›s action.
Despite this thankful gesture, the issue is bigger than that. It needs a complete review and a final solution to similar cases.

These are not small enterprises. A comprehensive initiative is needed to support these modest women who work industriously to earn a decent living.

You will find them in various Saudi cities and towns selling things near the government departments and mosques. They also sell their products on some major streets where there is big traffic movement.

These stalls help the needy women make a decent living. So instead of closing down their stalls or giving them some temporary or permanent corners that may not provide them with enough income, the concerned government departments should help them in their efforts to earn their living.

The woman tea seller has taught us a number of lessons. The first of these lessons is that Twitter has today become the main agitator of society.
It also taught us that women, regardless of their age, have become aware of using the modern technology and that they are totally aware of the influence of social media.

Another lesson we have learned from her story is that the traditional government solutions of prevention and shutdowns are no more useful and will not achieve their purpose. Instead, they will agitate people.

The woman has also taught us that perseverance is the key word to success and that the problem of the women tea sellers along the streets is a national issue, which needs a comprehensive solution.

These minute projects are a source of income for poor women so stop harassing them and closing down their small projects.