In a pioneering initiative, Al Madina Group and the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities have joined hands for the development of a new ‘Centre of Excellence’ which will provide comprehensive and sophisticated services to children with disabilities in the Sultanate.
Cited to be constructed in the Ghala area close to the new Muscat International Airport – on land that has been donated by His Majesty the Sultan, the Centre will be a landmark in sustainability and community causes. The facility will act as the headquarters of the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities as well as serve as a common ground for children with disabilities to be effectively integrated into society.
Engineer Abdul Rahman Barham, CEO of the Al Madina Real Estate, which is a part of the larger Al Madina Group, announced the project in a press conference held at Muscat Grand Mall. He commented, “At Al Madina Group, we believe that corporate social responsibility is an integral part of our business, and we have endeavoured to give back to the community in our own way. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be a part of a project that is of a national significance such as this. The Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities has been working towards this goal for the past decade, and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to partner with them and create the first ever ‘purpose built’ facility for children with disabilities. It is our vision to create a centre which boasts not only the best design and elements, but also top notch equipment and resources to ensure a better growing environment for these children in Oman.”
The expected cost of the design, supervision, management and development of this project is budgeted at OR200 to 250 thousand that Al Madina will provide free of charge, as their contribution to the community. The total cost of the project is estimated at over OR3m. One of the shareholders of Al Madina Group has personally pledged OR1m to support the project, while the Group has also organised a loan from a local bank worth OR1.5m, which will be guaranteed by Al Madina Group. This will ensure that the project can start immediately and construction can commence without delay.
Najat Al Busaidya, Chairman of the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities, said, “For us, it has always been a dream to be able to establish a facility where children with disabilities could get the best treatment and be taught to integrate into the society. The biggest challenge for us has been securing financial resources to simply keep our present activities running. We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the new centre, where we will not only be able to accommodate more children, but also ensure world class resources are implemented in taking care of them.”
“At present, we are able to provide for children from birth up to the age of six, but their life after this age is a cause of anxiety to their parents. It is our sincere hope that, following the beginning of this new centre, we will be able to cater to these children even beyond this age and perhaps even strike associations with organisations which specialise in the care of these children into adolescence.” She added.
Being built on land gifted by His Majesty, the new centre will be built over 15,000 square meters. The primary plans for the development by Al Madina Real Estate is to use 60% of the plot for the ‘Centre of Excellence’ which will house the indoor and outdoor functional areas. The rest of the space will be commercialised, so as to create an ongoing source of funds for the centre – which will ensure that the basic operating expenses are always met.
“Al Madina Group’s participation in this esteemed project is just a start. We plan to encourage more companies throughout the Sultanate – public or private to contribute to the Centre in their own manner. We believe that this facility will be a ‘national project’ and partnership is open to all – whether they wish to donate in financial terms or otherwise. As a community, it is our responsibly to work together to make this dream a reality and lend a helping hand to these children – we hope to see a large number of contributors coming forward to make their lives better, one step at a time,” Eng. Abdul Rahman Barham added.
The Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities currently provides to 84 children with disabilities in their Athaibah facility, where the operating cost per child has been calculated to be OR3000 annually as well as caters to 54 children at their homes. The new centre, when functional will increase this number several times over, being able to accommodate over 300 children on site, as well as another 200 children whose disabilities make it difficult for them to be mobile – and must be attended to at their homes. The operational cost is then expected to exceed OR4000 annually per child so as to guarantee a high quality of services and comply with global standards.
The spokespersons on behalf of Al Madina Group and the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities also mentioned that the new centre will be an environmental icon – in a manner that has never been seen in the Sultanate. Its design will not only be energy efficient, but will be created taking into account all possible environment friendly aspects.
“It is my belief that this initiative will bring forth a new beginning for children with disabilities in the Sultanate. I would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank all those at Al Madina Real Estate who are converting this vision into a reality. On behalf of the Association, I call upon all companies functioning in Oman to come forward and work in tandem with us to ensure a better society. Development, at the end, is a joint venture of all the citizens and not the responsibility of any one individual, together we can make a real difference,” Najat Al Busaidi concluded.