Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Small project ….Big Aspirations! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In Saudi Arabia one year ago, a new inspiring idea entitled the ‘Abdul Latif Jameel Fund for supporting society’ had been launched. The project is based upon providing support and funding for those who are in search of success. According to those in charge of the project, “The main aim is to fund the youth so that they would be able to carry out their ideas. The funds are in the form of loans without interest.”

Members of the Saudi youth are selected following interviews and those considered the most deserving for financial aid are successful. Interviewers evaluate their seriousness and persistence in having their projects implemented. Afterwards, a committee is held each week with the applicant to discuss the economic feasibility of the project. Based on this interview, the nature of the fund and its amount is decided.

Rania Ragab who is in her twenties, has a wonderful story to relate. She said, “In the beginning of my professional life, I worked in some specialized associations in training for computer courses and languages. Through that experience, I was able to grasp the basics of administrating such centers and the way that they operate.”

She adds, “Recently, I began to think about establishing my own center for computer courses and improving language skills. I started writing my ideas down and to begin, I decided to obtain a certificate to provide equipment for school. After presenting my papers to the concerned ministry, I proposed the idea to the Abdul Latif Jameel Fund for supporting small projects and presented the project. I attended a detailed meeting to discuss the project and even paid a sum of money for the project to be launched. The center has been running successfully for since six months now.”

Rania had earned a diploma in secretarial studies and computer skills and enrolled in many courses in accounting and computer programs. She expressed her gratitude towards the support she had received from the Abdul Latif Jameel Fund for supporting small projects. She mentioned the most important condition set by the fund that stipulated that Rania would train girls in her institute sent to her by the fund to be qualified and employed in various sectors. These girls would be trained in retail trading, which came in accordance with the latest decision of the ministry of labor that called for the support of female empowerment.

Turki and Mohamed El Sefry are brothers, one in his early twenties and the other in his mid-twenties. They said, “TV commercials were our main incentive for heading to the Abdul Latif Jameel Fund for supporting society. We had been thinking for a while to open a shop that would sell accessories but we lacked the capital needed for such a project.”

They added, “Officials of the organization had welcomed us, and after some deliberations on the economic feasibility of the project, they decided to provide us with the necessary finance. They gave us everything we needed, besides subsidizing for half of the products in the shop and supporting the project financially. My brother and I have profited despite the shop only being open for one month now.” Turki and Mohamed had concluded their conversation saying that the country is in dire need of the youth’s revival as, “opportunities are present and so is the funding,” they said. Their advice for the unemployed youth is to speak to the Abdul Latif Jameel organization rather than remaining unemployed.

What more can one say about Turki, Mohamed and Rania? These young men and women are examples of success stories in our Saudi society that prove that those who aim at achieving success will not be presented with a better chance than the one they have now. I do not know how we could thank businessman, Abdul Latif Jameel enough who established the organization to fund various projects of varying sectors.

Briefly, the project is one of development of society that should be adopted and imitated by all other businessmen. The organization currently funds 250 small projects for young men and women with great aspirations.