JEDDAH — Al-Qurrayyat District residents put their hands together Tuesday to color a newly renovated street, which for decades was being used to dump trash. It was an initiative of Friends of Jeddah Parks (FJP), a charity society that has already built two parks – Ameera Park for Families and Faisal Sports Park – for the residents of Al-Qurrayyat, one of the poorest areas of the city.
FJP managed to gain the support of the Jeddah Mayoralty, Al-Baik and Tamr company to provide cultural services the area’s residents.
The recent event was aimed at fostering the culture of sharing, volunteering and good behavior among the youth of that neighborhood.
According to locals, the municipality has not provided the area with basic infrastructural services such as sanitary maintenance, garbage collection and the spraying of insecticide.
Faisal Yahya, a resident of Al-Qurrayyat, said that FJP initiatives have made the people of the district aware about the importance of preserving the environment. They now know the difference between graffiti and vandalization of private property. And through FJP, they have found an opportunity to showcase their talents and skills.
Mayan Al-Zawawi, Program Developer at FJP, said: “We decided to renovate the interior part of the district. We wanted to see if we could do that, so we did the cleanup in partnership with the municipality. And we succeeded in doing so.”
The municipality agreed to renovate one of the district’s streets but they requested us to ask the land owner to rebuild the wall, as it was about 70 years old, she explained.
We spoke to the owners and they agreed to rebuild the wall, Mayan said.
“Then we wanted to bring in artists who would join the community in painting graffiti, and so residents could feel they contributed toward the renovation,” she said.
“We wanted the paintings to be related to environmental and behavioral change,” Mayan added.
FJP started a series of group sessions with the management of Faisal Sports Park and the residents, so we slowly introduced them to such ideas.
“We wanted to get their feedback on the project to see what they wanted us to put on that wall. They gave us slogans, words and all types of different things they thought would be cool to put on the wall. They even asked for things to be written in English as well,” Mayan said. — SG