In an interview with Al Khaleej Newspaper, Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Vice President of Supreme Council for Family Affairs & Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), expressed gratitude to the huge support, which SCHS receives all the yearlong, not only in the holy month of Ramadan. She asked individuals and institutes to donate to SCHS Zakat campaign, which will end in June 10, 2019. This campaign is one of the sources that SCHS relay on to cover for students fees because their families cannot afford to pay their entitlements. She mentioned that 80% of SCHS students are exempt from fees. The total number of students who benefit from Zakat money reaches 1833. Each student coast approximately between 30,000 to 40,000 Dirhams per year. The total coast of exempt students is 46,000,000 Dirhams.
Your Zakat… Educate us
In response to a question about the content of the Zakat Campaign theme (Your Zakat… Educate us), which focuses on the disbursement of Zakat funds on the education of students with disabilities, the Director General of SCHS said, “For the second year in a row, Zakat Campaign has adopted the theme "Your Zakat… Educate us" as a main goal in order to confirm that this money would be allocated to cover for students, who their families cannot pay their entitlements. The coast is Between 30 and 40 thousand dirhams per student in the academic year. In the same time, SCHS would spend Zakat money to provide the latest technologies to support students with disabilities education in a way that suits them and take into account their individual differences”.
The Number of Students Benefiting from Zakat Money
Sheikha Jameela Al Qasimi explained that SCHS has been offering its services since its establishment at the lowest cost. SCHS continued for years to do so. Then, SCHS started offering its services for a small fee for long time. However, the exemptions were many, as evident by the fact that more than 80% of SCHS beneficiaries are exempt from school fees. SCHS gives the exemption according to a study based on the Zakat Committee. The total number of students who benefit from Zakat money reaches 1833 every year. The total support provided by Zakat funds in the last academic year according to Islamic Sharia banks were 45,000,000 Dirhams.
SCHS Main Achievements in Education, Integration, Early Intervention, and Job-placement
When asked about the most important achievements of Sharjah City of Humanitarian Services, which is in line with the Zakat Campaign theme, the Director General of the SCHS said, “Transparency is one of the most important values that SCHS adopts in its work strategies. Therefore, it is importance to talk about the most important accomplishments and ambitious projects, which SCHS has been working on and correspond to Zakat Campaign theme. The total number of students who received services from SCHS in the previous academic year were 2132, (828 locals and 1304 residents). More than 1068 students receives consultation services in classrooms. More than 1064 persons with disabilities receive indirect service on the hands of 631 employees.
“We have to, added SCHS general director, pay tribute to the successful story of Al Amal School for the Deaf, which fosters students’ desire to join higher education. The school graduated 66 students in the last academic year. About 23 of them joined higher education. About 12 graduated and currently working in good jobs that suits their majors. The rest are still in college. In addition, Microsoft Corporation has chosen Al Amal School for the Deaf as a showcase school for four consecutive years because the school focuses on using technology in developing the educational process.
The Integration Process
As for the integration process, SCHS was able, from 2006 to 2017, to integrate more than 461 students of all kinds of disabilities in collaboration with public and private schools and universities. As for SCHS Integration Unit, which SCHS established in 2017, it was able to integrate 17 students with disabilities in 15 different schools and nurseries. In addition, the school is planning to integrate 20 students in suitable schools and nurseries.
In the field of employment and finding suitable jobs for persons with disabilities, Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi said, “SCHS was able to establish the Media Training and Production Centre, which provided jobs for 4 qualified persons with disabilities. Masarat Centre for Development and Empowerment, which is an affiliate of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, was able to find jobs for more than 331 persons with disabilities in other organizations. More than 50 employees among SCHS staff, which are 631 in total, are with disabilities. This makes the total number of persons with disabilities employed by SCHS or through SCHS reaches 681.
In the same area, SCHS has made a new achievement by opening Al Zahya Smart Farm in SCHS Khorfakhan branch, which is the first ambitious project of its kind in the UAE and the region. It is by any means a new shift in the use of new technologies in smart farms. The main purpose of this project is to empower persons with disabilities financially and establish an agricultural nursery within the gardens of Sharjah Municipality, which persons with mental disabilities are supervising and running.
Screening Programs and Early Diagnosis of Disabilities
As for screening programs, Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi said, “SCHS has extended this service to Mothers and Children Centers, Nurseries, and Kindergartens in Sharjah. Since its beginning 10 years ago, the program was able to screen 5563 children in Sharjah, and 1233 in middle and east region. SCHS was able to discover a number of children with some kinds of disabilities and direct their families to receive proper help”.
SCHS New Premises and Reducing the Numbers on Waiting Lists
What about waiting lists, and can all applicants and those who need services get it? To answer this question, Her Highness Sheikha Jameela Al Qasimi said, “In light of the increasing demand for SCHS services and the growing confidence of families in its work, this has led to the presence of many names on the waiting lists. SCHS needs more support to enroll more persons with disabilities by constructing new buildings. Especially, as SCHS moves forward to complete these buildings at a total cost of 500 million dirhams. His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah donated a piece of land in the suburb of Budaiya to SCHS with a construction area of about 575 thousand square meters. This land will ensure, after the end of the first phase, a better educational and training environment for our students and better services according to the best practices worldwide and the latest technologies. Here, I must direct my sincerest thanks to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for donating 80 million dirhams to help SCHS in the establishment and development of its basic facilities.
Future Initiatives and Activities
"The new building and initiatives that benefit the community and people with disabilities are not our only concern," says the director general of SCHS. "It is our responsibility to proclaim the rights of all people. This inspires us the most. For them, we employ all our projects, plans, programs, initiatives, and activities. We are now preparing to organize a series of specific activities with the beginning of the next academic year, the most important of which are: the World Summit of Self-Advocates next September, the Learning Difficulties Conference next October, the seventh Used Book Fair in February, and Simplicity Conference about the books directed to person with disabilities in March.
We asked Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi about spending Zakat Money. Her answer was, “SCHS cares to spend this money on its students with disabilities who deserve it due to their need to pay for education, training, rehabilitation, and assistive technologies. A special committee studies the financial situation of families would persons with disabilities to determine who is really in need because they cannot make a living. In this case, SCHS as being a nonprofit organization pays money to educate persons with disabilities. If SCHS cannot do this, SCHS becomes entitled to take from Zakat money, because it falls under one of the seven categories entitled to Zakat money according to the Islamic law, which is those in debt on their behalf or on behalf of others”.
She added that raising funds through organizing this campaign is a legitimate way to practice social responsibility and a good opportunity to raise people’s awareness of disability issues. Her Highness Sheikha Jameela has praised the unlimited supports and contributions, which SCHS receives all the yearlong, including the holy month of Ramadan.
Any last words?
To conclude her speech, Her Highness Sheikha Jameela directed her sincerest thanks to all public and private bodies for contributing to SCHS blessed efforts. Special thanks went to Sharjah Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Department of Seaports and Customs, Nazo, Fast Building Constructing, Crescent Enterprises. Special thanks went to Media Sponsors: Sharjah Radio and Television Authority, Dubai Media Incorporated, Dar Al Khaleej Printing & Publishing, Studio Opal Boutique, Rimal International Advertising and Publishing, Site Global. Her Highness Sheikha Jameela asked mass media and journalists to support this campaign by making it a priority in order to introduce what SCHS is doing to persons with disabilities and their families. This will lead to raise people’s awareness of the importance of contributing to charity work.
Notably, SCHS managed to enable those who want to donate their Zakat money to the campaign to call SCHS numbers at its various sections and branches in Sharjah, Al Dhaid, Kallba, and Khorfakhan. SCHS will send an authorized employee to collect the donation. He will provide donors with a receipt of the donated amount.
•For telephone donations call 0562160222
•Or deposit the amount in the Zakat account at Sharjah Islamic Bank in all branches AE060410000011-203320 004
•Or in Dubai Islamic Bank Account No AE960240007580560448-601
•More than 80% of SCHS beneficiaries are exempt from school fees.
•The total number of students who benefit from Zakat money reaches 1833 every year.
•The total support provided by Zakat funds according to Islamic Sharia are 45,969,712 Dirham.
•The total number of students who received services from SCHS in the previous academic year were 2132, (828 locals and 1304 residents).
•More than 1068 students receives consulting services, 1064 persons with disabilities receive indirect service.
•More than 50 employees among SCHS staff, which are 631 in total, are with disabilities.
•66 students graduated in the last academic year from high school, 23 of them joined higher education, 12 graduated and currently working in good jobs.
•478 students with different kinds of disabilities were integrated into public and private schools and nurseries
•381 students with disabilities were employed in a steady decent jobs
•6796 children with disabilities were included in the screening process to discover disabilities