The unemployment rate among Saudi women is high. Various graduation degree holder females are searching for jobs from many years. In most of the cases, they fail to find a good job. To earn their livelihood, they are forced to work as dead bodies’ washer in several hospitals. As this job is hated by most and very few people come towards this profession so it becomes the last hope for unemployed deserving women in KSA. Though pay rate is low women take it better than nothing in hand. During an interview, the director of women staff at Asir Municipality told that majority of women doing cadaver washing are educated and hold graduation degrees from various renowned universities of Kingdom.[irp]
Along with hospitals, there are several NGO’s and charitable institutions in the Kingdom which offer dead body washing and funeral services to the deserving person. These unemployed women are associated with such charitable institutions as well. Few among them take it as charity job and offer services without any charge as an Islamic ritual. Proper training has to be taken by these dead body washers which are conducted under Dawa centers of Ministry of Islamic Affairs and washing licenses also have to be duly approved by concerned authorities. After a compatible training, these women can practice as cadaver washer. Many women performing this job shared their experiences and told about circumstances they faced while their association with this profession.
Maodi Abdul Aziz, 29, has been doing this job for years. She is appointed as cadaver washer for SR 2,000 including traveling allowance. She searched for a job after acquiring graduation degree in Islamic studies but ended in this profession due to poverty. She has been facing discriminatory attitude of people for her low standard profession. Another cadaver washer, Fatima Abdul Salam,35 mentioned that she made a quest for a job for 9 years after getting a bachelor degree from King Abdul Aziz University in Arabic languages. She tried her best to get a fine job with presentable living standards but unfortunately, she had to work as cadaver washer as she had left with no other option. She shared that the most painful aspect is to face negative attitude and remarks of people in society who consider this profession low standard.
Suad Ali, 36, is working as dead bodies’ washer because she has no other source of income and has to look after three children after her divorce. She got a divorce while searching for a good job as she holds a graduation degree in special education.[irp]
Another woman, Umm Taif shared that washing of dead bodies is a patience-requiring job. It is a constant pain to see torn and mutilated bodies and even to touch and wash them. Especially those who lose their lives in the road and other accidents with lost body parts are most difficult to be washed. It is a matter of great courage and patience to join separated body parts and then cleans them properly.
Source: Arab News