WATCH: Saudi teacher defies cancer, coronavirus and insists on continuing mission to educate

Mohammed Al-Fifi takes an online class from his hospital bed. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 September 2020

WATCH: Saudi teacher defies cancer, coronavirus and insists on continuing mission to educate

  • By video link from his hospital bed, Mohammed Al-Fifi makes sure his students don’t miss a lesson as he endures chemotherapy

MAKKAH: School teacher Mohammed Al-Fifi has cancer and is currently in hospital undergoing chemotherapy – it’s also where he teaches his students.

The cancer is a challenge in itself, and few would question him if he told his bosses he was too ill to work – especially with the added threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the dream of returning to the classroom and seeing his students has helped to get him through the grueling treatments he receives on his path to recovery.

And the pandemic has helped ensure he can teach sooner than he previously thought, thanks to a video link connecting him to his students from his hospital room in Saudi Arabia.

“Teachers are responsible for the biggest and most noble of jobs, and under no circumstances are they allowed to disregard their duties,” he said.

Al-Fifi, 37, is a third-grade Arabic language teacher at Abu Omar Al-Dany Elementary in Riyadh’s Al-Uraija Al-Gharbiyah area.

In May, doctors told him they had found cancer in his lymph nodes, and he was admitted to the hospital soon after to begin chemotherapy.

Four treatments later, he is doing well but faces a long, hard battle.

“Virtual learning allowed me to regain some strength, despite my illness, and I feel like I’m back on my own two legs in my classroom, moving between my students’ desks to observe their work,” he said.

Although he was delighted to see them again, he admits it was an emotional and challenging experience both for him and the youngsters.

“Seeing my students for the first time was extremely stressful and difficult from my end and theirs,” he said. “My students noted my physical changes and I could see the sadness on their faces. It’s difficult for all of us.”

As he continues his treatment, Al-Fifi said the support he has received from the Ministry of Education, his colleagues and the students has helped to keep his spirits up and get through this tough time.


Saudi Arabia details travel exemptions

These must provide proof of residency in the country to which they wish to travel. (SPA)
Updated 27 September 2020

Saudi Arabia details travel exemptions

  • In the cases of the death of a spouse, parent, or child abroad, the directorate requires the submission of a death certificate and proof of relationship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports on Saturday announced requirements for the issue of travel permits for groups exempt from coronavirus travel restrictions. Travel permits will be issued through the Absher e-services platform.
The first group exempt from travel restrictions includes government officials, civilians and members of the military assigned official missions.
This group can obtain travel permits if the official mission cannot be performed remotely and has a deadline that cannot be postponed, provided participation is kept to a minimum.
Documents required for the first group include an official letter from the entity’s senior official, in addition to the names of those who wish to travel and their mission, its location, duration and evidence that the previous conditions are met.
The second group includes citizens with humanitarian cases, especially family reunification, or the death of a spouse, parent or child abroad.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The first group exempt from travel restrictions includes government officials, civilians and members of the military assigned official missions.

• The second group includes citizens with humanitarian cases, especially family reunification, or the death of a spouse, parent or child abroad.

• The third group includes citizens living outside the Kingdom and their dependents.

Citizens who wish to be reunited with their families abroad must provide proof of relationship (spouse, parent, etc.) for the family member residing abroad, proof of residency in the country to which the other party wishes to travel, and proof of the children’s study location abroad if there are children of school age. The last should be certified by the Ministry of Education or one of the Kingdom’s representations in the destination country.
In the cases of the death of a spouse, parent, or child abroad, the directorate requires the submission of a death certificate and proof of relationship.
The third group includes citizens living outside the Kingdom and their dependents. These must provide proof of residency in the country to which they wish to travel (a document or an instrument that they own a property or have a valid lease contract prior to the issuance of these measures).
They must also submit a valid residence card (permanent or semi-permanent) in the country to which the travel is requested and proof that the applicant had spent at least six months in the destination country during the past three years.