Awasser sponsors 7,000 abandoned Saudi families

Awasser Chairman Tawfiq Al-Swailem preside over a board meeting of the organization recently in Riyadh.

Awasser Chairman Tawfiq Al-Swailem preside over a board meeting of the organization recently in Riyadh.

The Saudi Charitable Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad, or Awasser, disclosed here recently that it sponsors 7,000 families of Saudi nationals living in 30 countries. The Saudi heads of these families abandoned them in countries such as the United States, Canada, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

The welfare organization, which is licensed and supervised by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), recently warned Saudis traveling abroad to avoid engaging with marriage brokers in the countries they visit, which results in the increasing number of abandoned children who eventually face social and identity crises.

Awasser, the first and only Saudi charitable organization authorized to discover and retrieve children born of Saudi men visiting the foreign countries, has compiled a full data of these children that allows them to provide assistance.

In a previous interview with Arab News, Awasser Chairman Tawfiq Al-Swailem said his organization provides all formalities and legal assistance free of charge to the abandoned Saudi families living abroad.

According to him, the number of families they are able to assist is growing by the day owing to modern technology via social networking communication which enables quick processing of their papers at the rate of one day in many cases.

Al-Swailem also advised Saudi travelers to be cautious and avoid marriage brokers abroad, citing the need to take the advice of those who have been in similar situations and consult with the Saudi embassies in those countries before taking matters further.

He said: “Unfortunately the majority of Saudis who have married abroad did not get prior approval from the Saudi authorities in those countries and are ignorant of the negative outcomes of such alliances which produce children who do not know their father. Often, the Saudi father comes back to his country leaving behind his wife and children without any income to support them.”

Al-Swailem noted: “The cost of these marriages looks cheap at the beginning but this is not the case.” He added that many of these marriages are doomed to fail because of the difference in the customs, traditions and ways of life with the children ending up as the losers.

Commenting on the modus operandi of the marriage brokers, Al-Swailem said: “Some unscrupulous people in foreign countries meet Saudi holiday makers at the airport and tempt them to marry native girls for financial gains.”

He said that Saudi men who decide to marry abroad do not take into account the differences in the customs and traditions which make it difficult for the woman to adjust and integrate into the Saudi way of life which affects the children adversely.

He suggested that marriages in the Kingdom should be made simpler by reducing the exorbitant dowry often demanded by the bride’s parents and conducting the ceremonies at home instead of the more expensive marriage halls.

Secondly, marriage laws in the Kingdom should be amended to include a marriage provision allowing a Saudi national to marry abroad for health and social reasons.




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