Some years ago, a Bangladeshi woman was raped and killed in her own house right here in Riyadh. She was new here. This crime was committed by other Bangladeshis. She spoke no arabic, no english. Maybe she could speak some hindi or Urdu. She did not know what to do.
Right before this happened, I had thought of something and put it on paper. I had made a proposal. It was about all emergency services being in more than one language.
With over 9 million expats here, new arrivals, pilgrims and visitors, KSA is a place FULL of different people. Many of these people , or I should say MOST, do not speak arabic. They will not learn to speak arabic and they will never become fluent. Many of these people don’t even speak english. But then, many of the operators at these numbers don’t speak english also.
So, I had proposed that we create a call center that acts for the government services or possible create a cell within their call centers where operators speaking the major expatriate populations languages work around the clock. A Bangladeshi would get service in Bangla, a Pakistani in Urdu ( indian too), A Keralite in Malayalam and so on.
Now, I am sure someone MUST have thought of this before me but left it as just that.. a nice thought.
I met with the ex-cheif of police of Qassim and shared with him this idea. He loved it. He also told me that he wished there was an electronic translator of some kind for every officer. Because, it seems that every police officer has a problem communicating with the great variety of people he must deal with in the course of duty. Communication IS a problem. It frustrates any officer if a person is unable to explain an issue to them. Writing reports and getting the correct scenario requires clear expression and language.
I still have the plan for this.
Twice in the past 7 years, people have taken this plan from me to the Ministry of Interior and National Security. But, I have no way of knowing if it got anywhere. I even did the financials of it.
I hope we all agree that this is now a need. Expatriate populations are here and they will increase and government will need to communicate with them at their levels.
It’s a good project, I hope someone executes it soon.