Anger after AIDS society in Jeddah closes down
The ministry had announced the suspension of its sponsorship for the society, which helps AIDS patients and HIV carriers
The closure of the Jeddah AIDS Society by the Ministry of Social Affairs has led to an angry reaction among its beneficiaries, their families and the organization’s staff.
According to sources close to the ministry, attempts were being made to contain the unrest in the society that had resulted from differences among its board members and to reactivate it.
The ministry had announced the suspension of its sponsorship for the society, which helps AIDS patients and HIV carriers.
A former member of the society's board of directors said the closure of the society would deprive patients of its financial, social, moral and psychological support.
He revealed efforts were currently being made to convince Social Affairs Minister Majed Al-Qasabi to order the election of a new board of directors so that the society could resume its duties.
He urged the ministry to introduce new controls for the election of board members and to closely follow up the activities of charity organizations.
Sociologist Mahmoud Kasnawi said welfare organizations involved in social and humanitarian work are doing a “great job” providing material and moral support to people with special needs.
He said: “Many of the families registered with these societies depend entirely on their support.
“Any alterations in these programs would socially and psychologically confuse them.”
Kasnawi called for ensuring beneficiaries are not affected by any administrative problems or organizational changes within these charities.
Dr. Abu Bakr Banama, a psychiatrist, said AIDS patients are in need of continuous psychological, social and financial help. “Any disruption in their support channels will have adverse effects on their social circumstances,” he said.
He said the charity organizations are official bodies affiliated to the Ministry of Social Affairs with a mission to serve people with special needs.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 5, 2015.