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Number of abandoned children on the rise

There is a total of 1,375 abandoned children in Makkah

By Fahd Al-Manaee / 7 Mar 2013

There is a total of 1,375 abandoned children in Makkah and the number is continuously on the rise, according to Sireen Al-Afghani from the Ministry of Social Affairs.

They include 793 female and 582 male children.

"Since they have no identity papers and we cannot differentiate between Saudis and foreigners, they are all being treated as Saudi nationals and are given identity papers to preserve their rights,"she said.

She said 30 orphans were taken away from their foster families after it was discovered that the families were not taking good care of them.

"Before we release an orphan to a sponsoring family, we thoroughly check the family’s background from the economic, social and health aspects. We conduct medical examinations on the father, mother and children,"she said.

Al-Afghani said any family wishing to sponsor an orphan must bring three people to testify that he or she is of a good family and qualified for sponsoring.

"The family should also present a supporting letter stamped by the Umdah (district chief) before it is given the child,"she said.

Al-Afghani said the office follows up on the status of orphans with their foster families and in schools to assess their needs and requirements. "The office has seven female and three male social workers," she said.

The ministry pays the caretaker of the orphan an amount of SR2,000 every month in addition to a monthly financial assistance by the social security.

"When the child enters school, he or she is paid an additional monthly allowance of between SR2,000 and SR3, 000,"she said.

Al-Afghani said some of the orphans have completed their higher education and are working as doctors, teachers and nurses. "A number of them have married and established their own families," she said.


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