Bold, adventurous, ascetic and benevolent, these are some of the characteristics of the daughter of Kuwait, His Excellency Saud Al-Asousi, who is described as a “maker of hope” because of her serious involvement in humanitarian volunteer work through bold quality initiatives in the less developed and most miserable regions of Yemen and the jungles of Africa. It is unfortunate that a character like this, willingly, left behind her back all her successful works and manifestations of luxury and comfortable living in her homeland to go to distant lands in order to give herself, her money and her time to the rescue of the deprived, the relief of the afflicted, the relief of the thoughts of the orphans and the handicapped, and the healing of the wounds of the tormented, which are not widely known due to ignoring the means Arab media for her humanitarian activities in return for the intense celebration of foreign volunteer charitable models such as the American actress Angelina Jolie, and before her, the Albanian nun Mother Teresa.However, what really surprised her and brought joy to her heart – although she never sought fame, honor and praise – was her choice in May 2017 among four other people to win the largest Arab award for charitable and humanitarian initiatives represented in the “makers of hope” award, which was launched in Dubai as part of the initiatives « The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Foundation »aims to honor the philanthropists who seek through their initiatives and volunteer humanitarian and community projects to alleviate the suffering of the needy, help the underprivileged, establish a culture of hope, consecrate the values of giving and optimism, fight despair, spread positivity, and work to improve the quality of life And upgrading the reality of the situation in their homelands and societies.
Al-Asousi said at the time that she was not expecting to get a high rating among the award’s 65,000 competitors and competitors. Is that this was the modesty of them. Her actions intercede for her, much greater than that. How not when she was the one who had imbibed charitable work since she was a fifteen-year-old boy. So what is her story? Where did it start? And who was her idol? What have you accomplished? We will try to identify all this through the following lines, using what was written about her in the press and what was published about her life, the Lebanese researcher residing in the State of Kuwait, Mr. Hamzah Elyan, in the third part of his book “Faces from Kuwait” (Dhat Al-Salasil publications / Kuwait / first edition / 2012 / Pages 242-246).
His Excellency Saud Al-Asousi was born in Kuwait in 1975, the daughter of the well-known Al-Asousi family, which descended from the Bani Khalid tribe (Al-Jabriya) and its men from the people of the sea, travel and diving, and their arrival in Kuwait dates back to 1742 (see the Kuwait History website). She studied in Kuwait schools, but the disaster of the Iraqi invasion of her country in 1990 prompted her to leave with her family and to settle temporarily in Bahrain, where, with her mother’s encouragement, she received a course in first aid work, which helped her to volunteer to work with the US Army and the Kuwaiti Red Crescent during the liberation war in 1991. , Before she joined Kuwaiti hospitals after liberation. At that time, I woke up to heartbreaking scenes such as severed hands, broken skulls, amputated fingers and other atrocities that I saw in the morgue as a result of the occupation army’s crimes. From the hospitals, she moved to work with the Civil Defense, where she continued to work for a year on the missing and prisoners’ file. Later on, she became active in the Kuwaiti Society for Voluntary Work, in the “Faiths” awareness program, and in the Kuwaiti Economic Association.
Al-Asousi completed her studies after liberation and graduated from high school. As a result, she decided to move to the United States to continue her university education at “Virginia Commonwealth University”, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in tourism planning and management with honors, and followed her by obtaining an accredited certificate in the field of community development. From the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative. Because of her academic excellence, the University of Virginia asked her to stay for an additional year to work for the US Department of Tourism. Here, His Excellency explored the depths of social service and got to know its essence well through an incident that happened to it.
Hamza Elyan talked about this pivotal event in her life, saying what is meant is that on one of the holidays, while she was roaming in a huge shopping mall in Virginia, she grabbed a bag to drag it behind without intending it, and there were alarms sounding in the spacious hall. Security guards surrounded her, and after the investigation and questioning, they told her that she had committed a misdemeanor, and in order not to be sent to prison, they asked her to provide a social service to expiate her mistake, so she liked the idea and worked overtime for three years in relief work for homeless families from those who do not have a shelter to shelter them Especially in the winter.
Thus, she spent most of the nineties in the United States, during which she learned the meaning and value of social service towards the needy and the vulnerable, and knew the meaning of self-reliance in foreign countries, and her personality strengthened and her knowledge varied and mixed with Arab and foreign races, ethnicities and cultures to the point where her Kuwaiti dialect blended with Yemeni and Palestinian dialects.
After returning to Kuwait, full of all these experiences and knowledge, she worked in the tourism sector of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information for some time, before she felt that this work did not satisfy her ambitions, so she decided to settle the matter and go to work as a media coordinator. In preparation for this shift, she enrolled in special courses in Kuwait and Egypt for training in writing radio scenarios. At the same time, she contracted with her citizen, Latifa Shaheen, to take private lessons in vocabulary exits, drafting news, stories and writing sketches. Moreover, she rescued herself from the power of watching television and instead focused on reading, until the book became an integral part of her daily life because – according to her – it makes the mind free from the restrictions common to people and provides an invaluable cultural storehouse.
Her various readings have led her to a love of adventure and travel to unknown, eventful and strange places. One of the fruits of this was her travel in 2004 for the first time to Kenya, where she saw in nature what many of the temptations and tragedies do not know about this African country, and where she lived for some time with the Maasai tribe of pagan beliefs. My Excellency says about this experience that she discovered among the members of this tribe honesty and loyalty. I asked a primitive school teacher there about the number of pens he needed to teach, and he said ten pens, so I gave him 15 pens, and he returned the five to me and he says, “I only need as many as 10 children. ». This in turn encouraged her later to work with her fellow filmmaker Khaled Al-Rashed to develop a script for a documentary film about Kenya and filmed it in 2005, to be shown on three satellite channels and for part of its profits to go to the needy in Kenya.
In the years 2005 and 2006, His Excellency set out to establish her own company to manage advertising campaigns, so she chose projects that were compatible with her convictions, and she continued to work until she decided in 2007 to stop the company’s activity in order to branch out into the business of the Kuwait Economic Society that was run by Mrs. Rola Dashti before the latter became a deputy. In the Kuwaiti National Assembly. Meanwhile, one of the Kuwaiti donors asked her to evaluate a project for him in Yemen concerning the payment of money for the education of Yemeni girls, so she traveled personally to Sana’a to assess the conditions of poor Yemeni girls and women on the nature through contact and question, to come back and answer the donor with one sentence: “The project is not feasible. Keep your money and your solution is better for you. ” This incident prompted her to change many of her concepts, chiefly the necessity that the donation to charitable projects should not have religious or partisan goals, and not be limited to one group without another, and that the donor should not interfere with its strategy and form. The same incident also generated within it the question, “Why do I not give my time and myself to needy families?” Accordingly, Maali returned to Yemen again to spend two full months in which she traveled between most cities, suburbs and villages, presenting herself to the tribal sheikhs as a widow seeking charitable works, and overcoming all difficulties and obstacles with intelligence, spontaneity and defiance.
In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida (01/14/2016), His Excellency described what she saw in Yemen as the catastrophic situation, adding that she witnessed a miserable case of women selling their honor in the streets because of poverty, and selling young children everywhere, and blind people wandering on their faces. And flooding sewers are unfit, diseases that kill bodies, and an infectious environmental pollution, which fueled within them the idea of working for a change in the lives of these people.
Before taking the first step in terms of what she decided to do, she went to the Kuwaiti preacher and philanthropist in Africa, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait (died in 2013) in order to listen to his advice and instructions. He recommended three tips: The first is to close her ears and not be affected by gossip, and the second is to work With a team that believes in its direction and style, and the third is not to be anxious to collect money because it will come alone. After they exchanged concerns and hopes, he said to her: “God Almighty created you for Yemen and created me for Africa.” That is why it came to be called “Sumaitiya” after Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait, as his successor in the field of charitable work and voluntary work.
Hamza Elyan wrote about her charitable adventure in Yemen, saying: The first step I took was to close the faucets from the beneficiaries of the owners of some charitable societies, so I opened an account for girls in the bank that directs certain amounts from the donor account to the girls’ account directly without an intermediary, provided that the bank By notifying the owner of the money about this, which caused her to “turn the head off” by associations that practiced the craft without being checked or monitored, and faced situations that did not come to anyone’s mind when she was surprised one day to storm her place by the sheikhs and notables of the villages to ask her about what she promoted with the girls of the villages Because of something called banks under the pretext that this is the work of the devil, and thus it entered into a unique and difficult confrontation that only the bank manager who had saved from it, who visited villages to meet with their sheikhs, explain the work of banks and open accounts for them.
Thus, His Excellency became a destination for the needy and needy people in Yemen, and its humanitarian activities expanded, and contacts increased from Gulf donors seeking to contribute to projects run by an expert Kuwaiti woman who had 13 local partners (at the time), and she coordinated with them to manage projects in various Yemeni governorates according to the rules of keeping away from party work. Religious intolerance. While she was undertaking this intense effort, she did not forget to complete her postgraduate studies, so she enrolled in the Dutch «Maastricht School of Management» in Yemen in order to obtain a master’s degree in business administration for executives. In this college, she met many sons of Yemen who had previously studied in Kuwait at the hands of the late Dr. Ahmed Al-Rabai (died in 2008). She made friends with them and they were the best help for her in the work of collecting information and developing studies.
In her aforementioned dialogue with Al Jarida, His Excellency spoke proudly of what she had done in Yemen. She said that after she passed the stage of providing food and clothing to the poor, she started educational, health, awareness and empowerment projects for women because they are marginalized and because the humanitarian return is greater when efforts are directed towards them. The beginning was the selection of girls from six villages to educate and sensitize them about devastating issues such as circumcision and the diseases it causes, so they were able to continue their studies to the secondary level, amidst many complications and social problems. Because of the success of this step, in 2007, it established the Tamkeen Foundation in Yemen as a non-profit development entity whose mission is to improve the quality of life in general and the quality of women’s lives in particular, and to provide consultations for those who want to donate and implement charitable projects in a way that preserves the dignity of the beneficiaries, and in areas far from traditional fields. Such as digging wells and opening schools, for example.
Since then, the Tamkeen Foundation has been able to complete many projects that have benefited more than 12,000 Yemeni families. It has also provided more than 600 scholarships for scientific specializations, and established projects such as: the potable water project, which benefited 45,000 Yemenis, and the crafts network project to support families. Producer and facilitate the sale of its products, the female student development project, the youth income improvement project, the model village project, the AIDS protection project, the midwives and paramedics training project, and the early detection of cancer cases. Among the pioneering projects that Tamkeen Foundation and Maali Al-Asousi stood behind was treating hundreds of blind or cataract cases through corneal transplants and sending them to Egypt for treatment in cooperation with the Yemeni Association for the Blind. In addition to the above, His Excellency did not forget to pay attention to the major problems of Yemen, the most dangerous of which is represented in the use of khat, so she, with a company specialized in land reclamation, transferred about one hundred thousand qat farms to coffee cultivation within seven years, with the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of this devilish plant on health.
The truth is that the Yemeni war has placed additional heavy loads on His Excellency, but instead of meeting her needs and returning to Kuwait, she took a decision to stay and settle in Yemen. Where it found itself called more than before to work to provide humanitarian services to the victims of this war, which was caused by the enemies of the Arabs. In this context, she told us that after the outbreak of the war, she focused her efforts on the northern regions of Yemen because they are more backward, turbulent and miserable, while the regions of southern Yemen are safer and more stable, noting that the most problems did not lie in the availability of money, but rather in how food aid, oil derivatives, medicines and medical aid were brought and delivered to Those who deserve it in a safe manner without falling into the hands of bandits, thieves and tribal influential people, and without being affected by war actions.
Among the scenes that affected her during the war is the scene of a Yemeni woman who asked her for a quantity of rice the size of the palm of her hand because she had been for a long time while feeding her children animal feed. This is not to mention the moving scenes of daily wage workers who lost their jobs and thus the ability to provide simple food for themselves and their families, which made them frighteningly fight over food aid when it arrived in their areas.
From Yemen, Her Excellency extended her charitable activities in 2010 to Ethiopia, where she established a development project to support 55 productive families funded by philanthropists from Kuwait and other Gulf countries. In her country, Kuwait, it is reported to her that before her departure to Yemen, she volunteered to run the “Business Center” to support youth and women in the fields of self-employment. She also worked as a director of the “computer literacy” project under the supervision of the Kuwait Economic Association, and worked with the “Who won my hand” project on empowering Widows and divorced women to establish small enterprises and create sustainable income for them. She established the global “Business and Professional Women Club”, which has a consultative capacity under the umbrella of the United Nations, and in 2010 published her first book under the title “Small Projects Guide to Support Women and Youth in particular.”