Browsing 'children' News


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Drowning is a silent killer and can happen within seconds, especially in children.

This is why parents must watch their kids very closely when they are in the water, a Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) doctor has said.

The number of children who drown in Qatar is going up each year, the chairman of Qatar’s Kulluna Health and Safety campaign said this week.

Fatimah Ashraf Khan/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In a statement, Dr. Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen added that 90 percent of drowning cases involve children under the age of 10 years old, and 70 percent of those cases are victims younger than four.

He added:

“Drowning incidents in Qatar occur mainly at home, in private swimming pools and bathtubs. There are also some incidents of drowning in the sea.

Almost all the drowning incidents in swimming pools in Qatar happen when the parent or caregiver is not present.”

He explained there are several myths about drowning, which include the belief that:

  • Children will follow instructions and stay away from water hazards;
  • Kids can safely be left unattended for short periods of time;
  • A lifejacket or flotation device will prevent drowning;
  • Adequate safety measures (such as a lifeguard) are already in place; and
  • Younger children can play safely in the care of older kids.

Safety tips

To help keep children safe, the doctor advised constant supervision, teaching children how to swim and setting/enforcing clear rules about what to do near water.

Learning to perform CPR is also recommended, and free courses are offered through Kulluna.

Elysia Windrum

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Finally, Saifeldeen recommended thinking beyond the obvious to reduce the risk of drowning.

According to Kulluna’s website, children in Qatar have drowned in swimming pools, baths, fish tanks, buckets, on building sites and in the sea.

“About 70 to 80 percent of drowning cases happen when the child is not supposed to be in the water,” Saifeldeen said.

For adults, the Ministry of Interior has previously advised not swimming alone; never replacing life jackets with plastic water rings as they are not designed to keep swimmers safe; and never using water rings of any type if the water is deep.


All photos Copyright © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

A portrait exhibition about Afghan girls who have taken up skateboarding will make its regional premiere in Qatar this week.

The Skate Girls of Kabul series was taken by award-winning photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson in 2013.

It debuts at the QM Gallery (Building 10) in Katara Cultural Village on Thursday, July 20.

The exhibition is based on the story of Skateistan, a local charity that set up skate parks for kids in Afghanistan. There, it is taboo for girls to ride bikes, but not necessarily skateboards.

Dobson, who released a book of the photos in 2015, writes in her forward:

“It’s hard not to think of Afghan girls skateboarding as a remarkable and quirky clash of cultures. But when you see these girls in their beautiful, bright, flowing clothes tearing around the skate park, often yelping and shrieking with laughter, your preconceptions drop away.

You realize that however unusual it may seem, they’re doing what comes naturally to them. As with girls anywhere in the world, once you give them the chance to do something they love, each one begins to discover her own personality, her sense of style and how to express it.”

Qatar skate ramp

The exhibition has also been seen in London and New York, winning awards both times. It is now coming to the Middle East for the first time.

Copyright © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul series

As a nod to the series, Qatar Museums announced that it will open a skate ramp to the public for the duration of the exhibition, which runs from July 20 to Oct. 21.

In a statement, QM added:

“The striking images bring to life the hopeful spirit of these young girls that show a new perspective and dimension to skateboarding culture — one that shows strength in the face of adversity.”



Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A six-year-old boy has died after falling into an uncovered manhole in Wukair over the weekend, Gulf Times reports.

The child, an Indian expat named Izan Ahmed Basheer, reportedly went missing after he and his parents ate at a restaurant in the area on Saturday.

According to the newspaper, the parents filed a police report and began canvassing the area along with friends and family.


Izan Ahmed Basheer

But then Izan’s body was found early Sunday morning in an open manhole near the restaurant.

Spate of deaths

At least half a dozen children in Qatar have died after falling into uncovered manholes in the past seven years.

That includes a three-year-old Jordanian boy who in November 2012 fell into an 8m (26-foot) hole outside of an Al Sadd hotel.

And one month later, a three-year-old Omani girl was killed after falling into an open manhole near her home in Al Wakrah.


Fahim Sirajudeen

Municipal workers conducting a cleanup did not notice she had fallen in and secured the manhole cover before leaving for the night. She was found during a search of the area by neighbors.

And then in 2013, a five-year-old boy named Fahim was walking just ahead of his parents after leaving the now-closed fish market in Abu Hamour one evening when he disappeared into an open manhole.

Fahim was eventually rescued, but he suffered brain damage after being submerged in water and going without oxygen for several minutes. He died days later.

Put safety first

A government official was eventually sentenced to one year in jail for gross negligence after his death and for not ensuring the safety of manholes in the Central Market area.

Speaking after the verdict, the child’s father urged authorities to introduce stringent safety rules so that other families could avoid having to “share this sort of pain.”

Marco Zanferrari/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Sirajudeen added that simple measures such as putting barriers around the open hole and lighting the area could have shown up the open hole, and saved his son’s life.

“After this happened, people told us we weren’t looking after our son properly. But he was right with us. The area was dark – there were no lights at the time. We couldn’t see the hole.

“What we have lost we can never get back. My wife cries every single day. There is nothing, nothing which can compensate for what has happened to us. I never want something like this to happen to another family. I never want to share this sort of pain with another family.”

Update: According to Sirajudeen, the municipal official’s jail term was thrown out on appeals.