Yemeni orphans are deprived from society’s care [Archives:2007/1089/Reportage]

September 27 2007
Orphans in their class, looking forward to more attention and better society care.
Orphans in their class, looking forward to more attention and better society care.
Three of the orphans waiting for the doors of their asylum to open.
Three of the orphans waiting for the doors of their asylum to open.
Mohammed H. Al-Faqeeh, coordinator of the projects and programs in the Orphans care house.
Mohammed H. Al-Faqeeh, coordinator of the projects and programs in the Orphans care house.
By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
[email protected]

It is commonly known that orphans are those children who lost one of their parents or both of them before the age of puberty. They may descend from a poor family or having a disabled father.

However, Islam does not present them as victims of destiny or remains of the society, as it is familiar in other societies. They are our sons, brothers in Islam. Thus, it is a must to build a good relationship with them. This is one of the best concepts of peaceful coexistence and social normalization.

If you question people who know orphans' circumstances and sufferring in Yemen, they answer that orphans are in need of accommodation, care as they are human beings and Muslims. They are entitled to receive care and attention from the state and the rich

Islam always has a positive viewpoint toward orphans. Belief also plays an essential role in this respect. They are neither a parasite on the society nor a burden on its citizens. They are a part of the society. However, negligence, injustice and oppression as well as agonies and psychological turmoil have afflicted them. Furthermore, these factors are created by the society itself.

Yemeni orphans are in the most miserable conditions in our community. The capacity of the orphans building which does not exceed 600, takes 1700. Orphans outside this care house are strays in this messy and corrupted country. Most of them have streets as their own homes. Rubbish provides them with food. Moreover, they are exposed to outrageous exploitation.

I met Abdull-Malik M. Al-Wada'i, director of the Orphans Care house, who has been working there for 29 years. Employees as well as orphans respect him highly. He said, ” when The Orphans Care house was founded, it was a primary school in Yemen. Thousands of orphans got some advantages from this care house. Some of them became ministers, leaders and rulers.. Despite the fact that schools emerged after the revolution, the orphans care house did not loose its vital role in sustaining orphans.

” The real role of the care house is observed through offering assistance to the needy”, Al-Wada'i added.

“According to the 2005 official statistics of the CO, Central Organization for statistics, there are more than 400,000 orphans in Yemen. However, it might increase during the last period”, he said. He also pointed out that private care houses have spread over the two past years.

General condition and obstacles of the Care house

“The problem is that the government did not form a board to be responsible for orpha care houses. There are 1700 orphans in the care house. They are living in a miserable condition. The Ministry of Social Affairs has no tangible role with respect to investing in facilities. It does not coordinate with orphans care houses whether public or private. The local councils do not participate in offering support in any way either. These bodies should play their important roles as far as they are concerned, “Al-Wada'I , added.

“If the care house receives an orphan, it will be highly responsible for him. It trains him socially and educationally. There are so many difficulties and obstacles facing the care house whether its programs, capabilities or facilities. Subsequently, the care house is unable to provide the orphans with what he might have been given regarding knowledge and sciences,” he maintained.

He elaborated, “the state does not offer any more than 40% of the support including food and drink: a prerequisite of the care house. It provides orphans with three suits only. Two suits for the winter and the other one for summer.. This is not enough to clothe orphans during the whole year. The care house bears extra burdens whether in medications or in the operational processes. It is also in charge of school activities, sports, and education. The wealthy make up 25% of the difference, which leaves a deficit of 35%.

The cabinet attitude

“We presented a comprehensive report to the cabinet. The orders given by the prime minister to the concerned parties are null and void.. The state as well as the local councils do not play their role. Donors do think that the state as well as the local councils provide the care house with its complete requirements, ” he further declared, adding: ” We are in charge of a noble humanitarian message. Islam imposes this upon us. We are very moved by this obligation. Every body understands our message. We fulfill our duties regardless of rewards and funding.”

Admission criteria

Al-Wada'i said, “Admission starts at the age of six to eighteen until they become high secondary school graduates. The school attendees go to Sana'a University. Some of them are to be sent to the vocational training centers so as to study technical specializations in the capacity of numerous occupations. We have now around 9350 attendees in technical training.

Health Services

“Ath-Thawrah hospital cooperates with us. It presents inspection free of charge. However, it does not provide medications. Azal Hospital is also a helping hand in this respect. It annually allocated YR one million for medical tests for the patients. It does not give medicines as well. If an orphan undergoes a surgery, the hospital frees him from physician wages and boarding. The care house bears medications, Al-Wada'i explained.” Furthermore, he added: “we have a clinic inside the care house for relief. There are two physicians, in addition to the lab and three nurses.”

Where orphans come from

The majority of orphans come from Dhamar province followed by Sana'a and other governorates such as Raimah, Ibb though they have care houses for orphans. Few orphans come from Taiz, Sa'ada and Al-Jawf.

Media activity in the care house

“We do not need to announce that there are orphans in Yemen. Everybody knows that there are thousands of orphans in our country. There are care houses for orphans in Sana'a as well as other governorates. Needy people are available in these facilities. Those who love charity and believe in the holy books do not need people to recommend or direct them to do good for orphans,” he indicated, adding: we do not use media as some partisan institutions do. They pretend that they sponsor thousands of orphans. They gains millions from inside and outside the country. We heard about the sum donated by the president to the orphans. However, the amount will be given to one of those aforementioned institutions, as we were informed about. We need a good and sincere party to fulfill its duties for the sake of Allah. We don't need selfish ones. Yemenis are socially good. They can donate money to orphans.”

Employees of the care house

Al-Wada'i went on to say, ” Employees with accumulative experiences being trained over the last years do not exceed 26, of whom three are university graduates. The 26 employees include teachers, specialists, social workers, administrative staff, cleaning and maintenance workers. The care house needs more than 35 social workers, researchers and teachers so that it can do its job perfectly.”

Role of Ministry of Social Affairs

” Ministry of Social Affairs is too apathetic in this respect. It should take a look at the reports of the local councils regularly regarding the living standards of citizens in every city. Unfortunately, the ministry does not care a bit about the orphans and the care house is not its concern,” he said.

Al-Wada'i in brief said, “the orphans' care house is represents a home. It must be given social care provided with competent workers able to develop skills of orphans so as to be good enough to join the society. By teaching them Holy Quran and other subjects, we can create a new human being that has a future and prosperous aspirations.

However, Mohammed H. Al-Faqeeh, coordinator of the projects and programs in the Orphans care house shared with us saying: “the state should be engaged in this issue. It should tackle the orphans situations based on clear and specific strategies and visions. The Ministry of Social Affairs, along with other concerned ministries, should also play their roles competently. When these roles become united, orphans' lives will be better.”

He added that social diseases do not appear early in children but when the later grow up. The state as well as the society does not adequately care about children. So, they take revenge against the community. Then, who is responsible for this imbalance?

He urgently appealed to civil society organizations along with all society categories to have an effective role in guaranteeing orphans, male and female alike, an opportunity. He also called on charities to cooperate with social foundations, monitoring activities and performances. It is not enough for them to give money only without taking part in planning and monitoring care houses. However, there is no a system that regulates this process whether by the state or by the civil society organizations. There is not any legislation coordinating this. So, it will result in bringing social imbalances making the society suffer in the future.

The quality of delivering services to society will remain poor regarding the orphans care house. There must be qualified employees in the house delivering good services. In this house, teachers suffer from the ignorance of the Ministry of Education. They are deprived from their bonuses given in the governmental schools. They are also deprived from training courses that enable them to deal properly with this category. In conclusion, Al-Faqeeh urged officials and traders as well as those able to offer assistance whether morally or financially to participate in supporting the orphans care house.