Sports, tourism, and social responsibility in the Kingdom

We continue our run of international stories, this time going to Saudi Arabia to highlight two efforts that are leveraging sport to garner attention and disseminate positive messages.

First, several sports personalities are promoting a charitable program to support orphans, with a broader aim of boosting voluntary work and social responsibility in Saudi society. The program under the theme “Jeddah cooperation and mercy” is the brainchild of six leading Saudi sports personalities. One of the athletes, Sultan Hamdi, an international figure in the field of car racing, said, ““We are aiming to support orphans. It is not enough to merely educate them and provide them with money and houses. We are also required to support them psychologically.”

You can read more about the effort here.

A second effort, also being done with the idea of broadening the concept of social responsibility in Saudi society, involves more than 50 Saudi athletes, businessmen and community volunteers who are traveling around around the Kingdom in cooperation with the Zahra Association for Breast Cancer with the aim of promoting tourism, sports and social responsibility.

Anwar Ahmad Helmi, the tour coordinator, explained what the group hoped to achieve.

“We are planning to visit some of the Kingdom’s well-known tourist locations on motorcycles and bicycles to draw attention to the nation’s tourism potential…We are working in cooperation with the Zahra Association for Breast Cancer in an attempt to highlight social responsibility, sports and tourism at the same time…As we travel around the Kingdom, we will visit orphanages and disabled associations, launch awareness campaigns on cancer, and distribute gifts containing social responsibility messages to children in parks and malls.”

You can read more about the effort here.

Much of the work being done in the area of sports and development and social responsibility is based on an outside-in model, that is, those from other countries bringing their expertise into places that might need their help. This is important and absolutely still needed. But as the leaders of both of these efforts in Saudi Arabia make clear, building from within, instilling a culture of giving within one’s own society is key to sustaining the effort on a long-term basis.