Saudi Arabien: Jowara Al-Angari

My inspiration, I believe, comes from my religion, Islam: as a religion of peace and brotherhood, a religion striving for ethics and justice for all human beings, and for women’s rights."

— Jowara Al-Angari

Jowara Al-Angari received her BA in Anthropology from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and is a mother of three. Since 1976 she has worked tirelessly on social issues in Saudi Arabia, notably family planning and women’s and human rights. She has been involved in community cancer programs, supporting cancer patients and raising cancer awareness within national communities. Her work has promoted the expansion of health and family services to rural Saudi families, where state services are undersupplied and there is great demand for family planning advice and employment training for women.

Almost 14 years ago a well-known religion scholar in Saudi Arabia attacked and maligned the Women’s Welfare Society, to which Jowara Al-Angari is so deeply committed. This attack, which was delivered at a public lecture, severely hindered the progress of the organization that she had established in Saudi society. Most damaging, however, was that donations to the organization decreased, and much of the trust it had built up over the years in Saudi society became jeopardized. In response to this, Jowara Al-Angari contacted the scholar and asked him to visit one of the beneficiaries of the Women’s Welfare Society: a Center for Disabled Children. After visiting the center he issued a personal apology to her and to the Welfare Society, noting what a positive effect its work has on Saudi society. Since then, this scholar has been an active donor to the Society and has continuously encouraged others to do the same. This and many other obstacles have plagued Jowara Al-Angari’s work over the last 35 years. She has remained steadfast, however, and committed to a world free of violence and social injustice. Her community work extends beyond the Welfare Society into many areas of social concern, particularly cancer patients and the disabled. Her work has touched the lives of many, especially those in the communities to which she has committed so much time and effort. When asked about her work in relation to abuse, she said, “Let us say that all different levels of society benefit – the poor, the sick, orphans, blue-collar workers and intellectuals alike – either through the social welfare programs, my writings or my lectures. With respect to human rights, there are no class distinctions in terms of abuse.” Through her work at grassroots level, she has demonstrated that the world can be changed for the better.

Mecca Society for Development and Social Services (MSDSS) Women’s Welfare Society (WWS) World Organizations for Muslims and Families (WOMF)