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A Moroccan widow receives cancer patients in her home to honor her late husband

Khadija Ayad al-Qotri, a Moroccan widow who turned her house into a shelter for cancer patients./Ph. DR
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Khadija Ayad al-Qotri has turned her place into a refuge for cancer patients in Rabat, after realizing that some of them have decided to stop the treatment because of the high cost of traveling, says Reuters.

The 72-year-old woman founded the Jannat association in 2009, a few months after her husband died of cancer. Her NGO provides patients and their families with free accommodation, free transport to Rabat’s oncology center and free meals. 

Khadija Ayad al-Qotbi relies on her husband’s pension, about 450 dirhams, to finance her association.

She is currently housing 15 women at her place and is renting an apartment nearby to house 15 other patient. One of them, aged 45, has breast cancer and has been living in the shelter since September 2017. She comes from Ksar El Kebir and has no family in Rabat. «We could not find anyone doing what the people in this association are doing for us. Even our relatives could not take care of us because we are poor», she said.

Official figures show that the number of cancer cases is steadily increasing in Morocco. 40,000 new patients are registered each year. Breast cancer is most common in women, followed by cervical cancer and thyroid cancer.

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