By Naheel AbdullahSaudi GazetteJEDDAH
— When the Ministry of Social Affairs shut down a day care center here for the disabled, it promised to open a new building within two weeks. Now, nearly a month later, families of those affected by the center’s closure and employees are voicing their displeasure with the Ministry’s lackadaisical approach to the situation.
According to a female employee who spoke to the Saudi Gazette on condition of anonymity, 40 disabled individuals have been prevented from benefiting from the center’s services and this has negatively impacted their psychological states with many families complaining their behavior at home has worsened.
When the center was closed, the disabled were moved to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled (CRCD) at Al-Jamiah District.
However, the CRCD is finding it hard to cope with the influx of people as it specializes in other disabilities.
“Thirty female workers and eight cleaners worked for the center. We don’t want the center to be closed and the workers dispatched to other centers that have different specialties.
There are 70 disabled persons on the waiting list who want to sign up and enroll in the center and benefit from its services next year. Where will they all go?”
The employee also said all of the CRCD’s units, rooms and bathrooms do not meet the needs of the center’s disabled persons. The ministry promised it would find a suitable building in two weeks but over a month has passed and still it hasn’t found a building, she pointed out.
“Many of the cases which were supervised by the center’s workers improved but they might relapse and the teachers’ efforts may go to waste because of the center’s closure,” she said.
Zainab Al-Somali, director of the center which was closed, said the ministry told workers that they would have to move temporarily to the CRCD until the ministry could find another building. Al-Somali said the ministry also promised to increase the number of units in the new building.
“A unit has been set up to receive kids of the center within the CRCD. Some kids are upset because the center is closed and mothers keep calling me and asking about the female workers and what will happen to their kids,” said Al-Somali.
Fatima Abdul Rahman, a mother of a 21-year-old girl who was enrolled in the center, said her daughter benefited a lot from computer software and mathematical skills she learned there. Fatima hopes that the ministry finds a suitable building soon so her daughter can resume learning and developing new skills.