Wheelchairs enable disabled pilgrims to perform Hajj

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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 14 August 2019

Wheelchairs enable disabled pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • Health Affairs Directorate in Makkah has provided some 819 wheelchairs of different types this year alone
  • In Islam, a disabled pilgrim can ask another pilgrim to do the stoning on their behalf

MINA: Hajj is obligatory for all Muslims who are physically and financially capable to perform it. Some worshippers with certain illnesses, injuries and disabilities are exempt, but insist on performing it anyway. One invention, that of the German watchmaker, Stephan Farffler, has made it easy for them to do so.

The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims.

Through its social department, the Health Affairs Directorate in Makkah has provided some 819 wheelchairs of different types this year alone, worth SR229,320 (over $61,000). These included self-powered chairs for those who needed them, as well as assistants.

Security forces assigned special paths at camps to the Jamarat for wheelchair users to ensure their safety while performing their Hajj rites. Boy scout volunteers have also exerted great effort in helping these pilgrims and those found exhausted after long treks.  

Social contribution supervisor, Mahasen Shuaib, told Arab News: “The program includes many gifts and services to the pilgrims, including clothes and hundreds of thousands of drinking water bottles. These were all made available for all pilgrims in need.”

Saleh Abdussalam, a Hajj service company provider, said that private companies were also providing pilgrims in need with wheelchairs for free.

“They use them to go to Jamarat. We also help in grouping them during non-peak hours or when they like to go out. We have some 150 wheelchairs distributed in our camps.”

In Islam, a disabled pilgrim can ask another pilgrim to do the stoning on their behalf. However, some pilgrims are keen to do it by themselves, despite all the difficulties they can go through.

Last year, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced the launch of an application to help elderly and sick pilgrims, who were estimated at about 250,000, electronically book wheelchairs.


185 disabled Saudi children ready for new academic year

Updated 22 August 2019

185 disabled Saudi children ready for new academic year

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia’s Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) finished its preparations for the new academic year with the completion of its educational programs aimed at developing children’s mental, cognitive and motor skills.

The DCA’s centers are getting ready to welcome around 185 new students, who will be enrolled in the preparatory and elementary stages. The association is also housing early intervention children in 11 centers throughout the Kingdom.

“The DCA’s centers finished their preparations early in line with the directives of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the association’s board of directors,” said Awadh Al-Ghamdi, the DCA’s secretary-general.

He added: “The association is keeping pace with new technologies by developing the educational care system every year. It continuously adopts new methods for children with special needs by providing the centers with what is necessary for the development of linguistic, social and psychological skills.

“The DCA held consultative meetings to approve an implementation mechanism by consulting experts from the educational committee at King Saud University about the importance of establishing an innovative resources room in all of the DCA centers.

Al-Ghamdi said: “The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education after it is judged by specialists from Saudi universities and adopted as part of the association’s initiatives. This comes as a continuation of the DCA’s role in caring for children with special needs for more than 35 years.”

The director of the DCA’s center in Al-Rass governorate presented the project’s original idea, which included reviewing the centers’ educational care programs according to modern educational trends.

A working group, which included a number of specialists, was assigned to the investigation. It presented a final vision to the DCA’s secretariat with a guide to the project’s implementation.