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WSB Inspiring Woman – Maha Shirah: SHEWORKS

WSB Admin 27/05/2019 0

Tell us about yourself?

My name is Maha Shirah, I am a Saudi mother of two boys. born and raised in Riyadh city. I have an MBA degree in finance and over 15 years of experience in different fields. Currently, I am the Founder/ CEO of SHEWORKS a business incubator for female startups & freelancers. 

What brought you to Riyadh?

I was born and raised here. My parents came from Madina (a small city in the west of Saudi) in the 70s and it has been my home ever since.

How did you get inspired to start Sheworks?

I worked as a freelance photographer and was looking to expand my business so I started to search for a suitable office with good decoration, modern furniture and hopefully some extra services. Little did I know that such offices didn’t exist back in 2013. So I decided to create my own and provide it to other women. and why women, you may ask? Because we are the ones who need these options the most.

What do you do at Sheworks?

Well, I do a lot of things, apart from being the CEO and running the place and checking its day to day tasks, finances, marketing, and PR. I am also the ecosystem manager and business consultant to the ladies at SHEWORKS. I follow up on their business and try to help them whenever they need a helping hand whether it is work-related or a personal matter.

What is a typical day like for you?

I really don’t have a very typical day. It always depends on my calendar, meetings, events, and tasks that I have and what others have for me as well.  For example; I follow up on my client’s legal documentation with the government agent to proceed with their business. I consult with new startups. I plan for upcoming events and meetups at SHEWORKS. I set up training sessions and tasks for co-op trainees and students. I am also a member of two committees in Riyadh chamber and council of chambers so I juggle between them as well.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The satisfaction of helping people, meeting new business owners, building networks, spreading new ideas, inspiring people to be creative in their way. 

What is the hardest part of your work?

Keeping myself motivated when things either go wrong or not according to plan. Because everyone is depending on me.

How do you balance being a mum, a spouse and a working woman? 

This is a challenge that many working moms face regardless of where they live. It depends on the type of job you do, your husband’s type of job, the age of your kids, the existence of available support, and the amount of finance you have. In my case, I  decided to go back to work and open my business only when my kids were old enough to go to elementary school. My parents moved to Madina so I have no family in Riyadh to support me, however, I have a live-in nanny who has been with me for the last 13 years who helps me with house chores and my kids. I live in a compound, therefore my kids have neighbours to play with. My husband is a physician so he is quite busy and away most of the time but when he returns home, I try my best to be home with him and take some time off and postpone any non-urgent meetings to later. I even involve him with some of my meetings and events.

Tell us about your journey of finding a job in Riyadh.

I have created my own job by first starting as a freelancer, then moving on and creating SHEWORKS

What advice would you give women considering starting their own business/  OR seeking employment in the Kingdom?

Study the market really well, and don’t depend on surveys and traditional methods in collecting data but actually monitor people and ask the hard questions. Check the feasibility of the project you want to do, consider whether it’s worth your time and effort. Plan & write a good business plan and focus especially on your financial plan, thus, don’t borrow money unless you know how you are going to repay it. Focus on your partners and team members because they will either help you succeed or drag you down. Get your legal documents & contracts checked. Find your passion and what makes you happy. Finally… remember, business is still very risky, you must be brave, a gambler and a bit crazy to jump into it. it is not for the faint-hearted.

Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh? 

It depends on their creativity and interests. If you are talking about arts such as fine art and photography for example then art galleries, exhibitions, and different entertainment and social events. Some embassies have special gatherings and events. Also, some shopping malls, schools, and universities have them too. Follow artists and influencers on social media who every now and them mention something that might be of interest to you. Just go out there and you will find something. Language may be an obstacle but google translate will help you 70% of the time.

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by? 

“ When performing any task, make sure to make it perfect”  by Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him.

Contact Information & Social Media 

info@sheworks.com.sa

www.sheworks.com.sa

+966-535-946-054

twitter/ instagram : @mahashirah

@sheworks_sa

 

 

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Pera Palace Hotel: An establishment of old and new Istanbul

WSB Admin 25/05/2019 0

By Anne Ching

Vibrant. Breath-taking. Alive. Istanbul has many draws for people from far and wide. As much as the city has a lot to offer, the choice of accommodation is integral in having a fully enjoyable and mesmerising holiday.

For travellers, like myself, who go to Istanbul for its vibrancy and historicity, we chose to stay at Pera Palace Hotel. It is situated in the lively Pera district overlooking the Golden Horn and walking distance to Istiklal Street and Taksim Square. Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, held meetings and stayed at Suite 101, which is now turned into a museum. In its heyday, Pera Palace Hotel hosted kings and queens, movie stars and film directors, for large extravagant parties, official meetings and lowkey quiet holidays. It also boasts guests such as Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway, with The Murder on the Orient Express rumoured to have been written here. Mysteries still surround Room 411, the Agatha Christie room, with a small key found inside possibly to Agatha Christie’s diary. None of this has been proven, however, and the speculation adds to the story of Pera Palace Hotel.
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The façade of the building has barely changed since its first opening in 1895 despite major renovations in 2008-2010. This keeps its steadfast authenticity in the landscape of the Pera district as a reminder of its elegance and establishment. Inside, restorations brought back a time when Pera Palace Hotel was the place to see and be seen. Common areas such as the lobby, lounge and bar take guests back to the roaring 20s with luxurious velvet curtains, dim yellow-light chandeliers and plush dark wood cushioned furnishings. Amongst the European design, there are intricate stained-glass windows, ornate domed ceiling and oriental carpets that puts a uniquely Turkish stamp on the establishment. Rooms are arranged around a bright atrium filled with natural light, overlooking the six domes above the lounge.

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Pera Palace Hotel is the longest established European hotel in Istanbul and the first building in Turkey to have electricity (apart from the Ottoman Palaces) and hot running water. It also has the first electric lift in Istanbul which can still be used under the supervision of staff. Apart from antique highlights, Pera Palace Hotel also has modern amenities that would satisfy today’s guests. It has a fully equipped spa with a hammam bath and indoor swimming pool. The restaurant and patisserie are gorgeous with menus that are hard to fault. Even the children’s menu is wonderful and, from experience, mother and picky child approved.

Pera Palace Hotel is a highly recommended place to stay with a long list of endorsements from a history of more than 120 years. With attentive and professional staff as well as comfortable rooms and amenities, it completes the Istanbul experience in high comfort

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Tantalising Tanzania

WSB Admin 25/05/2019 0

By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe

I had been dreaming of an African safari since my teens. Inspired by the many wildlife movies set there, books I had read and pictures I had seen, it was always one of my dream destinations. When I started planning my month-long sabbatical from eBay, I decided to fulfil my African adventure. Starting with a lot of research on travel and wildlife forums, I finally zeroed down on Tanzania for its amazing wildlife.
I bought the Tanzania Lonely Planet Guide and started short-listing safari operators and wildlife parks. Finally, I decided on a 2-week customised safari through four prominent parks: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire In February. My research also told me that February was calving season for the wildebeest, so it was a great time to plan my safari. After a lot of emails back and forth, I chose my safari operator and got them to customise my itinerary, applied for my visa, bought tickets and started with all the vaccinations. Armed with a safari-appropriate wardrobe, binoculars and pepper spray, I couldn’t wait to fly off.
Finally, I boarded a Kenyan Airways flight via Nairobi to Kilimanjaro International Airport and onwards to Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania. After an overnight rest, Jerard my guide for the next 11 days, came to fetch me in a four-wheel drive with a photo roof and we left for Lake Manyara, the first of the four parks I visited. Lake Manyara National Park is an interesting park, with 100 sq km of the 200 sq km park a massive lake, rimmed with thousands of flamingos. I had a great safari at Lake Manyara National Park and spotted many baboon troops, the blue (sykes) monkey, zebras, giraffes, hippos, wildebeest, impalas, warthogs, elephants, mongoose, bushbuck and dik-dik. I even spotted a very far off lion with binoculars. The graceful giraffes were a sight and I could have watched them forever. I stayed overnight at a permanent tented camp (Migunga forest camp) with vervet monkeys frolicking in the forest nearby.

The next day we left for the two-day stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, a world heritage site. An interesting display at the visitor centre explained how this crater was once as tall as Mount Kilimanjaro and is now a large caldera (collapsed volcano). I checked into the charming Rhino Lodge and then set out on safari. The crater is a must-visit and packed with animals. If you can only manage one park, I would choose this over Serengeti. I saw buffaloes, bushbucks, ostrich, giraffes and zebras. The next morning, we headed down into the crater and had a very eventful safari viewing and managed my Big 5 (black rhino, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo). I also saw lions walking in our midst and even saw two large male lions being chased by a buffalo. In addition, I saw a hyena hunt and killing of a baby wildebeest. I also managed to see jackals, Thomsons gazelle and Grants gazelles, antelopes, hartebeest and waterbuck, besides many wildebeests and zebra troupes. This was followed by a tasty lunch at the Hippo Pool, watching them chill in the water. The Masai and their goat and cow herds have grazing rights in the Conservation Area and you can see them striding everywhere in their colourful outfits.

The next days trip was to the famous Serengeti National Park and I was looking forward to the three days we had there to see more big cats. The park is very vast and we were based in the north at Ikoma. The park has got many kopjes (rock outcroppings) that are favourites with cats and geckos. I visited the Simba Kopje and sure enough, spotted a male lion napping on it. I saw many animals I had seen at the other parks and felt like I was starring in a wildlife movie. In addition, I saw the small rock hyrax, who is actually related to the large elephant. As I stepped into the restaurant at Ikoma Tented Camp, the bartender greeted me with a khem cho (a greeting from Gujarat, India). An interesting feature for travellers at the Camps are a book trade corner, where you drop off the books you have read and pick up another one of your choice.

The second day was a big cat sighting – cheetahs, two leopards and many lions, lionesses and cubs. An interesting sighting was of a male lion with a buffalo skull. We headed to the hippo pool, where I saw an exciting hippo fight, lots of open jaws, whirlpools of water and lots of splashing. One of them was defending their territory from the other. In another corner, a mama and baby hippo were spotted and when a crocodile came calling, the mama hippo chased him away. I also spotted the red buck and topis and dozens of interesting birds. I also had a bit of a brush with tsetse flies and was bitten once. We had a blackout for a few hours when an elephant uprooted a tree and brought down the power line.

The last leg of my African safari was a six-hour drive away and downhill to Tarangire National Park. I stopped en route to buy a few souvenirs as gifts for family and a mask for me. Tarangire is very warm and muggy and an avoidable park. I saw the giant Baobab trees, for which it is famous, a few elephants, rock hyrax, giraffes and ostrich. The park was infested by tsetse flies and I got bitten, forcing us to cut short the safari. I had stayed at the Tarangire Elephant Lodge, which has some nice rooms.

The next morning I headed back to Arusha to see a doctor for the bites and for my flight to Kenya for the volunteering stint with Colobus Trust. I stayed at a charming boutique hotel, the Mount Meru Lodge, which has an animal sanctuary on location. Sylvan surroundings, peaceful grazing animals (zebras, waterbuck, peacocks, vervet monkeys and storks) made for a fairy tale ending of my African adventure.

 

 

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Thomas the Tank Engine in Saudi Arabia

WSB Admin 30/04/2019 0

By Maryann Horne

They say that people don’t take trips. Trips take people. And if Saudi Arabia is a book, those who don’t travel have only read a page of it.
It was week two of our new Saudi adventure. At a glitzy reception, full of very important people, I felt bored. My fault entirely for not making the most of incredible knowledge as half the room were top specialists in their respective fields. One of them, a banker, noticed and came to my rescue. I told him not to waste his time. All I knew about finance was trying to keep my account out of the red. “You must be interested in something I can help you with?”, he said. “I’m not very good at anything except moving”, I confessed. “I just want to travel and see the real face of Saudi”.

He burst out laughing, lent in and whispered. “Take a train to Al Ahsa”. What a train, a real train, like Thomas the Tank Engine, I mused? Or was it more like the Japanese bullet train? He had me. “You want to see Saudi? Do what the Saudis do”, he advised. “Forget the malls, the markets and the historical sites. This journey will tell you a story full of love, friendship and our Saudi ways”.

And so we did. Ten days later, our little boy could barely contain his excitement as the stripy orange fast train pulled up.  My hubby was suitably backpacked with nothing but essentials and daughter armed with enough popcorn to take us to the moon. The adventure begun as we joined travellers on the 8.05 to Houfouf.
There were students, travelling back to their parent’s homes. Sons checking up on their mothers. Daughters going home to see their relatives. oddly, it felt like taking the train a few stops in Wales or Scotland on a Saturday morning. Minus the rain and delays. Everyone knew each other. Carriages were full of chatter, greetings, hugs and smiles. Within minutes, my daughter was adopted by five children and invited to colour while their mothers exchanged the latest news. My husband was befriended and submitted to a thousand questions within minutes. By the end of the journey, we were invited to many farms and family homes to share the Friday meal. My husband had the full download of interesting sights from several travel companions determined to make our visit memorable. My son, happy as ever, spent most of the journey camel spotting from the window.

We packed the weekend with formidable moments. The lunch at the farm of the grandmother of our daughter’s drawing partner from the train was scrumptious. We feasted on Khabsa while chatting about football. Hanouf and her mother regaled us with tales of Saudi customs. Her brothers filled in the knowledge blanks about Eastern region, it’s trading history and significance for modern day Saudi over green tea. We heard Sunni and Shia call to prayers. The kids saw goats, chickens, dogs, camels and feasted on dates. The governorate of Al Ahsa, listed by UNESCO as the largest oasis in Arabia, harbours so many treasures. We spent the rest of the weekend at natural caves, the old Ottoman style souk, forts, funky cafes and the best women’s clothes shops. Houfouf is, after all, a garrison town and Happy Wife, Happy Life must work with clothes.

The train journey back was less intimate, more crowded but just as enjoyable. This time, women with children returned to the arms of their husbands and fathers in the capital, students swotted and the bohemian vibe was over. The sleepy and peaceful scenery heaved now with activity at every stop.

I have not seen the glamourous banking CEO since the night it all started. But I recall with fondness his words and passion as he spoke about “the real Saudi”. Judging by the car he left in, I doubt he ever took Saudi trains. But he taught me a valuable lesson and one that has been reconfirmed again and again. No matter how well people go on to do, they never forget their roots, their people and where they come from.

It humbled us hugely to be privileged enough to share a bit of love, a few doses of friendship and experience Saudi ways. In the end, it wasn’t just the trip that took us. It was the Kingdom and its people and this feeling has only grown since.

 

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Recipe – Sambusa and Vegetable Rolls

WSB Admin 30/04/2019 0

By Kelly Downing

One of the hallmarks of an iftar meal is finger food, or small bites, to ease into breaking the fast.  Samboosas are the common go-to and are seen on most iftar tables in this area.  I experiment with different recipes nearly every year, but the recipes I share here are my biggest crowd pleasers.  The veggie rolls are a personal favourite – a treat I look forward to as a vegetarian.

SAMBOOSA

These recipes yield approximately 25 servings each

Cheese Filling:

350g shredded mozzarella cheese

4oz cream cheese, softened

1.5 tbsp feta cheese

Instructions: Combine ingredients so that they’re evenly distributed.

Chicken Filling:

1/3 c olive oil

3 onions, sliced

450g chicken breast, cut in small cubes

1/2 c sumac

1 tsp white pepper

1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth

1/2 c pine seeds, toasted

Instructions: 

Heat oil in pan.  Sauté onions on medium until soft.  Add chicken and sauté until half cooked.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer until chicken is fully cooked.  Allow to cool before filling.

Samboosa Assembly:

Prepared filling

Samboosa leaves

Flour and water mixture, for sealing

Roll a single samboosa leaf into a triangular cone shape.  Fill with one spoonful of prepared filling.  Seal with flour mixture.  Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.  Optionally, you can brush the samboosa with a little olive oil before baking.  Samboosa can be airfried, baked (190’ C), or deep fried, according to your preference.  They are done when filling is heated through and the shell is at your desired crispiness.

Times vary based on the thickness of filling and temperature at the start of cooking.  I pre-assemble and freeze my samboosa ahead of time, so I always bake from frozen.  This requires baking times of around 20 minutes.  Make sure to flip your samboosa halfway through baking time (this is not necessary for deep frier).

VEGGIE ROLLS:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely sliced

1 bag of coleslaw mix*

1 stick celery, peeled and shredded

2 bell peppers, shredded

1 zucchini, shredded

2 cubes Maggi vegetable stock, crumbled

1/4 ts white pepper

1/2 ts sesame oil

Spring roll pastry sheets

Cornstarch and water mixture, for sealing

*Alternatively, you can shred carrot and cabbage instead of using this shortcut

Instructions:

Heat vegetable oil, cook ginger and garlic until fragrant.  Add onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and stir while cooking until tender.  Stir in Maggi, white pepper and sesame oil.  Allow to cool before filling.  Place 2 tbsp of the mixture onto the pastry sheet.  Roll and seal with cornstarch mixture.  Deep fry until golden brown.

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Information for women entrepreneurs and home based businesses

WSB Admin 30/04/2019 0

By Shaden AlRabiah and Amy Land Pejoska

 

Shaden AlRabiah
Amy Land Pejoska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article is a follow up to the presentation at WSB Connect held at SheWorks incubator and co-working space on 20 March 2019 by Shaden AlRabiah, an Associate at Al Tamimi & Company Advocates & Legal Consultants, on options for expat and Saudi women to start businesses in Saudi Arabia.  We have put together a summary of options relevant to freelancers, home-based businesses and entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.

1. Freelance – how to register for freelance and definition. The site to register.

Freelancing is a form of self-employment that allows you to work independently for one or more clients. If you are a linguist or have a skill you can teach, it can be a flexible option to pursue.

It is now possible to apply for the issuance of a freelancer certificate online through quick and easy procedures and to benefit from a range of employment-related services from the Saudi Human Resources Development Fund (“Hadaf”).

Freelance.910ths.sa (Arabic website) or Freelance.sa (English website) is an initiative from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (“MOL”). MOL launched this portal to motivate and license freelancing work in the Kingdom. This programme is intended to have an impact by creating more opportunities for economic participation for Saudis. Regulations have been issued to provide protection to freelancers as well.

A freelancer can be employed or unemployed, and can even apply for financial support by registering and submitting a request after complying with the rules and regulations.

  1. MAROOF – how to register, the definition of categories and site to register

These days, e-commerce is a new leading way for everyone to sell or buy through online platforms and modern means of communication and women working from home are using social media to seek out a customer base more and more frequently. The use of home-based promotion of wares via social media can often be suitable for business-like activities such as craft production and baking. According to a recent news report in the Saudi Gazette, 27,000 shops are registered on the Maroof e-commerce portal in Saudi Arabia and half of those are run by women.

Maroof is an initiative from the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. It is a new and useful service to all e-commerce participants, whether sellers or buyers.

Benefits of Maroof:

  • registration increases consumer confidence in e-commerce which could in turn increase business volumes for registered sellers;
  • registration makes it easier for the seller to reach out to the targeted customers by providing a central place for customers to look for Saudi e-commerce providers;
  • the service is free and the seller does not even need a commercial registration; a seller can simply sign up at maroof.sa (those merchants who include their commercial registration are awarded a Maroof Golden Certificate);
  • consumers can evaluate e-commerce websites and experiences and report complaints; and
  • sellers can register all their social media locations in one place, adding convenience for both sellers and buyers.
  1. Entrepreneur – Sagia site, categories, costs, CR advantages, time frames for goals.

If your business idea is more substantive and has a real chance of success, like a workable app or perhaps an entertainment-sector related activity, then you should consider formalising it, for example, by applying for an entrepreneur license.

The SAGIA guide sets out the nature of the entrepreneur license and the costs and timeframes for applying for one.

An entrepreneur license allows entrepreneurs to establish pilot projects accredited by Saudi universities or business incubators.

According to the SAGIA Guide, the documentation to be provided includes:

  • the entrepreneur’s Board of Directors decision of its desire to get an entrepreneur license;
  • the invention type, its sponsors and the powers;
  • relevant identification (passport/iqama);
  • a letter of support from the supervising authority (Saudi universities or business incubators) within the Kingdom;
  • a letter of no objection from the Saudi sponsor if the applicant is a resident of Saudi Arabia.

Advantages of the entrepreneur license are its low license fee and its long duration.

The license term is five years and the fee is two thousand (2000) Saudi Riyals annually.

After five years, the entity will need to pay fees for obtaining services from the SAGIA Business Center in accordance with its classification.

Applications can be made through the SAGIA e-services portal. It is possible that applications may be processed within two working days according to the SAGIA Guide.

If you get that far and find that your business is growing, there are certain steps that may also be relevant, particularly if you are looking to develop an app.

  • Preliminary advice on appropriate documentation relating to the App. The type of documentation that will be required can vary, depending on whether you are developing the App yourself, or whether you are having a third party do it for you. Additionally, it will be necessary to consider on-going requirements, such as the need for on-going support/maintenance.
  • Preparing user T&Cs and privacy policy. The content of T&Cs and privacy policy for use with an App can vary significantly depending on the nature/purpose of the App, and its functionality. For example, if the collection and processing of personal data is a fundamental component of the App, then more consideration might be needed than if the processing of personal data was limited simply to registration type details.

If you are looking to develop and protect your brand, then you will need to consider:

  • Preliminary advice on trademark protection. You will need to identify the appropriate classes and descriptions of goods/services and consider the core class or classes on which you should focus in order to ensure suitable protection whilst managing budget. It will be important to consider the ‘distinctiveness’ of the trademarks you are considering.
  • Clearance search in KSA for a trademark in a single ‘class’. Prior to filing a trademark application, you should undertake a ‘clearance search’ to determine whether there are any prior third party trademarks that might act to block your own trademark application/s from being accepted. (A trade mark clearance search is not a strict requirement, but it is advisable as it can reduce the risk of a subsequent application being unsuccessful.)

We wish you the very best in stepping out as a freelancer, entrepreneur or home-based e‑commerce businesswoman or man in Saudi Arabia. Please contact Shaden AlRabiah on S.AlRabiah@tamimi.com about setting up your company or Amy Pejoska on A.Pejoska@tamimi.com about questions on tech-based business.

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Keep calm and embrace Ramadan

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska 

With the Holy month of Ramadan approaching, like every year, expats from all nationalities and religions, around the Gulf, are getting involved with the preparation. For a newcomer, though, the first Ramadan can feel like a challenge.  You have to avoid eating or even drinking water in public, paying respect to the daylight fast. Also, you have to catch up with the Ramadan schedules of malls, restaurants, etc.

No need to stress yourself out,  try to explore Ramadan, instead. It‘s a great opportunity to take more from your Middle East experience and to learn about the culture of the feast. The first time  I‘ve spent Ramadan in the Gulf, I was surprised to witness how commercialized it‘s becoming nowadays. Sales in the malls, lavish iftar and suhoor buffets at the restaurants in the evenings. For a foreigner that can make  Ramadan even more pleasant and bearable, but this is not the essence of the Holy month. At it‘s core, Ramadan is all about compassion and sharing.

Off course, your Ramadan experience won‘t be authentic enough, without the atmosphere of the iftars, when people would rush to gather around the table. But if you want to dig a little deeper and to explore this special time of the year, one good idea is to set some Ramadan goals. Fasting, but not related to food, is something you may try (nevertheless the real fast has its proven health benefits). More impactful, however, would be if you can avoid bad thoughts, words and deeds. Ramadan is a great possibility to polish your communication skills, as it is popular with big family and friends gatherings. Let the warmth of these moments, reach you out, even if you are far from your loved ones. Hospitality is the word, best describing the people of the Middle East. Don‘t hesitate to indulge in their company, if you have a chance to do so.

Another bad habit you can give up on, during Ramadan, is procrastination. Contrary to the common belief, time doesn‘t stop during the Holy month. People continue working, running errands etc..Therefore you have no excuse to postpone your tasks. Stay focused and use the mysterious vibe of Ramadan, to observe yourself. Develop your consciousness towards the usage of time, like towards any other resource we are blessed with. Pay attention to the little things you may have taken for granted. While taking care of your thoughts and wellbeing, don‘t forget about the others. Ramadan is the best occasion to give back to your community. Whether you will join a charitable organization or you will choose other cause, that will count as a good deed and example… If you succeed in accomplishing your Ramadan resolutions, the reward will be satisfaction and confidence. So keep calm and embrace the spirit of this Ramadan.

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Saudi Women’s Stories – Get Involved

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0
By Sheikha Aldosary

Saudi Women’s Stories is a storytelling platform for Saudi women to tell their stories, show their diversity, express their opinions, present their interesting journeys to change and success.  It is an independent platform to show new aspects of Saudi women’s lives that haven’t been shown in the past and to tell interesting stories from Saudi Arabia to the world.

We hope Saudi Women’s Stories would contribute to inspiring and empowering women. We hope it would help them learn some new skills to tell their own stories and shine.  Saudi Women’s Stories also hopes to open a dialogue about issues concerning women’s lives and their societies and let us all work together on finding solutions to a better world.


Founded by Sheikha Aldosary, a journalist, media and communication expert specializing in women rights, political and socioeconomic issues in Saudi Arabia, with more than a decade of work experience in the field. Academically, she has studied the image and visual representation of women in media and has extensively researched the Saudi women’s image in western media.

Sheikha is passionate about women’s empowerment, education, equality issues, women’s stories and their fascinating tales. She found this platform not to highlight Saudi women’ stories only, but stories of all women living in the kingdom. She wants to highlight their outstanding life journeys, hoping to extend this to a storytelling platform for all women around the world.

JOIN US
We are looking for enthusiastic writers, editors, photographer, videographer, translators, designers, to join Saudi Women Stories’s team and be part of a great interesting squad of storytellers! Everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, and background.

Just fill out the form on our website, tell us about yourself, why you want to join the team and what would you like to do and the best contact information to reach you!
https://saudiwomenstories.com/contact/

Additionally, if you have an interesting story you want to share it with us, please do, we would be more than happy to hear from you.
Kindly if you need any further information don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!
email us: info@saudiwomenstories.com

Visit our website: www.SaudiWomenStories.com

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Learning More About KSA’s Natural Treasures at the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC)

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By EB Davis

Summer is almost here and that means its time to plan a few weekend escapes to cooler climes. Taif, one of KSA’s most popular summer destinations, is known for its fresh mountain air, rose farms and sprawling verdant agricultural landscapes, but its also home to the Prince Saud Al Faisal Wildlife Research Center, more commonly known as the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).  

Located about 30 km east of Taif, the NWRC is open to the public, but only with prior permission from NWRC and the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA). Established in 1986, the centre has been an important part of KSA’s conservation efforts for a variety of endemic species such as the Arabian oryx, Asian houbara bustard, red-neck ostrich, sand gazelles and the Arabian peninsula’s critically endangered apex predator, the Arabian leopard.

With less than 200 of these big cats left in the wild, KSA along with UAE, Oman and Yemen, has taken steps to preserve this species. NWRC, under the auspices of the Saudi Wildlife Authority, has over the years launched community outreach and conservation education programs as well as installed dozens of field cameras throughout the Sarawat Mountains in hopes of tracking the elusive leopard within KSA’s borders. Unfortunately, the last wild leopard sighting was in 2014, after it was tragically poisoned by a Makkah province local for killing one of his camels.

However, there is still hope for these big cats. NWRC successfully bred two cubs in 2018 bringing the total to 15 Arabian leopards in captivity in KSA. The centre is the only place in Saudi to view the Arabian leopards as well as learn more about SWA’s conservation programs.

Inside the centre’s secured area, visitors can tour of the expansive grounds via a 4×4 vehicle along with a knowledgeable guide. The majority of the centre’s grounds are dedicated to large captive-breeding groups of oryx, sand and mountain gazelles and Nubian ibex which are free to roam the savannah-like terrain. The landscape is also dotted with large granite rocks, a favourite place for the resident non-captive breeding population of rock hyrax which can be seen scurrying across the boulders in the late afternoon sunshine.

Believed to have been the origin of the mythical unicorn, the Arabian oryxes are incredible to witness with their dignified gait, striking black and white-patterned faces and impressive twin-spire horns. The red-neck ostrich, also known as the north African ostrich, is the largest bird on the planet and is also amazing to see moving in groups across the sandy plain.

The centre does not allow visitors into the leopard’s captive breeding area but keeps one older leopard on-site near the visitor centre for viewing. There are also several other non-breeding species such as a lion and lioness, striped-hyena and several cheetahs on-site.  

These big cats and other species were smuggled into KSA mostly likely en route to private collections or as personal pets, but were seized and later brought to the centre. Saudi Arabia is a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna, better known as CITES and prohibits the trade of endangered wildlife and plants. Looking into the concrete enclosures at the once majestic lion and cheetahs as they recline listlessly inside their small cages is a sad reminder that without conservation initiatives and protection efforts these big cats may soon be extinct. 

This year NWRC will officially open its newly built welcome centre and plans to expand its public outreach with additional activities and tours. The NWRC is one of Saudi Wildlife Authority’s 15 protected areas and all are worth a visit.

To plan your visit contact Saudi Wildlife Authority or NWRC at 012 748 1252 or fax your request to +966 12 7481305.

 

 

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Finding Joy in the Kindness of Giving

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

The feeling is incredible and it’s what we should all do this lifetime!

With Ramadan just around the corner here in Saudi and around the world, I wanted to think about some of the meanings. It’s not just the giving of gifts, that in itself is amazing. It’s about the beauty and joy in the world and how we, as wonderful human beings, can make it so much better for ourselves and for others by GIVING. Stepping out and looking at what we can offer, do and give to other people.

The joy of giving certainly has a lot to give us back! Peace, happiness, smiles, warmth, joy – these are some of the instantness of giving. Giving means helping in a way, which makes us reaffirm the simplest meaning of humanity “Whenever we do, the world sees the difference and our hearts open. Always”.

Giving is a sense of love, and love is a wonderful feeling that enriches us all

Many of the rituals that happen in our everyday lives, help us as a reminder to step outside of ourselves and think of others. Sometimes in difficult situations, it helps us look around and say… I choose others over myself.

Today I choose YOU with all my love!

Many of the religious festivals we celebrate throughout the world all have the same thread running through them. Reminding us to: Think of others; Give to others, Be kind to others. Under grace and in the perfect way, obviously!

Ramadan is an example of this I believe. Not only to test oneself but to have an idea of how others might feel (put yourself in their shoes) esp as we all follow different paths; which teaches us a sense of awareness, kindness, knowledge and how amazing it is to give.

I was lucky enough to be taught this at home as I was growing up, which I hope has continued with me through my life. Not always easy I know, esp if you are down, unhappy or sick of where you are currently in your life – our trials and tribulations! But interestingly, if we are able to do this during those difficult times, it truly helps us get out of our head and feel better. An act of kindness/giving brings joy back into our mind, body, heart and soul.

Why is it that sometimes we allow society to change our true core? Is it because we get carried away with what others are telling us? We shouldn’t you know! We should try to listen to our own inner thoughts as we wake every morning – be the better version of you and all that entails: love, joy, giving, kindness, honouring and respect.

Dictionary meaning of giving:

 

Lizzie’s meaning: To love yourself enough to give to the world unconditionally!

 

What is your meaning of GIVING, I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Ways to give:

  • Giving of oneself
  • Giving your time to others
  • Giving gifts
  • Giving love
  • Giving joy
  • Giving happiness
  • Giving thanks
  • Giving Help
  • Giving to yourself
  • Giving a hug

To give is amazing, it comes back to us in so many ways. So try to remember to be open to receive – it is a beautiful gift, and one we all deserve – let it pour in!

So, as we remember the joy of giving and share it with the world, I close for now… until next time, dear friends.

 

http://www.findingthejoy.info

 

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