Sheikh Nahyan: children with special needs deserve the best education

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak is the honorary president of the Future Centre for Special Needs, which was launched in 2000.

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ABU DHABI // Every child with special needs is worthy of the best education, guests at a charity fundraiser were told.

The message came from Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and honorary president of the Future Centre for Special Needs.

The centre supports children – Emiratis and expatriates – with a range of disabilities, including autism-spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, physical disorders, hearing impairments, rare genetic syndromes, and speech and language issues.

“The Future Centre aims at the educational goals of the UAE,” said Sheikh Nahyan, addressing the 500-strong audience at the fundraising gala dinner.

“We in the UAE intend to provide a fitting education for each person, recognising that everyone is endowed with a unique set of gifts and that each person has the capacity to make an important contribution.

“We are confident that we can and should help all people, whatever their individual needs, in developing their special abilities so that they will realise their full potential and lead worthy lives.”

Launched in 2000, the non-profit Future Centre for Special Needs, in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, aims to advance the education of children and young adults.

One of the main aims is vocational training to help pupils develop their skills, find jobs and build a bright future for themselves.

The centre has helped to integrate dozens of pupils into full-time employment, including working at a lawyer’s office, in building, finance and for a restaurant.

The latest such pupil is Mohammad Ismail, who came to Future Centre at the age of 10 in 2001 and is now training for a job at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Sheikh Nahyan will also head the two-day ABILITIESme special-needs conference, at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, which begins today.

jbell@thenational.ae