MADINAH — A shocking 60 percent of residents in the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center in Madinah are being neglected by their families, officials said recently.
All of the residents, 900 in total from both sexes, suffer from some form of disability and their situation is compounded by parents’ refusal to visit their children.
Hatem Barri, director of the center, said, “more than half of the residents’ parents don’t visit them or inquire about their welfare. Tragically, our warnings that children will be damaged socially and psychologically by their absence falls on deaf ears.”
Psychologist Khaled Al-Marwani stressed the importance of parents’ support to boost the morale of their disabled children. He said it is important that the parents free themselves from the sense of shame and hopelessness and provide positive input in their children’s lives.
Similarly, Ghazi Al-Mettari, a professor at Prince Naif Chair for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice at the Islamic University in Madinah, said, “Islam advocates the importance of social cohesion. Perhaps parents need support to help them come to terms with their children’s disabilities.”
To counter the problem of parents neglecting their children, Barri took the unusual step of enforcing visitation upon parents. “They left us with no choice but to raise the issue with Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Majed, Emir of Madinah.”
Upon hearing the plight of the children, the Emir ordered authorities to force the children’s guardians to visit the center and spend time with their children.