In already unequal societies, women are often the most vulnerable. Many carry the double burden of poverty, and caregiving, with little access to opportunity to improve their circumstances.
Since 1976, Al Faisaliya Women’s Welfare Society has helped to financially and socially empower more than 2,000 of Jeddah’s low-income widows, divorcees and prisoners’ families. And in 2014, when King Khalid Foundation launched a competition asking Saudi-based charities to design a profit-driven initiative, Al Faisaliya was one of the first to respond.
The organisation’s innovative Ajr wa Nadhafa project proposed offering needy families payment in exchange for collecting recycled plastic and paper. Supported by funding from King Khalid Foundation, Al Faisaliya placed 80 recycling containers in schools, homes and hotels, and hosted workshops that trained women in how to create art or useful accessories from recyclables.
The revenue helped fund Al Faisaliya’s programmes, and at the same time, led to an increase in environmental awareness in the community.
Today, Ajr wa Nadhafa is a self-sustaining project, and Al Faisaliya plans to roll it out across Jeddah in support of more low-income families.
“King Khalid Foundation is our partner in sustainable social development,” says Kholoud Al Quthami, PR manager at the nonprofit. “We’re proud to have collaborated with them, and seen the impact we have.”