A community of great givers

Young Saudis who are passionate about voluntary service


Saudi Gazette

VOLUNTARY work has been very popular among young Saudis. There are lots of initiatives on a daily basis to serve community or to draw a smile on the faces of the children, elderly and the weak. To shed some light on this ongoing frenzy, Saudi Gazette met with three young Saudis to talk about the values they can add to society by doing voluntary work.

Fahad is a 29-year-old cardiologist who is part of Talent Initiative, a group of more than 25 young male and female Saudis in different professions and areas of study with a spirit to give and volunteer.

“We meet together to discuss beneficial initiatives for the community. There are many projects we are working on," said Fahad.

The group has divided into two sub-groups to carry out its activities: the first group initiates projects and executes them to serve the entire community such as planting trees in Riyadh streets to make the city shine more, distributing winter clothes to the poor and visiting children afflicted with cancer to tell them stories and let them have fun with the group's members, he said.

Fahad said the second sub group conducts voluntary work for a specialized purpose. “In one recent project, we were working with some successful female lawyers from the initiative to give training to fresh graduates and to explain to them what it means to be in the labor market, particularly in the legal profession," he said.

This group was composed of highly qualified Saudi professionals and fresh graduates in the same major.

Another initiative is to teach Braille language to both the visually challenged and the general public to facilitate greater interaction in society.

Fahad explained that the reaction form the public has been awesome in both initiatives. “We met a lot of parents who wanted their children to volunteer with us especially in planting trees in the streets of Riyadh and distributing winter clothes. I personally realized that our society is full of great givers and volunteers who want to help, educate and train others,” he concluded.

Wijdan is a 22-year-old Saudi who organized entertainment events exclusively for the elderly. “I did it a few times. I was very happy to see the sick and old people rejoice due to the activities we have engaged them in,” she said.

Wijdan added that those events were about letting the elderly do suitable exercises and practicing their hobbies freely.

"We wanted to involve the elderly with us; we did not want them to sit back and watch. The volunteering experience has taught me lots of things such as the power of giving and the ultimate happiness one can feel by giving unconditionally,” she concluded.

Ahmed is a 21-year-old computer science student who has been holding reading groups with teenagers in his neighborhood to reinforce the reading habit in society.

“I love reading and I read all types of books. Reading gives me a lot of pleasure. I decided to hold book reading sessions with the teenagers in my family and neighborhood. I started by recommending comedy books and science fiction because I knew they love them. Then we gathered for 20 minutes every week to discuss what they read. I feel that it is a big achievement to make people read and enjoy reading, which is the best hobby ever,” he said.