DiscoverAswat: Voices of Arabia
Aswat: Voices of Arabia

Aswat: Voices of Arabia

Author: Aswat: Voices of Arabia

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Aswat: Voices of Arabia is an English language podcast from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which explores the lives, aspirations, and achievements of women of the region.
19 Episodes
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One year on

One year on

2019-06-2400:15:58

Today, exactly one year ago, women in Saudi Arabia started driving again. On the 24th June 2018, a driving ban that had been in place for many decades, was lifted. It was a huge step forward. To celebrate this day, we're replaying our very first episode, 'Driving, at last!' It's quite apt that we're replaying this episode today as it was the same episode that launched Aswat: Voices of Arabia. I'd also like to let you know that we'll be taking a break for a while. In a couple of weeks, my husband and I will be leaving Saudi Arabia. We're not sure whether we'll be returning or starting a new adventure in a different part of the world. One thing I do know is that it's been a pleasure sharing the stories of the women who I've met during the past year. I hope that their stories have inspired you as they have me. 
Resilience

Resilience

2019-06-0900:16:01

In our second chat with Modia Batterjee, she talks about her work as a resilience practitioner. Through her involvement with Al Bidayah Centre, the breastfeeding clinic in Jeddah, she's come to realize the tenacity of Saudi women in their day to day routines - more so, in many ways, than with women in other parts of the world, due to the local challenges. Modia's resilience has also been tested but she's found a symbol to help her through the tough times. Here's her story. 
Saudi Arabia has become a nation of bottle feeders due to the increased availability of infant formula during the oil boom. The country also has a high prevalence of breast cancer deaths amongst Saudi women due to a lack of awareness of methods of early detection. Only in the past couple of years has it even become acceptable to talk about breast cancer.  Modia Batterjee and her mother, Anne, have started a breastfeeding centre in Jeddah in order to highlight the importance of breast feeding for both mother and child as well as its role in improving early detection. 
The Graffiti Artist

The Graffiti Artist

2019-05-0100:16:36

Graffiti plays an important role in urban landscapes in cities around the world. Here, in Saudi Arabia, it's more subtle because you're not allowed to do graffiti just anywhere.  But the graffiti movement, while more controlled, is beginning to find a voice. Hanan Kamal is part of that movement.     
The Storyteller

The Storyteller

2019-04-1300:20:26

Danya Al Hamrani has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. In 2008, she and her business partner, Dania Nassif, started the production company, Eggdancer - the first company in Saudi Arabia,  to be owned and run by women.  Danya was instrumental in getting Anthony Bourdain, host of the series "No Reservations' to come to Saudi Arabia, thereby "shining a light on a place, people don't get to see much of." Eggdancer has produced their first long documentary "Rise: The Journey of Women in Saudi Arabia." Danya tells us her story.   Title music: Bells in the Wind by Daniel Birch (www.danielbirch.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution-Non Commercial 4.1 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ Animals are beautiful people - Warner Archive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1fqy3eY5q8&t=33s  Rise: The Journey of women in Saudi Arabia trailer: Eggdancer Productions
Maggie's journey

Maggie's journey

2019-03-2900:15:26

Maggie Andriopoulos has done more than 5500 dives, mostly in the Red Sea off Jeddah.  She moved to Saudi Arabia with her family for a two year stay, but two Gulf wars and thirty years later, she's still enjoying life here.    Credit: Hans and Lotte Has - 'Abenteuer in Roten Meer'
Creating Hope

Creating Hope

2019-03-1600:18:581

Dr Uzma Raheem is passionate about helping those with special needs. 19 years ago she started Hope Centre for Exceptional Needs, in Jeddah. It was the first multi-lingual centre of its kind in Saudi Arabia. Back then, some people didn't know that their relatives had children with special needs because they were kept in separates rooms and not brought out in public. But things have come a long way since then, thank to awareness and more young Saudi professionals coming into this field.  However, there are still some challenges. 
Challenging Bipolar taboos

Challenging Bipolar taboos

2019-03-0200:15:59

Bipolar is a mental disorder that affects about 60 million people around the world. There are medications available to help people with this disorder but the stigma that comes with having Bipolar is preventing a lot of people from accessing medication. In Saudi Arabia, it's not much different.  Saudi journalist and author, Ghada Aboud, has written an Arabic novel around this rather taboo subject, in an attempt to make it part of normal conversation.    Music credit: FMA Album: Music for a weary world Song title: Rest Artist: PC 111         Thunder sound: Freesound Artist: Tommygoogle Title: Thunder and rain on window           
Episode 10: Cat Mama

Episode 10: Cat Mama

2019-01-2600:26:12

Saudi Arabia has a huge cat population. Many of them are strays. There are so many, in fact, that they are regarded as pests by many people. One woman in Jeddah doesn't share this view. She's opened up her home and her heart to these animals. She has over 300 cats living with her and she feeds hundreds of street cats.   
Episode 9: One deep breath

Episode 9: One deep breath

2019-01-0800:18:19

With just one deep breath Mariam Shalan can reach depths of 50m. At only 17 years old, she holds the Egyptian National Record for 50m free diving in the category Constant Weight, and is the youngest professional female free diver in Saudi Arabia.  Free diving is quite technical. Terms such as breathe up, lung packing and lung squeeze are just some terms used by free divers.  I met Mariam at her home in Jeddah so she could explain this all to me.       
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Comments (1)

Sylvia Vargas

loved your story Susie! my parents lived in Saudi Arabia in the mid 80s, my mom loved it too! thanks for Sharing!!!

Dec 12th
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