Khareef festivities: period of awareness (part 9)

Slowly Salalah Tourism Festival comes to an end. Besides the socializing and having fun with the kids, the festival served also as a platform to make people aware of global issues.

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For the second year, Ibtsam who study management at the Dhofar university, has new designs of paperwork on display. In 2003 at school a fellow student taught her the art of origami. First she experienced with several types of recycled paper. Then she realized that she could make beautiful designs with the solid packaging paper of the double A premium paper from Khan-Na used for printers. Paper from Khan-Na (vacant space) is a unique Thai solution to sustainable paper production. No single pulp is obtained from natural forest. She plays with the colors of the packaging paper and if necessary she colors the designs.

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For the second time, the Youth Peer Education Network (Y-Peer), youth-to-youth initiative pioneered by UNFPA ( United Nations Population Fund) and being established in 48 countries including my native country Belgium and Oman, conducted a discreet awareness campaign around the stigma still related to HIV/Aids. In a symbolic action, without speaking words, one could read that people who have aids still can have a good health, education, a job and a family life. Together with the Ministry of Health, a special area on the playground was reserved for the visitors to inform themselves. Besides discrete counseling, people could also be tested. During waiting time people could fill in a questionnaire around HIV/Aids. Within a few months the results of the questionnaire will be presented at the Governorate of Dhofar.

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Salalah Tourism Festival is automatically linked with the south west monsoon. Normally this season brings a lot of visitors from the GCC Arab states to Salalah. For the period from June 21 to August 30, the numbers of visitors have risen from 399,747 in the corresponding period last year to 415,209, a National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) bulletin has said. Interesting this year is the increase in tourists from non-GCC Arab states, the Americas and Europe.


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