Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Left Out on Mother’s Day | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mother’s day has come round quickly for some and slowly for others. For those who have a mother who provides those warm hugs and has a gentle smile on her face, the celebration of Mother’s Day has come around quickly, however for those orphans, whose guardians prefer that they forget the celebration this day comes around slowly.

Wafa Farisi, assistant of administration of an orphanage in the Al-Faisaliya district of Jeddah said, “The most frequently asked questions put forward by the orphans are ‘Where is my mother,’ and ‘how come all the children in the orphanage don’t have mothers.’ In addition, there are the unanswered questions you can see in their eyes and through their actions. In the orphanage we try our best not to provoke these types of questions in their minds and to incorporate the children in these public celebrations.”

Farisi indicated that many families undertake an amazing and significant role in bringing orphans into their houses on many occasions, during the holy month of Ramadan and during the Eid festivals. “Orphans in our society are in dire need of care to compensate for the loss of their mothers. When they return from these visits, they are happy and refreshed for having experienced the family atmosphere. Mixing into society is what pleases them the most.”

What about the obstacles that our orphans have to face? Farisi states, “The greatest obstacle is concerned with society’s perception of the orphans and this must change. People look at these children as kids raised in an orphanage and this is what makes it difficult when they become adults and have to face the world. They have difficulty in getting married, in attending public events and even in registering for schools. In school, they are believed to be naughtier than their peers are. Furthermore, when they are punished, they are punished more severely than others for the same crime. We must change this perception of the orphans who are labeled as deviants.”

What Farisi further highlights is that it is not only Saudi families that help the orphans in some way or another, but so do others. Female American Muslims visit these children and ask them what gifts they would like to receive for Eid. They do not hesitate in buying these children whatever they ask for despite the price. Members of the Arab and Asian communities enjoy loving and caring for the orphans.

Orphans are a part of society that society must acknowledge. What must change is the condemnation for being an orphan. Orphans are the same as us, if not more sensitive and they deserve equal opportunities just like any other boy or girl.

Orphans deserve a dignified life. They deserve the same respect that any other human being deserves. Being an orphan is not a crime for which they should be punished. Open your hearts before your houses and give them a chance in life.