Monday, February 16, 2009

College women serve Jeddah

Since the spring semester of 2007, students at Dar Al Hekma College (an all-girls college in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) have given 14,000 hours of their time to serving their community.  

The "Social Responsibility Unit" at Dar Al Hekma is the unit through which students complete the 100 hours of community service required for graduation.  

Students have thus far spent their hours visiting, planning, and designing activities at various organizations throughout Jeddah, as well as fundraising activities, and advocacy work for non-profits. 

While these activities are not necessarily "social entrepreneurship", it is clear that:

1)  Interest in community service and responsibility exists throughout the Kingdom, and especially among the youth. This interest can be taken a step further (into sustainable enterprise) if students are given the necessary tools to turn community responsibility into a sustainable business.

2)  Saudi Arabia, and Islam overall, have a deep-rooted tradition in community service.  The religious and cultural focus of Islam on charity and giving to the community is an ideal that can, and should, be made sustainable.  

Community responsibility should not be on our minds only a few times per year- it should be a consistent part of our daily lives. 

(photo courtesy of Emily Tavoulareas)

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