By Sahrish Ali
“Social responsibility – this is, a personal investment in the well-being of others and of the planet – doesn’t just happen. It takes intention, attention, and time.” – Sheldon Berman
Individual Social Res-ponsibility is expressed as an interest towards what’s happening in the community, as well as active participation in solving some of the local problems. At Destination, we talked to people who are not only participating in socially responsible acts themselves, but are actually encouraging others to make it a lifestyle.
Faisal Sherraif – Social Change Maker
Faisal Sherraif is creating awareness through his many campaigns focusing on outlanders and the less privileged throughout the city.
“These campaigns are slowly changing my feel of responsibility towards my community. The Outlanders project impacted so many people. I receive random comments thanking me for changing the way outlanders are thought of in our community.”
Faisal spent quite a bit of time outside his home country and experienced firsthand how it feels to be an outlander. That’s what prompted him
to start campaigns in his own community.
Tell us about your campaigns.
I started with @outlanders_ksa a year ago, then came @alsoroor_ a couple of months later and the latest was @back2arabic a couple of months after that. I still feel Outlanders is the one that touched me most and still keeps influencing a lot of people, so most my efforts are on that project.
What can social influencers do?
Social influencers should start taking more action by supporting current campaigns. Instead of competing on who has the most successful campaign, we need to collaborate and get as many people and companies on board. You need to believe in your cause; opportunities find you while you are working. Consulting is always the best way to start anything in general whether it’s a business or social campaign. Get the right consultation and the right team if needed. Try to get a sponsor or a financial partner, take all the rights steps and hope for the best.
How did Outlanders start?
Outlanders started off with an Instagram account telling stories of outlanders in KSA. I was then contacted by MBC to be part of Laish-La TV show. They planned an amazing event together on May 14 last year and called it Labor Appreciation Day. During the event, people were invited to Red Sea Mall. They were asked to bring gifts along with them that they were to wrap on site and then give to outlanders in their households. The Eid Shirt project shortly followed and took place in Jeddah, Riyadh, Khobar and Bahrain. It was in collaboration with PaperMoon. People were asked to give new shirts at the branches, which were then gift wrapped by the company and delivered individually to outlanders in each city.
Ammar Aidarous Al Sabban Puppeteer / Creative Consultant
“My personal belief is that I need to be part of a solution that makes someone’s life better. We can’t really control the size of the impact; but we have to take initiatives and at least try.”
Tell us about some of your projects.
One of the first projects I worked on with one of my friends was Graphytes Design Lab, which is a creative solutions studio that made it an obligation to give top notch creative consultations and services to young startups and small local businesses for very little in return. Another project was Mekkanism, which is a training and development group that helps educational institutes and organizations develop sustainable and measurable growth.
My most recent initiative and the one closest to my heart is 31 Workshop Ave. With the help of a few friends, I started a small one-man entertainment studio where my main entertainment tools are puppets. Initially, the idea I had was making a local online kids’ puppet show, while hiding some positive educational messages within the fabric of the show to have a positive impact on their lives.
I designed a group of five puppet characters and then started practicing and developing them further. After a year of talking to people, I caught the eye of young local YouTube celebrity Omar Hussein, who helped me produce the show creatively. So far we have aired two episodes on YouTube and Facebook. Recently, I’ve started writing, filming, editing and producing, distributing and puppeteering my own “Afroott” weekly short comedy videos on YouTube and Facebook.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Lack of financial gain or security is always an issue. It kills the motivation and sustainability of any project or individual. The three internal obstacles are drive, experience and commitment. Lack of these three elements is the biggest obstacle in any initiative, and combining all three will create sustainable efforts that will live long enough to make a change.
Overcoming these obstacles is a long process, but if we try to break down that process into simpler more realistic goals, they will help set us on the right path. I believe our goals to overcome these obstacles should be helping individuals overcome their fears and giving individuals a sense of purpose.
Facebook: /Afroott – /Maadrishow – /Sabban31
Instagram: @Afroott – @Maadrishow – @Sabban31
Twitter: @Afroott – @Maadrishow – @Sabban31
Youtube: Afroott – Maadrishow – Sabban31
YIG – Young Initiative Group
YIG started as a volunteering organization in June 2010, and after 4 years of relief work, in order to add further value to the community they assumed the form of a social enterprise. Now their main aim is to design and execute feasible community solutions that are viable in partnership with private, governmental and nonprofit institutions. Aligning personal or corporate goals with community goals is often challenging since creating a social impact in a manner that also meets personal corporate goals requires more than just creating PR campaigns.
“In order to encourage individual and corporate social responsibility, empathy is the main value. It is the key trait that pushes us all to care for one another and to go the extra mile when we see someone in need.”
Sofana Dahlan – Tashkeil
Tashkeil aims to build bridges between communities, unite skills and common interests. Part of its purpose is to facilitate and encourage dialogue that aims to foster collaborative creative thinking.To take a proactive stance, Tashkeil gets individuals involved by starting initiatives as acts of philanthropic behavior.
“Sound of Hope was a very influential initiative that brought together a lot of people in supporting a cause. One of the objectives of Tashkeil is to instill hope in people. This was also the mission of designer Maaly Khashoggi, who wanted to donate 40 percent profit on each earring towards the purchase of hearing aids.”