Al Jabri says that she is a victim of poverty, an unsupportive society, and rejection from institutions that were supposed to help.
Rabat – The story of Aziza Al Jabri is not only relevant to today’s narrative on social justice because of this Moroccan mother’s inherent struggle in supporting her child who is on the autism spectrum, but also because the institutions that should help her to this end have failed.
Aziza Al Jabri has two daughters, one suffering from diabetes and the other from a kidney disease, in addition to her five-year-old boy who has a severe form of autism as well as hearing problems.
Al Jabri’s husband left the family when he learned that his child was born with several health conditions, including blindness and deafness. “Hassan can see now, but he has hearing problems,” said the mother in an interview with Morocco World News.
“When a woman doesn’t have a man by her side, life becomes 10 times harder, especially with my sick boy who needs all my time and energy,” the 42-year-old woman told MWN. “He is the light of my life, and I thank God for what he had given me. All I ask for is for my son to be integrated in society like other kids.”
Al Jabri turned to the media to share her story, hoping to find help after people she reached out to for help closed doors in her face. The woman talked to MWN about how schools and other institutions rejected her boy, leaving her between the hammer of suffering and the anvil of continuous rejection.
The mother’s determination first appeared in the public eye in a report by ANP Press.
The Casablanca resident’s first attempt to help her son was taking him to a preschool in the Hay El Mohammadi neighborhood, where she lives. The first response the teachers offered her was “your son is handicapped, he is not a normal being, and I’m afraid we can’t help him.”
Shocked by their harsh words, Al Jabri did not give up. She went to another school for children on the autism spectrum who also rejected her, telling her that her son requires resources they lack, including expertise in psychomotricity.
“The first thing they asked for is MAD 200 ($20) for a primary medical check, which I don’t have, simply because I don’t work,” she lamented, explaining the barriers in place preventing the educational access to which her son has a legal right.
The struggling mother went to another preschool in a third attempt to find care for her son, this time with medical papers from the hospital proving his special needs. The public school suggested one day as a trial before deciding whether they would accept her son to the institution.
“I put my son with other kids, and I received a phone call within three minutes, and without any explanation, the [teacher] gave me back my son and closed the door in my face.”
Reliance on informal support
With doors closing in her face one after another, Aziza told MWN, in tears, that she became her son’s “psychiatrist and doctor,” taking care of him 24/7.
“In addition to my son, I also need a psychiatrist. I didn’t sleep properly in a very long time,” she said.
Al Jabri says that she is a victim of poverty, an unsupportive society, rejection by institutions that were supposed to help, and spousal abandonment. “My husband disappeared and his family also rejected me, I haven’t met someone as alone as I am.”
When we asked about her financial resources in light of her daily struggle of babysitting and navigating bureaucratic challenges, Al Jabri said that 100% of her resources come from her neighbors and local police officers, who “show a lot of empathy.”
“My son is losing his teeth because of the lack of calcium, and If it wasn’t for my neighbors, my situation could have been a lot worse. I can never thank them enough.”
She explained, “people come to me with illegal ideas to get money, I say that ‘haram’ (meaning ‘forbidden in Arabic) is easy, but my parents raised me with the principle of gratitude and I prefer this situation to getting dirty money.”
Al Jabri put her phone number (+212 656 131 884) at the disposal of “kind hearts” who are willing to help her son. “I don’t want any money, I only ask you after God to help my son.”