Saudi ‘White Vests’ set out to help pilgrims

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Arab News

Time: August 12, 2019  

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Video grab of White Vests volunteers in action.
  • “White Vests” is an umbrella organization of volunteer groups, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development

JEDDAH: A Saudi youth tradition of volunteering to help Hajj pilgrims complete their journey has been strengthened this year through a special government initiative.

The White Vests, an umbrella group covering a range of volunteering sectors, was organized by the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

Many volunteer groups play a crucial role in helping pilgrims, offering medical assistance, safety advice and general guidance.

The Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association joined forces with the White Vests this year, complementing the efforts of government entities involved in Hajj season, such as the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Health and the Muslim World League.

The Twitter account @SaudiNVG has gained over 20,000 followers since joining the platform in January with a message for volunteers from around the Kingdom.

In a video posted by @SaudiNVG, orthopaedic surgeon and consultant Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nawas, a White Vests Hajj volunteer, said: “In Makkah, we are all servants to the guests of Allah, and we learn from them, and communicate with them with the right Islamic way of thinking. And we build with them a cultural bridge through technology.”

Boy scout Essam Al-Shaman, 20, a student at the University of Tabuk, has been a Hajj volunteer for seven years.

“I volunteered for the Ministry of Education for five years, and this is my second year volunteering with the university,” he told Arab News.

“I enjoy volunteering because of all the kind prayers I receive from pilgrims. It is a humanitarian service. I would like to pursue what I grew up doing and I hope to reach the level of scout commander — and hopefully I will continue to volunteer to help pilgrims every year,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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