Lost Children’s Care Center helps to reunite families

A pilgrim and his son are reunited at the Lost Children’s Care Center office in Mina on Tuesday after getting separated amid throngs of people performing Hajj. (AN photo)
Updated 22 August 2018
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Lost Children’s Care Center helps to reunite families

  • 11 children of different nationalities and ages were reported to the Lost Children’s Care Center since the start of Hajj
  • Many pilgrims opt to bring their children with them for educational purposes or out of necessity

MINA: Pilgrims, like all parents, closely look after their children, but sometimes worshippers lose their offspring during Hajj due to the large crowds of people at the holy sites.

Many pilgrims opt to bring their children with them for educational purposes or out of necessity, especially with younger ones. However, some 11 of these youngsters were lost in Mina over the past two days of the Hajj.

While interviewing Lina Abu Zinada, a supervisor at the Lost Children’s Care Center at the holy sites, in the afternoon, a female pilgrim from Comoros was weeping over losing her ten-year-old child who had been reported lost since morning. The woman also lost her husband while they both were praying at a nearby mosque.

“This pilgrim has lost her child and we are doing our best to find him. She wanted to be taken to a police station as she thought that she could be safer there. We succeeded in calming her down. After a few hours, members of her country’s embassy came and took her to another place,” she said. 

Security men, boy scouts and even volunteers bring them lost children. “Once we receive a lost child, we first take all the details from the person bringing the lost child,” Abu Zinada told Arab News.

“We then document the information and descriptions of the lost child and forward them to our field agents along with the information of the person who brought the lost child. When someone loses a child, all that he or she can do is to reach a security man or anyone who takes them to our field workers. The latter immediately check with us to see if the information is the same,” Abu Zinada said.  

She said that their office had received 11 lost children of different nationalities and ages since this year’s Hajj started. “We managed to help 10 of these children find their parents,” she said. “We feed the network of guidance centers with all information about the lost children so that they can easily inform their parents that they are found and sent to the Lost Children’s Care Center.”

She said that all lost children are taken to their center, whether these children were found in Arafat, Mina or Muzdalifah.

Abu Zinada said that some of the children arrive at their office in such a hysterical state that they refuse to leave the person who brought them in.

“Some others accept the situation and respond to our information inquiry,” she said. She added that the youngest lost child they had found was five years old, while the oldest one was 12. The majority of the lost children were from Africa, she said.

“We have some of our team members who can communicate with the children in different languages beside Arabic. These languages are English, Urdu and French,” she said. She added that they sometimes seek the assistance of street cleaners to help them speak with the lost child.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

Updated 26 min 30 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the restoration of 130 historical mosques within the National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) in partnership with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
The support he provided to develop historical mosques covered in the first phase the restoration of 30 mosques in 10 regions, at a cost of more than SR50 million ($13 million).
The National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques is one of the programs adopted by Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH and founder of Al-Turath Charitable Foundation, as part of his concern to take care of and serve mosques and the Islamic architectural heritage. The foundation has undertaken to document and restore a number of mosques of historical value since its launching of the program in 1998.
The program has received the support of the country’s leaders, businessmen benefactors and the regions’ governors. King Salman sponsored the launching of the program to restore and renovate historical mosques in Ad Diriyah and Jeddah, and donated the renovation costs of Al-Hanafi mosque in Jeddah.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support for the historical mosques comes from his belief in their importance in the Islamic religion and architectural heritage along with the historical, social and cultural richness they represent.
The crown prince’s support is considered the most generous in the Kingdom’s history, given the number of mosques and the overall cost since the launching of the program 20 years ago. The support is in coordination and partnership with SCTNH’s National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques, which was launched by the Al-Turath Charitable Foundation before it became a joint program with the SCTH and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, three years ago.
The crown prince’s project for the development of historical mosques will reinforce concern to develop the Kingdom’s historical and heritage regions and restore the mosques to receive worshippers again after they have been abandoned in previous years. The Kingdom has witnessed a rapid architectural growth and thus has neglected most of the old and historical mosques and destroyed some others, which are bein replaced by new mosques. The program will take care of these neglected mosques.
Work teams have started formulating the project action plan under the directions of the crown prince. The first phase covers 30 mosques that will be restored: Each mosque will be ready to receive more than 4,000 worshippers.
The crown prince’s support for this program is among many other contributions to societal and human projects, including the SR100 million donation for charitable associations and his support for the release of prisoners with SR19 million.