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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: A group of Saudi autistic youths were treated to a day at the races as part of an initiative to raise awareness of the developmental disorder.
Accompanied by Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, chairman of the Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF), the young people enjoyed watching the Formula E motorsport event.
The outing was organized by the Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA), the SAF, the Formula E team, and volunteers as part of Diriyah Season.
“We wanted to utilize Formula E to give the autistic youth a chance to enjoy it as normal people, especially that the racing cars used in Formula E are noiseless, which is perfect for people with autism,” Prince Saud said.
“We believe that people on the autism spectrum are an important segment of society and should receive appreciation, attention and care. These events bring opportunities to raise awareness about their needs in society.”
For many of the youth it was their first experience of electric car racing.
“We are grateful to Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki (Al-Faisal, GSA chairman) and the GSA for giving us a special opportunity to engage the autistic youth in such an important event, and we are equally thankful to the Formula E leadership and their team who gave us unlimited support to ensure a joyful experience for our youth,” the prince added.
Earlier this week, on the sidelines of the Diriyah Formula E, Prince Saud and Formula E chairman, Alejandro Agag, signed an agreement to build a strategic partnership between the SAF and Formula E.
“We are happy to have a positive role in Saudi society through the agreement we have signed with the SAF. As well as being a world-class sport organization, we also have our social responsibility programs that we wish to implement in Saudi Arabia,” Agag said.
The SAF and Formula E hope the strategic cooperation accord will increase opportunities to expand the role of the motorsport in terms of inclusion and reaching all segments of the Saudi population.
The SAF has been supporting people with autism and their families for more than 11 years. Prince Saud was appointed as chairman of the board in May 2019, and since then has been working on several innovative projects to develop the SAF on multiple fronts.
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