From rags-to-riches: Fairy tale for Saudi family

January 10, 2013

Belongings being transported from tent to new home

A Saudi man who said he lived for 20 years in a tent with his family had the surprise of his life when a Saudi prince offered him a fully furnished house and jobs for him and his wife.

Najeh Al Sharari, 41, received the good news hours after a Saudi daily published his story and reported on how he was forced to live inside a three-by-two metre tent.

Najeh, an unemployed man who could not find a job for lack of adequate qualifications, said that he longed for a more decent life where he would not have to use the toilet of the neighbouring mosque.

“I am really tired of living in poverty and of asking people for help,” the father of six told Al Sharq daily. “I want to see my children go to school and I want to have a steady income so that I could spend money on my family. I want warmth when it is cold outside and I want family security,” he said.

Najeh said that he wanted to work as a school watchman so that he could have an income to spend on his unemployed wife and their five daughters and one son.

“They have not been able to attend school as there is no money to support them,” he said.

However, hours later, a group of well-dressed men came to the tent and drove him and his family to a fully furnished house with promises that he and his wife would be given jobs.

The men were dispatched by Prince Faisal Bin Bander, the Governor of Al Qaseem in central Saudi Arabia, to help the family.

The prince has reportedly asked his assistant to provide help quickly, insisting that no one should live in such deplorable conditions.

“I could not believe what I saw and what we went through,” Najeh told Al Sharq. “High-profile personalities came to my tent to take me and my family to a beautiful and fully furnished house. It was unbelievable. They told me I was the guest of the Prince and provided every single thing. My daughters and sons were able to watch television and to sleep in a real bed while the fridge is full. I thank God profoundly and I am deeply grateful to Prince Faisal,” he said.

Aryam, his 11-year-old daughter, said that the whole family was crying with emotion and joy.

“We have been continuously praying for Prince Faisal for his unbelievable compassion and care,” she said. “We were able to feel warm when it was bitterly cold outside. We felt at ease for the first time. We thank Papa Faisal so much,” she said.

Her mother said that she was weeping all the time following the “great act of generosity”.

“Prince Faisal has rescued us from a terrible tragedy and we will always be grateful to him. May God bless him at all times,” she said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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