Balad Opens Doors for the Disabled, Orphaned and Elderly

Unforgettable experiences for visitors and organizers, alike.

Every three months with directors of different organizations and sponsors, people who are physically challenged and children who have lost their parents are invited to take a tour of Balad and discover the wonders of this beautiful district. Another trip is arranged twice a year for the elderly coming from Makkah.

“Because it is a favorite for many, it becomes imperative that an informative and fun trip to Balad be organized for them,” says Abir AbuSulayman, co-founder of Jeddah’s Heart – an initiative aimed at renovating Balad.

The tours consist of assistants guiding the visitors in every way possible, like helping in pushing the disabled wheelchairs, describing the sites and showing all the main hot spots. There is always a stopover at Bayt Jeddah, where they get to enjoy folklore dances and participate in the performance. Next, a thorough tour of Bayt Jeddah is done, explaining the life of Jeddahwis in the past. The visit also consists of a trip to the library and gallery to hear more short stories and tales as well a chance for the visitors to draw with the painters. The residents of the district also make sure to welcome them with open arms.1

AbuSulayman adds, “They love the place and they recognize it. Even if there is no festival, once they step out of their bus, they look around and shout ‘balad balad’ with extensive excitement, calling me, ready for the tour. The elderly enter these old houses with tears in their eyes, reminiscing old times. It’s all truly heartwarming.”

Variations are made with each visit to make sure visitors stay excited and motivated to discover more.

“The highlight of their visit is that they always seem happy and comment in unexpected ways. It’s always surprising for us as well because we discover new things about them every time,” AbuSulayman concludes.

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