Helping the Disabled [Archives:1997/50/Health]

December 15 1997

Help Themselves
The 9th of December of every year is celebrated in Yemen to mark the National Disabled Day and the World Declaration for the Rights of the Disabled. Yemen Times visited the Fadhl Al-Halali Institute for People with Special Needs and met the General Director, Mr. Ahmed Abdullah Abdulhafidh in order to give its readers a glimpse of this very important establishment. The institute was established in 1989 by the collaboration of the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, the Sanaa municipality, the UNDP, and the ILO. There are currently 392 students in the Halali Institute.
Main Objectives: The institute’s objectives include the following: – providing disabled people with vocational counseling, training, employment, and integrating them with society; – finding job opportunities in the open market or sheltered employment for people who are having difficulties in being integrated in the labor market; – organizing conferences, and training workshops to upgrade the professional abilities and knowledge of the people working with the disabled; – providing the necessary compensatory equipment and facilities; – providing basic educational services as part of the rehabilitation process; – conducting research and field studies on vocational rehabilitation; – developing extended vocational rehabilitation for the disabled within a community-based rehabilitation program; and – creating positive attitudes among employers and society in general, towards the disabled and their employment. Who is admitted? People eligible for a place in the Halali Institute must; – be of Yemeni nationality; – aged between 6 and 15 years for the Special Education Center and between 15 and 40 years for the Vocational Training Center; – be residing in Sanaa; – have one or more of the recognized disabilities and be fit for education or vocational training; and – have no infectious diseases.
Rehabilitation Programs A- Vocational: 1- Woodwork, carpentry, wood turnery, and sheltered production. 2- Office work, computer, typing, and other secretarial duties. 3- Tailoring for ladies and men, tricot, embroidery, and other traditional sewing work. 4- Leather work, shoe manufacturing, making school bags, women’s purses, wallets, etc. 5- Textile work; traditional carpet, and ‘mi’waz’ (loin cloth). 6- Agriculture and horticulture. 7- Metal work. B- Special educational programs for the deaf and the mentally retarded children. C- Culture, entertainment and sports programs. D- Research and studies, including conferences and workshops in the field of disabilities.
Education & Recreation Educational outings and visits are regularly conducted to let the trainees see at first hand how factories and other workshops are operated. Other day trips include going to museums, parks, the airport, the main post office, etc. An end-of-year trip is usually organized for graduates to a tourist place near Sanaa.
Problems & Obstacles A- Financial Difficulties: “The Halali Institute suffers from chronic lack of financial resources. The monthly budget allocated for the institute is around YR 29,000, which does not even cover 10% of the monthly expenditure,: said Mr. Abdulhafidh. “Petrol alone, which has an official budget of YR 10,000, costs around YR 80,000 a month,” explained Mr. Abdulhafidh. “This severe lack of finances has made us unable to conduct or organize all the necessary programs to train and rehabilitate our students.” B- There is a lack of employees such as a social worker, a specialist to evaluate the handicapped vocational disabilities, a doctor or even a resident nurse. This shortage in properly trained staff has led to the closure of the vocational evaluation unit. C- The institute is overcrowded and an increasing number of disabled people are applying every year. “Although the institute is capable of enrolling 120 students only, 380 have applied for the academic year 1996-97. A waiting list of 350 people is still to be processed.” To overcome overcrowding, work is conducted in two shifts – from 7,30 AM to 11,30 AM and from 8 AM to 1 PM. D- There is a lack of the necessary teaching aids such as equipment for speech therapy, an audio-visual library, and other essential means for teaching and training people with special needs. 5- The available means of transportation are not sufficient for the large number of students and teachers and other employees. “There is also no car available to help conduct the day-to-day business of the institute.”
By the Managing Editor Yemen Times