Jan 5, 2021

Al Wafa School for Capacity Development of the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) is preparing to organize the twentieth edition of (Sanabel Al Mahabba) Festival in January 2021. SCHS has been organizing this event since 1998. It aims at achieving the principle of community partnership through motivating community members to contribute and support the education and empowerment of people with mental disabilities and provide modern means and technologies according to International best practices in the field of special education.

Before (COVID 19), Sanabel Al Mahaba was an event that SCHS organizes periodically. The idea came from Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei's, Director of SCHS. It aims to support students of Al Wafa School (Institute of Intellectual Education) previously, and their families, and to implement programs that contribute to developing communication skills and stimulating their language development.

Financial proceeds in favor of developing school programs and services

The festival includes many recreational and entertainment activities. The proceeds would go to develop school programs for people with disabilities, in addition to inviting community members to learn about the services provided to them and contribute to their support and provision through material and in-kind donations.

Because of Coronavirus, the twentieth edition is different

As for this session of the festival, and due to the current circumstances, the school decided, in the interest of the safety and security of students and their workers, that the activities be limited to virtual meetings by a specific number of students with intellectual disabilities, school staff and some volunteers to some cooperating institutions and companies.

The aim of the virtual meeting is to provide a comprehensive idea of the educational and technical services provided by the school to students, which continued like other services of departments and branches of SCHS during the period of (COVID 19), (remotely). Then, the school subsequently adopted the hybrid education system in line with the directives of the two ministries of health and education.

Electronic market

In this special session, the school will organize an online marketplace in which the products for clothing, household appliances and others will be put on sale (online).

A major theme of every edition of the festival

Dr. Samia Mohamed Saleh, director of Al-Wafa School for Capacity Development, confirmed that a major goal in addition to the general goals set by the school for each session. Over the past years, it has accomplished many of these goals. For example, but not limited to, the main goal of the academic year course (2004-2005) was (preparing the special curriculum for mental disabilities), while the goal of the next session was (developing and equipping the cerebral palsy unit) and then (developing the family counseling unit by buying a car and providing home service. For the student in his home environment).

She added, “The school year session’s goal for (2009-2010) is (supporting the brothers of the disabled person). The school year (2011-2012) aimed to (providing services to adults with severe disability) and the next session raised the motto (developing work with students by Modern technology and tablets such as the iPad). The next year’s course was (purchasing educational and training devices for cerebral palsy students and covering school activities throughout the school year).

Equipping a kinesthetic integration room

Dr. Samia explained that these goals continued as the festival developed over time. The main goal of the academic year session (2014-2015) was (preparing a room for kinesthetic integration). Then, the next year edition was to provide (the best services and modern practices in the field of people with disabilities and covering school activities throughout the academic year).

In the next year, the goal was (to purchase three robots to train students in accordance with best educational practices, support student programs and cover school activities throughout the year). As for last year's session, it aimed at (implementing programs that contribute to the development of communication skills and stimulate language development for children with intellectual disabilities, in accordance with best educational practices and support for student programs).

Two million and 188 thousand festival proceeds from 2005 to 2020

The director of Al-Wafa School confirmed that the proceeds of Sanabel Al-Mahabba since the academic year (2004-2005) until the academic year (2019-2020) amounted to (2 million and 188 thousand and 824 dirhams). The school fully employed this money to achieve the festival's objectives as much as possible.

About Al-Wafa School for Capacity Development

Al Wafa School for Capacity Development (formerly the Institute of Intellectual Education) established in 1984 with the aim of providing appropriate services to children with intellectual disabilities.  The school's work later developed by providing appropriate services to people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, in accordance with international best practices. Today, the school provides its services to 270 persons with intellectual disability, multiple disabilities and some cases of autism spectrum disorder from the age of 5 to 16 years, in addition to the services provided to other groups through the school's departments and branches in Yarmouk and Ramleh.

Yarmouk and Ramle branches

The school director explained that the school branch in Yarmouk provides all necessary services for students with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder from the age of 5 to 9 years old, while the Ramla branch provides these services for those aged 10 to 16 years old.

The Severe Disabilities Center

She mentioned the Severe Disabilities Center, which SCHS established in 2012 within the Ramla branch during the evening period. It aims of providing various services to students with severe and multiple disabilities and those with autism spectrum disorder from the age of 16 years and over.

The services provided at the center include rehabilitation programs and social skills, in addition to physical and occupational therapy services and supportive recreational activities.

Young Women’s House

Dr. Samia Saleh talked about the Young Women’s House, which SCHS established in 2012 to provide service to young girls with intellectual disabilities over the age of 18. These girls graduated from Masarat Center for Development and Empowerment, which support their life skills, independence and social skills.

Developing skills through self-advocacy

The school's role was not limited to providing educational and rehabilitation services only, but it worked to provide all therapy, health and legal services to students. It also worked on developing the adaptive and societal skills of students with intellectual disabilities through the principle of self-advocacy. It provided family awareness services through Fathers, Mothers and Siblings Councils. In addition to community awareness, where the school works on building human rights awareness, and community awareness of mental disability through community activities such as the Mentally Disabled Week and educational campaigns.

Al Wafa School for Capacity Development services in accordance with international best practices

Al Wafa School for Capacity Development provides students with disabilities with services according to international best practices, the most important of which are:

•Diagnostic and evaluation services according to the latest methods, standards and tests.

•Training and education services according to the latest individual educational programs (services for students of classes and counseling).

•Supportive therapeutic services (speech and language, supportive techniques, physical and occupational therapy services, psychological services).

•Support activities (sports, music, art education, handicrafts, housekeeping, and intonation).

•Inclusion program: following up students who the school integrated into public schools.

•Training services for the technical staff, at the internal and local levels, in accordance with best practices through lectures and workshops).

•Community outreach by raising community’s awareness of mental disability through international campaigns and occasions.

•Family counseling services, which include providing psychological, cognitive and recreational support for all family members

Well-deserved thanks to our sponsors and partners

Dr. Samia directed her sincerest thanks and appreciation to SCHS partners and the sponsors of the festival who contributed to its success over the past years. They are Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharjah Police, and Sharjah Municipality.  In addition to Patients' Friends Charity House, Sharjah Museums Department, and Taurus Foodstuff Est.  She paid tribute to Emirates Red Crescent, Sharjah Environment Company, Sharjah Childhood Protection Network. Dr. Samia directed her sincerest thanks to Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs, Sharjah Heritage Institute, and Fast Building Contracting Company. Moreover, The Commercial and Tourism Development Authority, the Leader International General Trading Company, the Sharjah Radio and Television Authority, the Arab Cultural Club. Special thanks went to Youths Centers Department, Media Section at the Corporate Communication Department at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Sharjah Childhood Protection Network, and Khotwh for Media Production.

Dr. Samia called on businessmen and company owners to support and sponsor Sanabel Al Mahabba in its new session in January (2021) and to contribute to the development of services provided to students with disabilities in accordance with international best practices.