Al-Noor Center’s Exhibition for blind and handicapped, IGNORED [Archives:2003/648/Community]

July 7 2003

Saleh al-Basha

What is a nobler mission than to care for and train a disabled person in order to arm him with tools and skills he needs to become a productive independent person?
In developed countries the handicapped and unfortunate people receive special care and it is on the governments agenda to care for such minorities. Our country as well started working on this line, though slowly and not with the required stamina. Yet one of the good tendencies of the president's policies is to take care of the disabled people in the country and provide them with training and rehabilitate them in order to qualify them to become productive citizens. However, some of the efficient hardworking centers in this field invariably are ignored and excluded in the state's budget, leaving them unrecognized and without official funding.
Al-Noor center in Al-Mukala is one of those deprived institutions. It provides its services in three regions; Hadramout, Shabwa and Al-Muhra. In spite of the fact that the center is ignored in the government's plan, it still persists and is working, thanks to the aid it gets from here and there.
In celebration of the end of the school year 2002/2003, the center organized a handicraft and artistic exhibition which reflected the students' skills and excellent talents in various fields. The students and administration wanted this exhibition to be one of the best even worldwide so they put in giant efforts hoping by this to attract the authorities attention and to find a place in the government's budget especially that the timing coincided with the president's visit to Al-Mukala. However, only disappointment was there to greet the administration of the center and the students who were enthusiastically ready to present their works before president of republic and gift him their modest souvenir they made especially for him.
Not only was the center excluded from the President's tour of Al-Mukala, also the governor was away all during the exhibition and hence did not visit them. Most of the authorities in the area also did not visit the exhibition which also was not given the deserved attention from the media either.
Fortunately, Yemen Times went to meet the general manager of Al-Noor Center Mr. Saeed Abdullah Bathaqeelah who said:
''Al-Noor center for the blind was established in 1970, and was renovated and enlarged after the Unity in 1990. A new activity was added then as to care for the deaf and dumb hence the center renaming as ''Al-Noor Center for the Blind and training the disabled.'' Today the center contains 92 students out of whom 25 are females. It consists of two sections; educational section where classes for teaching from first and up to 9th grade, and the technical section where professions like carpentry, electrical connections, conditioning mechanics, tailoring, embroidery, and computers are being taught.''
And as per the difficulties which the center is facing, Mr. Bathaqeela explained that of the most difficulties is that the center is not supported with the government's budget and it depends on teachers and trainers seconded by other institutions. ''We receive support from the governor and from the Social Fund for Development which bought furniture and arranged three courses in sign language for the teachers. The Canadian Program for development in Yemen also assisted the center as it donated a number of computers, stitching machines and nursery equipment. It also equipped the center with a complete library from furniture to books and presented the center with various sport instruments. Friends of Hadramout Society in Britain also help as it practically supports the blinds' section. UNECF recently checked 80 students in Taiz to see if hearing aid would have helped them but unfortunately the result was negative, yet we hope the organization would continue its support for the center in this project or others.'' He commented.
We also met with Mr. Faraj Saeed Mahboob head of the school in the center who talked about the exhibition saying:
''Since the beginning of the year the students have started working for the exhibition. They were divided into groups according to their skills and abilities. The exhibition consisted of an artistic section, tailoring and embroidery section, electricity section, conditioning section, carpentry section, and finally handicrafts and mud works. All these sections reflected the students' dedication and talents. Both students and teachers worked together to make this event a success.
As for the summer courses, the center intends to organize three workshops for the parents to teach them how to deal with their disabled children and learning sign language.