Saudi Arabia: Layla’s Vision for the Women of Jeddah


American Bedu has been corresponding with Layla about her visions of a new facility for women in Jeddah, with an emphasis on an oasis for Saudi women.  The input of American Bedu readers is also sought towards not only making the facility a reality but to ensure that the facility is extensive towards meeting the many needs of women.



                          Description of Establishment


We are developing a concept and would like some bright, sincere ideas from the ladies of Jeddah. We are opening a membership based, family oriented, ladies recreational center, which will provide a balance of physical and intellectual stimulation for all ages. Within this environment, ladies will experience outstanding quality of customer  service and hospitality,  enjoy a healthy alternative lifestyle, participate in activities that promote self-development and a constructive way to spend their days, while their children are close by enjoying the same.

It is an innovative concept in providing the ladies of Jeddah with an opportunity to experience the following facilities all under one roof:

  • Physical Recreational Area providing gym, dance studio, exercise studio, spa.
  • Intellectual Recreational Area providing library, art room, other activities to accommodate 3 age groups.
  • Café offering fresh juices , salads, and healthy snacks to encourage healthy eating habits.
  • Kids Play Area, where mothers can leave their kids to play educational game, but be close to them at the same time.
  • Indoor and outdoor gardens to promote love of nature.

We would be grateful to have your input on what you feel is missing , that you would like to see offered in Jeddah , or something you have tried abroad that is unavailable here, with respect to women’s activities.


24 Responses

  1. Great and visionary project.

    I suggest a career center to increase women knowledge of different employment opportunities in different fields. Experts from different disciplines could be invited to share their knowledge and expertise with those who aspire for challenging jobs at the public and private sectors.

  2. It’s very nice, just perfect ! When is the opening ?

  3. I second Ali with an added benefit of an airline ticket to another country that will allow you to use that knowledge, allow you to drive and perceived and allowed to be an adult.

  4. Please make it non-smoking. PLEASE

  5. This sounds like a very nice project, and I love the logo.

    Bigstick, why do you feel the need to change the positive vibe of this post into a negative one? If you don’t like something positive coming out of Saudi Arabia then just shut up.

  6. Sounds like an excellent idea!
    A couple of suggestions:
    Please can you offer some kind of self-defense/martial arts classes, I think its essential that women/girls learn how to protect themselves if need be, it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

    Alternative medicine classes for example Art of Living breathing techniques/ Reiki, I think they would be v popular as I know people are interested in these things.

    Seminars in English and Arabic on different topics to increase awareness and spiritual/intellectual development. For e.g Productive Muslim seminars incorporate both Western productivity theories combined with Islamic values.

    An on-site nutritionist, and a counseller/social worker- maybe you could call her something else less taboo, but I think a lot of women need some one but don’t know where to go or who to talk to and just rely on friends and family who often have no better idea how to advise them

    and as Sandy said please make it non-smoking- including the outsde gardens. The gym I go to has a terrace, where I like to relax and air dry my hair after a shower but members use it as a smoking area so I can’t enjoy the fresh air- which is extremely annoying not to mention unhealthy.

    I wish you the best of luck on this venture and I hope it opens up soon.

  7. Sounds like a wonderful idea! I would like to suggest perhaps setting up a garden where one can grow organic, pesticide free vegetables and fruit. These could then be sold for a reasonable price. An on-site nutritionist (as mentioned by Misha) could discuss the importance of eating healthy and wholesome food. I believe it is very important to empower women to take charge of their health and well-being and this could be an important step in achieving that.

  8. AA:


  9. very good idea

    It is necessary to make children sensitive (through educational games) to the environmental protection and to have some (feeling for) empathy for animals.

  10. Love, love, love the idea. I worked at a community college where a teacher managed (for a few years) to have a day care set up at the same time as classes. It was great.

  11. I love the logo : women spreading their wings to embrace freedom. brilliant idea

    it’s also very important to empower women to take charge of their health by sleeping at night and by waking up in the daytime. they must manage to expose a part of their body to the sun and the daylight.That prevents depression and osteoporosis.

    I hope that the subscription( the contribution) will be within the reach of the largest number.

  12. Great! I like Misha’s ideas. Self defense, good nutrition, counselors, exercise, yoga. A career center would be good as long as their are jobs to be had but I think having educational classes, seminars or just talks on different subjects to broaden the mind would be wonderful! So many topics to choose from! Discussion groups or an informal philosopher cafe idea would be good. Education about anything is power. I understand that Islam is key but it is ever-present in KSA life so I’d like to see subjects offered that were not related to it. I suppose a library might be out of the question?

  13. I think it wil be great, Maybe have exercise dance lessons, even a rock wall 🙂 i love love the local rock climbing wall . gardening is a great idea. a community garden where they grow produce to be used int he cafe , i thnk it’ll be a fun place for a group of women to hang out, garden, learn dance, exercise and have lunch.. a once a week type thing would kill the monotony for a lot of women, i woul dhave loved something like this when i was there. cool and thoughtful.

  14. @wendy,

    “Intellectual Recreational Area providing library”

    there is a library. and I am sure that it is not a traditional one.

  15. Right. Missed that.

  16. I would suggest, along with the other great ideas…to ask for volunteers too maintain the place. Clean and provide services to the other ladies. Being the “help” instead of the one always helped can do wonders to give these (mostly) privelidged women insight into another life. Not all Saudi women have help but far too many do (IMO) and I think it would foster empathy towards help where in many it doesnt exist.

  17. great ideas!

  18. Wow mashallah so many great ideas and support here. I myself do believe only women can truly empower other women and seeing these positive vibes here is truly magnificent. This new project is in dire need in KSA and hopefully is yet another stepping stone for Saudi women’s road to their God given rights.

  19. Something very similiar is currently in the planning stages with the concept developed, specialist operators being interviewed, and assessed with a final decision to be reached in September 2012 by three Saudi ladies who are reaching out to empower Saudi women.

  20. @Gene Guffey,

    in which city? Riyad?

  21. Fantastic!!!!!!!!! Thumbs up, all the way!!!!

    Im a Health / Fitness & Recreation Manager in South Africa, and would love to share some ideas with people in-charge….

    Great to see developments like these happening for the women, in Saudi.

    Cheryl Sewsunker

  22. People, thank you sooo much for your enlightening and supportive comments. Nassima, it will be in Jeddah, but you never know , if things go well we might have one in Riyadh as well. The idea is to bring women out of their daily rut, so to speak. Teach them how to play chess, self defence…empowerment.
    all the things you mentioned were great and I will present these ideas to the board in tomorrow’s meeting.
    Please keep brainstorming and posting. This is great !!Lets finally do something for ourselves and have our own retreat :))

  23. Hi Cheryl, Thanks for your post. I was wondering if you have senior citizens at your clubs and if so, how do you motivate them to join in the activities? We have a very stationary lifestyle here in Saudi for seniors, and i am trying to convince the board to include a seniors activities area, where they can MOVE. The problem is that its not within the culture and its very hard to change ppl of that age to be fit and active to get better quality of life. I mean.. they even pray while they r seated , and thats the only exercise they have any incentive for…
    Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

  24. Hi Layla,

    Please do drop me an e-mail, and we can chat some more as I do not visit these sites often.

    I have worked and lived in Jeddah previously and know exactly how things are there.


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