Muscat: A new state-of-the-art centre designed to help young children with disabilities will aim to be self-sufficient in the future.
The centre, which is being designed for the Association of Early Intervention and will be constructed on a sprawling 15,000 square metre plot donated by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, will include projects that will generate enough income to cover some of the Association’s other charitable efforts.
The Association of Early Intervention's CEO, Sabah Al Bahlani, said: “There is a goal to make the association financially self-sufficient so that it can finance its charity activities without needing support from anyone The reason we have this goal is because of His Majesty’s directive to donate land to develop associations that support early intervention for every child facing developmental challenges so that they can be independent.
“His Majesty’s gift caused a change of direction as well, making us think that the space can be used for a full centre, producing its own funds, as there will be property for rent near the association’s headquarters. By renting these out, the association will be able to make a revenue each month that can be spent on the association’s activities,” she added.
According to her, the total cost could reach around OMR2,000,000 based on studies and consultants’ reports. Al Bahlani said that this should not be a hindrance, since associations need to evolve to rely on themselves.
“Those of us in charge of charity organizations must change the way we think. We must not be traditionally dependant on gifts and aid only. This is why we will change the way the association’s headquarters is built so that it is more productive. Part of it will be for the headquarters, another part will be a hall for weddings and events, and others will be rented for workshops. It will also include football fields which can be used in the morning for beneficiaries of the association, and then in the evening it can be rented for others in order to bring revenue for the association to finance its work.
“4000 more metres squared have been left for future projects and investments,” she said
According to her, the private sector can help in this by aiding the association to help it support itself, rather than sending other forms of support for one-time uses.
“The private sector was invited to learn about the project and discover what it is about,” she added. “In the future, we intend to visit some companies to inform them about the project and how it can be productive in the future and change the way charity organizations think.
According to her, the association is already making money.
“We have already started giving workshops for families and small businesses and these have begun a revenue stream for the association,” she added.
This will help the association to continuously provide early intervention services to every child with developmental challenges and will enable them to reach their potential for independence and inclusion in society.
The Director of Khimji Ramdas, Hritik Khimji, said, "We are delighted to support the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disability to build their new centre of excellence. Our team of qualified engineers and construction experts are eager to make a meaningful contribution to the association's objective of building a world class resource providing rehabilitation to children with special needs.
He added: “Eshraqa, Khimji Ramdas' social development arm will continue to support the association in integrating differently abled children into mainstream society. The Association currently serves children from Muscat, as well a number of families from other parts of Oman. They provide holistic rehabilitation services for children from infancy to age nine, after which they integrate them into schools and specialised centres.”
According to the Association of Early Intervention's CEO, Sabah Al Bahlani, “The association aims not to simply treat the children's disabilities, but to empower them as people, regardless of the challenges they encounter.”
The Chairperson of the Association of Early Intervention, Rahama Al Musharafi stated, “The association works on the principle of upholding the right of children with disabilities to live with dignity and equality. We seek to provide programmes that will help them achieve the highest degree of independence, self-reliance and integration into society.”