“Dar al-Salama” (Safety House) Hospice, near the city of Azaz in northern Aleppo, shows unprecedented vividness and energy after the center has been expanded to take in more elderly people, despite the simplicity of the services it provides as the only one of its kind in the area.
In an interview with the hospice’s director, Nizar Najar (54 years old), on the 1st February, he said that “Dar al-Salama,” which once was a single room center, today has expanded to include three others, which have been equipped to incubate 17 old people, a few of whom have disabilities. The Center is directly sponsored by the “Qais” tribe and the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which provided the center with furniture.
The hospice was established three years ago, supported by doctor Abdul Aziz Atoura, from the city of Aleppo and a holder of PHD in Islamic Sharia, according to Najar, who pointed out that the doctor collects donations from the city’s merchants to sponsor a number of projects, including the hospice. The center, in May 2016, moved to a new building, facing the “International Blue Crescent Relief and Development” (IBC) Hospital in “Bab al-Salama” camp, following two and a half years of services in the old building.
Najar told Enab Baladi that the expansion came as a result for serious efforts that extended over a long period, “to be inhabited by the area’s old people and those who have no other shelter,” indicating that the number is viable to increase.
The director related the issue of allocating a space of the center to women with the funding process, explaining: “The center needs a staff to provide people with services, but no entity has adopted the project as a whole so far.”
According to the hospice’s elderly who Enab Baladi interviewed, the center’s residents get three meals a day. Najar classified the people as those who cannot take care of themselves or do not have a place to live in.
Psychiatrist Dirar Sabbah, who works in the mental hospital in the city of Azaz, describes the center’s expansion process as “grand,” telling Enab Baldi that the center houses tow categories of old people: Those who need treatment and others who need care only.
The doctor says that the center is taking care of these people, assuring that “Physicians Across Continents will cooperate to offer medical and psychological care upon demand and in cases of particular urgency.”
According to the director, formerly two people only, with “simple salaries,” worked for the center and took care of four elderly, some of whom were mentally and physically impaired, and all of them had no one to support them finically (two from Homs, one from Tell Rifaat and the fourth is from the city of Aleppo).
Last year, Enab Baldi conducted a survey in the northern countryside of Aleppo. A number of the interviewees called for the establishment of a hospice, especially that the area lacked such a place and that the battles have left many people untended, among whom are elderly.
According to Abdelkader Mohammed, from Aleppo, the elderly are neglected and forgotten. The role of the hospice is no less important than that of an orphanage. “It is necessary to establish a center to be run bey a specialized and a compassionate staff.”
In a former interview with DoctorMohamed Laqhini, the manager of “Al-Ahli” hospital in Azaz, said that despite its vast area, the region has no similar projects; “there is only a single mental hospital that houses two hundred residents, and the whole region lacks elderly centers.”