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Manarat Social Event 2014


Manarat Jeddah International School for Girls will be holding a social event on the 20th March, 2014. It will be a ladies only event and children under the age of 7 will be allowed.

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For those who wish to book a stall:

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The event will include food competitions, a jumping castle, face painting, t-shirt making, cupcake decorating, pizza making, a wide variety of food and many more!

Here is a map for directions to Manarat:

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For further details and queries, check out their Facebook Event Page.

Uzma Raheem – A Beacon of Hope for Children with Exceptional Needs


In this blog post, I am particularly proud to be able to introduce you to a lady who has, and continues to inspire me and countless others. Her non-stop positive attitude is infectious and the sheer energy, determination, drive and passion she draws upon and imparts to those around her makes me wonder whether she might just be super-human. Uzma Raheem is a force of nature, and a shining source of support and hope to many families here in Jeddah. Jeddah Blog writer Anousha Vakani sat down with Uzma earlier this month to chat with her about the inception and growth of the Hope Center, its success stories and the challenges she faces.

Uzma Raheem after winning her 9th International award in 15 years.

Uzma Raheem after winning her 9th International award in 15 years.

The Hope Center needs little introduction – the people of Jeddah, the rest of KSA and even abroad have watched it grow from a summer programme held in a tiny apartment to a full-fledged multi-cultural institute that has won a total of nine international awards in just fifteen years. Yet, the Center’s founder and directress, Uzma Raheem, speaks to us about the Center’s growth with paramount humility. She is not oblivious to the lives she has touched but her pride lies in the teamwork and dedication that is the foundation of this ‘life-skills institute,’ as she prefers to call it.

Baking activity with the children.

Baking activity with the children.

She admits that not even in her wildest dreams did she imagine that her efforts would grow to this magnitude. Even receiving a licence from the Ministry was inconceivable, let alone gaining both national and international recognition and awards. However, she says the Center is not just about her efforts, “it is a community project, a joint effort with so many supporters and well-wishers. We have very dedicated, compassionate staff and in fifteen years we have managed to establish our credibility in the market so yes, people know that Hope for Exceptional Needs does deliver.” However, it’s not an easy task – one struggle is that of finding trained staff. The Center started off with just two or three volunteers at one time working with an average of six to nine students. It has grown to a full-sized institute with fifty staff members but it is still a struggle. One reason for this, Uzma Raheem notes is that, “universities are churning out students but guess what? They’re taking their degrees and working in other fields that pay more. You cannot get into this field with a commercial mindset, especially if you’re working with disabled children. You’ve got to have the compassion as well. If you’re thinking of the rewards of both this life and the after, then yes, come in to this field where the salary may not be that high but the job satisfaction is tremendous.”

The children with their toys.

The children with their toys.

The job satisfaction is another factor we discuss, and her contentment is hard to misplace. She mentions the success stories, of fourteen children who have been integrated into mainstream education, one who has gotten a job and one who has gotten married. “Three children came into the center who could not even walk and today when I see them running in the hallways, I think my heart leaps behind them. I sleep with a lot of peace in my heart. It’s that fantastic.” When asked about the struggles that come with her job, she sighs and admits that there are many, as with any other job. “Apart from the financial aspect and the shortage of resources, I have to say the children are the easiest part of my job. One of the most difficult parts is actually dealing with the parents. While some parents come in with this wealth of knowledge and acceptance of what their child is going through, and that’s half of our job done – when the parents meet us midway – some parents are, unfortunately less educated or educated and in denial or under severe depression – those are the families that are a challenge to work with, but it is part of the package.”

Martial arts training at the Center.

Martial arts training at the Center.

Among others, the center offers physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy and speech and hearing therapy. While they do not set an age limit, Uzma Raheem encourages parents to admit their children as early as possible. “A young child is like freshly kneaded dough and you can mould them out into any shape you want, whereas an older child is like slightly stale dough and if your try too hard to make any shape out of them, they break.”

The children on a visit to Makkah. Hope for Exceptional Needs.

The children on a visit to Makkah.

Religion is also a major point of focus at the Hope Center. The Muslim children are taught basic du’as, the ritual of wudu and etiquette for visiting the Holy Mosque. Regular trips are also made to Makkah where the children make tawaaf and implement all that they’ve learnt. “I think religion plays a big part, and not just for the children but for us as well, in finding comfort that a higher power is looking after our children,” Uzma Raheem muses as a wrap up to our brief but enlightening conversation. To learn more about the Hope Center’s programmes and to follow their progress, join Hope- for exceptional needs on Facebook. Check out their website too, expected to go live in a few days’ time.

Summer Fun with The Lighthouse Project


A fun and productive Summer Club for kids starting 8th June, 2013. Not only varied activities, but very reasonably priced too. Activities include swimming, taekwondo and cooking for children aged 5-11. For more details or to make a reservation, call the numbers below.

Hope Summer Club

Calling all Photographers!


A great opportunity presents itself to all those budding photographers in Jeddah. A mobile app startup company called StringFly is launching a National Heritage project in major cities around the world. Although starting as an app company, they are now in the early stages of building a user website, part of which will be a world map people can discover real time content on.

They are seeking qualified images of architectural landmarks from cities all over the world, and this is where you come in. They are looking for local photographers who care about the architecture and heritage of their cities to work with them.

Requirements

You need to have an iPhone or Android and must be willing to use their StringFly app on your smartphone to upload images from the site of places of worship, hospitals and schools in Jeddah.

How it works

If this is something you may be interested in, then go ahead and register and download the app here. Once the app is downloaded, you will then be able to use your username and password to login to your web account at StringFly and upload a few sample images depicting the types of buildings listed above. You can also use images taken previously from a conventional camera.

Phase 2

They will be choosing, based on quality criteria, from among the photographers who participate in the first phase and will offer many among them the opportunity to participate in the second phase where you will be asked to take and upload images using the StringFly app, for which they will pay cash rewards in exchange for all requested qualifying images.

 

Happy clicking!

 

 

Back to School Checklist


Children all over Jeddah have been chilling at home for the past few months, and now it’s time for them to go back to school. With so much to do, we’ve tried to make your job a little easier by compiling a checklist to get you organized for that exciting first day. Our regular contributor Anosha Vakani has covered all bases, from finding a good school for your child to planning lunch menus.

What is your method for getting organized for school? Is there anything you’re particularly careful about? Drop us a line and let us know!

Find a school and get to know it, or re-register

  • If you’re looking for a new school for your child, or a transfer, then take a look at this list of schools or playgroups and preschools compiled by Jeddah Blog.
  • Fill out necessary forms and make sure your child is up-to-date with vaccinations.
  • Find out if you can meet your child’s new teacher to discuss essentials.
  • Confirm when the first day of school will be. It’s quite normal for schools in Jeddah to postpone the first day of school so be prepared for this possibility.
  • Get a copy of the school policies – these are usually handed out within the first week of school or available online.

Arrange Transportation

Decide on the best mode of transportation:

  • School bus: Find out if your school offers this option and the additional costs involved, also have a clearly drawn map of your house to submit to them.
  • On foot: If you live close enough, you can walk the younger kids to and from school, or delegate this to domestic help.
  • Private drivers or compound buses: If you have a private driver or a compound bus that takes children to and from school, discuss school timings with the driver and ensure the school is informed as to who will be picking your child up every day. If you are a working mom, then make arrangements for someone to receive your child on their first day.

Buy school supplies and uniforms, and plan lunch menus

  • Get bags, lunch boxes and water bottles. Find something sturdy yet easy to carry. Try Centrepoint, Citymax, Jarir, Pottery Barn, Go Sport, Kiplings or Fanoos Stationery.
  • School supplies – A specific list is usually handed out within the first week of school but you may consider stocking up on the essentials beforehand. Plan a single trip to Jarir or any other bookstore or stationery shop, and stock up on pencils, pens, folders, paper, crayons, colour pencils, labels, rulers, erasers etc.
  • Find out whether the school has a uniform and whether it is to be purchased from the school or an external outlet.
  • Purchase the uniform as early as possible and make the necessary alterations.
  • Get shoes and socks. Find out if the school has specific requirements for shoes. Try Centrepoint, Hush Puppies, Payless, Clarks, Mothercare, Debenhams or Marks and Spencer.
  • School clothes – If the school does not have a uniform, then purchase suitable clothes. Make a list and don’t buy more than the essentials. Label the clothes to avoid them getting misplaced. For preschoolers, remember to include an extra pair of clothes in their everyday bag in case of emergencies. Also keep an eye out for back to school sales.
  • Plan healthy lunch menus and make a grocery list, make sure to add variety.
  • Limit the amount of money per week that can be spent on the school canteen.

Declutter, organize and smarten up

  • Organize closet – Donate old clothes, shoes and uniforms to charity. Old textbooks can be donated or sold.
  • Clean out old school supplies, papers and artwork and make space for new. Clear space under fridge magnets for school notices that will be coming in.
  • Get a wall calendar to mark important events.
  • Label all your school supplies.
  • Schedule a haircut.
  • Pick out clothes for the first day of school. If this is the first time your child will be wearing a tie, then make sure to practice with him/her so they will be well-prepared. The same goes for tying shoelaces.
  • If your children have fallen into a late sleep routine, then gradually begin to pull back on their sleep timings. If you start a week early and wake them a little earlier every day, they’ll be able to get up at the crack of dawn bright and happy.

First day of school

  • Lay out clothes or uniform for the next day.
  • Pack lunches.
  • Have your child pack his or her own bag.
  • Insist on a proper breakfast.
  • Get your camera and snap a million first day of school pictures!

The Dream Dilemma


After weeks of preparation and rehearsals, the talented children of Year 5 at Jeddah Prep and Grammar School put on a spectacular performance of a play called 'The Dream Dilemma' specifically written for the children by one of their teachers, Mr. Dewet Hugo and made possible by the dedication and hard work of a number of other teachers throughout the Prep School. To read a summary of The Dream Dilemma, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a synopsis written exclusively for Jeddah Blog by Haris Ali, a Year 8 student of JPGS.
 

                                 
Last Wednesday, 28 March 2012, after a delay of a few days due to the sandstorm that encompassed Jeddah entirely, parents were finally invited to watch their children perform, and were blown away at the confidence and stage presence shown by all. We were all entertained by drama, music and dances. Many in the audience were seen to be tapping their feet along with the music. The play was smoothly executed and well-timed, the children articulate and fearless.
  
  
The young children singing, dancing and acting.

The benefits of school productions are numerous. They help children to bring out their talent, build their self-confidence and overcome their inhibitions. In addition, they assist in developing self-esteem, instilling interest for music, drama and the arts. Perhaps most importantly, school musicals and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, and communicate well with their peers. The presence of the Headmaster Mr. Ashraf, encouraged the children further.

If your child was part of this particular performance, do let us know your thoughts or send us photos. Or if they are performing in any other stage production in Jeddah, send us pictures and we will happily post them up.

And now young contributor Haris Ali, a student at JPGS, summarises the play for Jeddah Blog:

The Dream Dilemma – A Summary

At the Dream Agency, Agents Drama, Comedy, Reality, Adventure, Science-Fiction and Fantasy work together to create dreams for their client. All is well until the boy watches a horror movie which is not appropriate for his age. They all agree their client should get what he deserves, but don’t know how to produce a scary dream.

 
Mr. Sandman, the boss of the Dream Agency, brings them a new agent to help them solve this problem, Agent Night-Mary. Agent Night-Mary, along with her assistant bats, Frank and Stine (Frankenstein) are ordered to put a great scare in the naughty kid’s dream. However, Night-Mary isn’t who everyone thinks she is, and doesn’t want to be the bad guy anymore. Despite Frank and Stine’s goading, she turns nice and becomes a good friend of the Agents.

 
This angers the bad guys’ boss, who surprisingly turns out to be Night-Mary’s older sister, Angelica. Angelica was the evil-doer the whole time, not Night-Mary, and Frank and Stine were in on it too. Sergeant Daydream and Captain Dreamcatcher turn in Angelica after she shoots down Frank and Stine for not convincing Night-Mary to make the dream scary enough.

– Haris Ali         

The Smart List of Jeddah International Schools


When a family moves to Jeddah from abroad, one of the most important issues for them is the hunt for a good school that satisfies their various requirements. Even among settled residents, one will often hear that they are on the lookout for a new or better school.

To make life a little easier, Jeddah Blog has compiled the following list of schools in Jeddah. The list is by no means exhaustive or endorsed by Jeddah Blog, and parents are advised to visit a number of schools before making a final decision. Click on the links for further information.

Once you’ve settled on a choice of school, then take a look at our Back to School Checklist to complete the process.

Finally, if you can give your personal feedback on any particular school, it may help others to make a decision. Leave your comment at the end of the page.

ABC Al Hassan International School
Location: Enquire by phone. Phone: 0553469715, 6988827
Advanced Generations Schools

Location: Elementary School Boys Section (Second Floor) An Nahdah Dist.
Phone: (KG) (02)-420-2525, (Elementary) (02)-420 2432 or (02)-420 2105

Al-Barakah International School
Location: Al Kandarah, Behind Jeddah Watani Hospital Tel: 2600876 Email: barakainternationalschool@hotmail.com

Al Barakah Modern International School

British Curriculum, KG – Grade 8

Location: Behind Moulinex Building, Baghdadiyah, Sharafiyah, Jeddah.

Tel: 012 – 6434832
Fax: 012 – 6450073
Mob: 0568174720 / 0509777987
Email ID: abisj@ymail.com

Read more…

The Monster List of Playgroups, preschools, nurseries and activities for little ones in Jeddah


My good friend, lecturer, international speaker and most importantly supermom, Qurratulain Sikander has compiled a list of playgroups, preschools and activities for children in Jeddah and has very generously agreed to share the information with readers of Jeddah Blog. Click on the links for further information:

Ambassadors Schools Ambassadors Schools is a world-class KG school in Jeddah that helps your child master English, become independent and confident and Live Islamic Values in daily life.

Bellz Montessori Committed to excellence in education!!

Bizzy B Bizzy B is a family “edutainment” center for children aged between 3 and 12 years old. Bizzy B offers unique family entertainment activities with components designed to allow children to learn through play. Bright talk montessori Contact: 6655000 ext. 6208 Building Blocks Education with the goal of building minds for the future. A kindergarten and primary school in Jeddah aiming to give the best international educational while conserving Islamic tradition and culture.

Colors Kids Labs They are still open for the summer program, lots of exciting things to do such as swimming, arts, taekwondo, French lessons, English story writing, vocabulary, and much more. 12- 4 pm Sat – Wed . contact : 6061639/ 0546369465

Enchanted Garden Enchanted Garden Child Enrichment Center is an extra-curricular activity center for children presenting opportunities for creative stimulation, intellectual inspiration and physical challenge within a happy and progressive atmosphere.

Green Leaves Playgroup Our primary focus is to provide a safe and nurturing environment to all of the children. At Green Leaves Playgroup, children come first and we do every thing is necessary to ensure that your child is secure, confident and happy. We really look forward to meeting you.

JackNJill Playgroup Playgroup for ages 1.5 and onwards native english conversation skills motor skills ,phonics, colours, shapes, social development, arts and crafts, sing and dance and much more.

Jeddah Campus School Nursery, preschool and KG. Long hours day care is available. English and Arabic learning An international, self-built curriculum designed especially for children according to age groups. Address: Prince Sultan St (towards Khaldiya district) second right after Meed gas station. First U-turn. school on the right corner. phone number: 6061101 or 0565684400

Jeddah Grammar School At Jeddah Grammar we believe that every child has the right to quality education support. It is our goal to provide the best educational techniques to help all children reach their full potential. All of our application have been created using behavioural techniques that are based on the principles of “Applied Behaviour Analyze”(ABA) using a using a Verbal Behaviour (VB) technique.

Kids Time Nursery Day Care Center

Little 1s Daycare At your child’s second home Little1s daycare we provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for your child throughout the day. Children are welcome from ages 0 months to 3 years old in our full or part time duty.

Little Book (A kids Library) Little Book is a specialty bookstore for children (ages 0-12). We nurture the love of reading and support those who are passionate about books that honor growing young minds. Our mission is to provide parents and children with a large and carefully selected inventory of quality children’s books. Little Smarties Little Smarties has a special child-centered approach which will feed children’s developing skills and interests at the right times and help them to become confident, capable and in control of their world.

Mama Et Moi Boost your child’s Confidence, Happiness and Ability to learn through play at Mama_et_moi . Lots of activities to enjoy with your child.

Mommy Debs Day Care A Home Away from Home, Mommy Debs Day Care accepts children aged 2 months – 3 years. Timings: 8am – 5pm Location: Al Naeem District
email: mommydebsdaycareis@gmail.com

My Library My Library is the first private non profitmaking Children’s Lending Library in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We have over 10,000 books in English & Arabic for children & young adults. My Library is a haven for Mothers & their children to share books and the love of reading. As well as a twice daily Story Time, My Library offers many courses and activities throughout the year. Rose garden Our Kids Club provides exclusive enrichment programs for children between ages 3 years – 10 years. We help each child develop into the successful human being they were meant to be. Our carefully developed programs allow children to create and build social skills and friendships with others while we enhance our physical with our educational activities.

Young Entrepreneurs The Young Entrepreneur School aims to promote the entrepreneurship characteristics among its students by developing the required skills necessary to stimulate them to become future leaders and entrepreneurs. Thus, stimulating local and international economic growth. If you would like to have your organization added to this list then please email the details to team.jeddah.blog@gmail.com

– Sabaa Ali

Darjana International School Science Fair


On Thursday, 5th May, 2011 Darjana International School held their annual Science fair for grades 2 and 3. All projects were laid out in the gym with teams of students proudly presenting their pieces. The fair was well-organised, ensuring that small children knew exactly what they were supposed to do. There were also a wide variety of projects, simple enough for youngsters to understand and to perform. Jeddah Blog brings you some snapshots of the fair:


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