By Abubakarr Bah, Information Attache’
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has disclosed that a total of One Million pilgrims inside and outside the Kingdom will take part in the 1443 H (2022) Hajj.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that this year’s Hajj is open to those who are under 65 years and have received approved COVID-19 vaccinations by the Saudi Ministry of Health.
“Pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result performed within 72 hours of the time of departure to the Kingdom”, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced on Saturday.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah stated that the number of pilgrims coming from specific countries for this year’s Hajj will be in accordance with the quotas allocated to each country and in consideration of compliance with health recommendations.
All Pilgrims are required to follow the health instructions and comply with all precautionary measures to preserve their health and safety while performing the Hajj rituals, the Release concluded.
Orange Foundation Partners With SLAS to Launch 504 Helpline
By Feima Sesay
World Autism Awareness day is observed on April 2nd every year across the World and it is a day which recognizes and spreads awareness for the rights of people with autism.
Orange Foundation SL has on the 6th April, 2022 partnered with the Sierra Leone Autism Society (SLAS) to launch a helpline for people living with Autism. The launch and Film Screening of a movie titled “The reason I jump” took place at the company’s headquarters on Hill Station in Freetown.
This helpline, 504 , it was stated will enable people to call and report cases of people living with the disorder for them to get the necessary help that they need as most times the victims are associated with demons.
Autism is a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.
Director of Digital Transformation, Madam Finnah Tucker, applauded all those who see these kids as an integral part of the society disclosing how they are doing their best to make the victims or sufferers feel happy and welcomed.
She asserted that if everybody could see them as just happy kids they could go the extra mile and do whatever they have to do to make them even happier.
Madam Finnah intimated that anyone has autism is not by his or her own making but rather are suffering from something they don’t even know about adding that it is most times caused by a neurological developmental disorder.
She affirmed that Orange SL, as a family, cares that there are people suffering from the ailment revealing how they are lending a hand for them to be part of their family and ensure that they will do whatever they can to make them feel belonged.
She mentioned that 1.2 percent of the world’s population has autism continuing that they experience difficulty in interacting socially, they avoid looking in people’s eyes amongst others and encouraged all to be patient with them and show them love to make them feel as being part of society.
“They are actively involved in anything they set their minds to do,” the Director stated.
Highlighting the positive works of SLAS and its impact, Mrs. Mary Penn-Timity, the Founder of the ‘Sierra Leone Autistic Society’ (SLAS) and the ‘Browne-Penn School’, the country’s first ever school for children with autism and other developmental disabilities – acknowledged her delight to see so many people patronizing with the Autistic society.
She expressed her gratitude to the Orange Foundation for their strong partnership and solidarity.
Mrs. Mary Penn-Timity asserted that in the world of autism rigidity doesn’t count and everyone should be patient with people suffering from autistic disorder and show them love and support. She added that World Autism Awareness Day is to show the world that children suffering from Autism are also capable of doing things just as normal human beings.
Minister of Social Welfare, Honorable Baindu Dassama, in her keynote statement said that, she is grateful to Orange Foundation and SLAS for launching the Helpline, stating that she had worked with children with Autism before, while she was a teacher in the United Kingdom and knows the difficulty their care givers and parents face.
She maintained that autism is a forgotten reality and that is why she is personally delighted to continue discussions around the disorder.
She averred that it is their responsibility to ensure a safe environment and the well-being for all children and no child should be left behind.
Madam Baindu Dassama Kamara acknowledged that the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Inclusive Education’, as children with Autism are most times excluded from the educational processes and it is something that the Government is seriously looking into.
She urged other institutions and NGOs to come on-board and spread the awareness level of Autism in Sierra Leone – supporting children and people with Autism is very expensive, so collective collaboration is a huge boost in tackling the issue of Autism.
The screened movie “The Reason I Jump” is a film about children living with the disorder, their behaviors and the difficulties their parents are going through.
The event was climaxed with performances by children living with the disorder as well as children from the deaf and dumb school plus an outstanding performance by the One Family Band.
Mother Nearly Lost Her child For Le70,000
A sierra Leonean mothers had reported to have lost her child for a total sum of Seventy thousand Leones (Le70,000) to buy blood for her child.
At about the hours of 9:15pm on Sunday, March 10th, 2022, a woman I had never met before (name withheld) came to my residence in a restless and desperate mood, weeping. She needed Le,70,000 to save the life of her child who needed one unit of blood transfusion.
As long as she does not have a blood donor, I’m told that whether the blood is available at the hospital or not, she would have to pay Le,150,000 for one unit before it would be transfused.
Witnessing the distraught lady’s visit is my cousin, Alusine Conteh, who is a medical student at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). Alusine has done some of his practical work at various hospitals in Freetown and he told me that at that time of the night the Blood Bank had closed at that particular facility where the baby was admitted. So the ‘poor’ lady’s only available alternative was to buy the one unit of blood from someone who regularly sells his blood to patients in that health facility.
According to her, the person has already been screened by the authorities at the hospital’s Blood Bank. But the lady only had Le,80,000 and since that morning, she said she had been trying to raise the remaining Le 70,000 to no avail. The blood seller would not give a drop if the money is not complete.
Thankfully, I was able to provide some support to cover the cost of the one unit. It is depressing that things are getting this desperate by the day in this country. Even more scary, this happened right here within the administrative district of the capital city.