Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah development authority gives back to the local community

The We’re All Responsible campaign featured huge 3D images projected onto the walls of Salwa Palace in the historic Al-Turaif district of Diriyah Governorate. (Received from DGDA)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is dedicated to celebrating and serving the local community through several initiatives in its One Culture program.

The One Culture program aims to incubate an ecosystem of inspiration and empowerment for young people to become tomorrow’s leaders. It also aims to build a traditional cultural community that celebrates Saudi Arabia’s ancient history.

Ahlam Al-Thunayan, community shared value manager, said that she and her team targeted society, the home, and the family. “We (the team) are the link between the DGDA and the community,” she told Arab News.
There are six people in the team: Abdullah Al-Thunayan, Sarah Al-Amri, Alanoud Al-Saud, Haifa Al-Ruwaished, Maram Al-Muhaideb and Sara Al-Hussaini.

They helped to organize the Layali Ad Ad Diriyah (Ad Ad Diriyah night) event that was held in the Al-Bujairi neighborhood last year.

“There was a priority for the Diriyah families and whoever lived there to rent booths, because it is important for them to benefit from the area they live in,” said Al-Thunayan.

The team also worked on a charity event in Al-Bujairi last September. “The food trucks that were available there were from Diriyah, and they donated 50 percent of their income to a charity organization, Al-Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Charity Society, which is one of the first charities in Diriyah.”

Al-Thunayan’s role was to facilitate and give the food truck owners the opportunity to display their goods.
The team created different initiatives for the DGDA’s launch event, which was attended by King Salman.

They trained almost 500 volunteers from Ad Diriyah. Some were chosen to work in part-time jobs at the launch ceremony in an organization and coordinating capacity, and others were part of the Arda dance (a Saudi folk dance).

Al-Thunayan said that the costume designer of the DGDA launch event, Mashael Al-Faris, a Saudi fashion designer specializing in high-end brands, was a local from Diriyah.

“We told her to design the abayas in a more traditional way. You can also tell from the designs in the middle (that) they were inspired by the theme of the Diriyah, the old Najdi embroideries. We tried as much as possible to show and portray our heritage.”

When it came to catering the team chose Takya, a local Saudi restaurant, and made sure that the main course was a Najdi dish. Al-Thunayan’s role was to empower locals and ensure their visibility in such events.

At the Diriyah Season, which was organized by the General Entertainment Authority, Al-Thunayan’s team distributed 7,500 tickets for locals to enter Diriyah Oasis.

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