Orphanages to be replaced with social homes in Saudi Arabia

:: The Ministry of Labor and Social Development will phase out shelters for orphans and replace them with social homes as the ministry aims to involve orphans more in society and give them a chance to experience being in a natural family setting.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, the manager of Ika’a Orphanage and Charity in Jeddah told Arab News: “Orphans used to be housed with a large number of other orphans in one setting; thus, having only eight in one house will give them a sense of care in a different way. They will be surrounded by real neighbors.”

He added: “Community cohesion at a district level for the orphans is also one of the aims behind this change. This project will be called King Salman Project for Social Houses; it also aims to achieve social integration between orphans and families, and we really want to make the change as it will help to make the orphans happier.”

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development said that each home will include eight orphans, and every house will be in a different neighborhood in the city. The decision is still under development.

Al-Zahrani said: “Having only eight orphans in one house, in addition to their social counselor and a nanny provides a more home-like atmosphere.”

The role of the sociologist will be limited to specific visits to oversee a group of girls during working hours, which in turn allows more freedom for girls rather than being in a typical orphanage.

The number of orphaned girls in Jeddah is 120, in all the orphanages in the city.

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