(MENAFN - Arab News) Child beggary on the streets of Jeddah has decreased by more than 50 percent thanks to the opening of a juvenile shelter in association with Al-Birr Charitable Society said Hani Jamil shelter supervisor.
'The center had 9255 beggars between the age of 10 and 15' he told Arab News.
'Almost 7530 children have been deported and 1650 released. The center now has merely 100 children mostly from Asian and African countries. More than 60 percent of these children are boys.'
Mohammed Al-Gharawi is a 15-year-old boy at the shelter who entered into the Kingdom illegally from Yemen for SR2000.
'We entered the borders at midnight and were handed over to Saudis' said Mohammed. 'The journey from Yemen to Jeddah took three days. We would walk on broken roads every night and sleep at rest houses nd abandoned huts.'
After reaching Jeddah Mohammed made a deal with the same people telling them he wants to go to Madinah.
'I was handed over along with six others to a man who walked with us along a public road' he said.
'We were not stopped by security personnel. We each paid the man SR250. After reaching Madinah I worked with a Saudi selling Zamzam water on the Riyadh-Qassim road for SR100 a day. We used to make SR3000 a day in profits' he said.
'I had rented out a room for SR150 a month and continued working with the same man for a few days. I was arrested by security patrols after I was caught at the Prophet's Mosque and then sent to the shelter in Jeddah.'
Mohammed said he came to Kingdom because he wanted to flee Yemeni terrorists who used to force children into joining their group.