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Students volunteer to help in special needs programme


05/25/2009 11:31 PM | By Aftab Kazmi, Bureau Chief

Al Ain: More than 30 students of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) have joined a volunteer programme to help children with special needs.

The programme has been launched by Al Ain Private Centre for Care and Rehabilitation (APCCR) in coordination with the students of the HCT this week, said a spokesperson of the centre yesterday.

The students will first get four hours of theoretical and three hours of practical training on autism, mental retardation, Down's syndrome and cerebral palsy. After the training is complete, each volunteer will select an area of action committing to a minimum of two hours per week as an APCCR volunteer.

The unique volunteer initiative, he said, also offers the participating students a real world context of the life of those with special needs besides empowering community involvement.

"APCCR believes that volunteer programmes such as these will create greater awareness of this section of society. This structured training programme is designed to foster community involvement and bridge the gap of integration in UAE," he added.

Tim Smith, Associate Director at the HCT in Al Ain, said: "Our students have responded positively and are ready to carry out the required training." He said he is sure the students have the necessary dedication to make a difference to those less fortunate.

Sophia Korayim, Director of Development at the APCCR, said the volunteers will be involved in various activities including supporting teachers in class session, participating in fund raising and assisting the administration department.

Other activities include socialisation, a programme that will enhance interaction with special needs students and even train the children on the use of money. "Volunteers will also help organise events at the residential section of the APCCR that has over 60 residents of varying ages," she said.

The APCCR was established in 1999 with services to a limited number of intellectually impaired children in Al Ain. It now provides care and rehabilitation to 148 special needs students ages four to 30.

Have you ever volunteered for a good cause? What difficulties do you face when looking for volunteer work in the UAE? Were you unable to volunteer because of this? What recourse did you seek?

 
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