Dubai, UAE: Nineteen orphans now have a place to live and a “mother and father” to raise them, thanks to a newly-opened care home.
The Family Village, a compound of 16 villas that can house up to 100 children, was completed earlier this year.
The Dh150 million centre, which is run by the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, aims to offer a healthy environment for the orphans.
Children have been living there since February, but it was officially inaugurated two weeks ago by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
There are three classes of employees working at the Family Village – administrators, social workers and caregivers.
The caregivers act as a mother, father or aunt to the children, said Wedad Al Mahmood, the manager or “grandmother” of the village.
“Those who are responsible of taking care of the children directly, work in shifts between the mother and the aunts,” she said. “They become their substitute family by giving all the care that a child needs in terms of education, health, making sure they eat well and, most importantly, giving them love.
“Whatever a child in a normal environment needs, the mother, aunt and father in this case must provide and fill the void.”
The caregivers are provided with emotional and practical training to fill these roles.
“The programme was organised by Dubai Women’s Association and executed by local experts to give caregivers the ability to be able to accept the situations that will arise and ways of dealing with them,” Ms Al Mahmood said.
“They were also given training on how to conduct the operations in cooperation with the SOS Children’s Villages International. A two-month course was given to learn the quality standards that are applied in the village.”
The Family Village includes a small medical clinic for emergencies and a nursery for pre-school orphans.
“We do not have any private facilities in the village because we would like the children to be a part of the community,” Ms Al Mahmood said.
“When it comes to activities, children are registered in public centres and institutes and receive their education and health care like normal children.”
She called on members of the community to volunteer their time to the children, whether it is helping out in social, educational or creative activities.
Tayeb Al Rais, Amaf undersecretary, thanked all the parties that had helped in the village’s creation.
“What was built – praise be to Allah – was done so with the great support of the Government, businessmen, the Emirati people and the residents of the UAE, who have donated Dh150 million that went into building and establishing this one-of-a-kind facility,” he said.
“This project will be the house for tens of children who have no parents and will provide housing, education, health care, nutrition and emotional care for all.’ This care, he said, would continue until the children were able to support themselves.
© The National
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