A group of women in Jeddah recently held “Tea around the World” a fundraising event in honor of “Al Oula,” the First Women’s Welfare Society established in Saudi Arabia 55 years ago.
Al Oula, is a non-profit organization which helps provide support to poor children in South Jeddah. That support includes physical and mental health care, as well as enhancing their educational and professional skills to achieve self actualization.
In an interview with Arabia Now, Al Oula board member Sabah Yassin said, “We concentrate on cultural exchange and experience in the Saudi community with a variety of events to bring an understanding of different cultures in the world manifested by customs, traditions and values.”
Philanthropy and empowerment are two key areas of Saudi Vision 2030. When Saudi Vision 2030 was launched in 2016, there were fewer than 1,000 non-profit and charitable foundations and associations. Contributing to just 0.3 percent of the Kingdom’s GDP, the non profit sector in Saudi Arabia is much less than the global average of 6 percent. That’s why the work of Al Oula is so admirable and sustainable.
The “Tea Around the World,” annual fundraising event was bought together by a wide array of countries represented by their Jeddah based consulates. Each consulate sponsored a stand at the venue and had their own tea ceremony for others to learn about their own traditions, while at the same time raising funds to help support the oldest women’s organization in the Kingdom.
Al Oula was established in 1962 by a group of women from Jeddah who established the charity to support poor families south of Jeddah. Their website says, “Our passion in building our community remains strong and we continue to host different events to fundraise and support our cause in fighting poverty and empowering the youth.” Since it was founded, the organization has helped improve the lives of thousands of young children in south Jeddah, many of whom are orphans.
Through unique and strategic outreach Al Oula has staged early intervention through education, professional and physical training, while also empowering the youth in helping them to obtain the right life skills to break the cycle of poverty and achieve their own personal goals.
One of those who have been part of Al Oula’s program is Rahma, who said, “When I was young the organization supported my family until I was able to graduate from high school. Today, I am studying medical e-services and volunteering at Al Oula to help support other children.”
Other services offered include a sports program which also helps empower the young girls and boys. Turki is another graduate of the program and said, “Al Oula raised and nutured me throughout my childhood. Today I have a college degree and work for a private company. I hope to continue my education in international relations one day.”
Given “Tea Around the World” bought many people around the world together to help the next generation of children in Jeddah, Al Oula’s idea that tea can help a good cause, seems an excellent way to continue traditions too.