Left to Right: Mr. AbdulKarim Alrasheed (Olayan Group), Mr. Tarik Ismail (Savola Group), Mr. Abdullah Al Bader (Almarai), HE Eng. Adel Fakeih, Mr. Amr Mohamed Khashoggi (Zahid Group), Mr. Mohammed Tamer (Tamer Group), Mr. Abdulmohsin Alghamdi (Zamil Industrial), and Mr. Wafaa Zawawi (Zahid Group)
The Minister of Labor, His Excellency Engineer Adel Fakeih, officially announced the launch of the Qaderoon Business Disability Network at an elaborate ceremony held in Riyadh on March 9th. The Minister of Social Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, also attended the launch as well as a considerable number of prominent executives and stakeholders interested in the inclusion and employment of persons with disability in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In his speech, HE Minister of Labor confirmed the ambitious goals of “Qaderoon”, noting that the Ministry of Labor has developed a national strategy to promote work for persons with disability and to provide support services within the framework of private and public sector partnerships. It is the outcome of continuous work from both the Ministry of Labor and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), resulting in the empowerment and employment of persons with disability in the local labor market.
“We in the Ministry of Labor will work during the foundation stage next year to provide moral and material support for this vital project to achieve its objectives,” HE Minister of Labor said. “We hope that the network will be a reference point for companies that believe in employing persons with disability and will motivate and encourage them to support ‘Qaderoon’.”
Advisor to the Minister of Labor, Dr. Mervat Tashkandi, delivered a speech revealing that it took eighteen months of work to officially launch “Qaderoon”. Tashkandi reviewed the preparation stages in cooperation with international advisory groups to benefit from their expertise and understand global best practices.
Mr. Amr Mohamed Khashoggi, “Qaderoon” Chairman, thanked all supporters, members and participants for helping to enable persons with disability, both economically and socially. “We should work together to change society’s perception of persons with disability by creating awareness about their ability to contribute to the productivity of the labor market, as opposed to perceiving them as charitable cases,” Khashoggi said. “All individuals should have the right to work and fulfill their goals. ‘Qaderoon’ ambassadors are a group of people with disabilities who have greatly contributed to the local labor market and we hope this network encourages more people to get involved. By working with governmental and civil society organizations, and with the grace of God, ‘Qaderoon’ will ensure that persons with disability receive the same equal rights as others.”
Mr. Fahad A. Abualnasr, General Manager of “Qaderoon”, announced that the network will offer a number of seminars, workshops and newsletters, and will train human resources employees to attract persons with disability for employment. “Qaderoon” will also provide consulting in creating work environments with a range of support services such as Braille printings and sign language interpretation.
Expressing his delight with the launching of “Qaderoon” and his optimism about the future of the field, Professor Stephen Trommel from the International Labor Organization congratulated everyone for the prompt steps in accelerating employment of persons with disability in the Kingdom.
Mr. Mark Donovan, Vice Chairman of the Marriot Foundation for People with Disabilities, Inc., presented a number of success stories relating to various professions, drawing employers’ attention to the benefit of hiring persons with disability.
The ceremony concluded with HE Minister of Labor honoring the founders of the “Qaderoon” network, who are Almarai, Tamer Group, Savola Group, Olayan Group, Zamil Industrial and Zahid Group of Companies.