x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Scheme brings 400 jobs for disabled

Modified machinery in special factories, new residential centres and additional treatment options will integrate people with disabilities

ABU DHABI // A new programme will provide more than 400 jobs for the disabled at purpose-built factories, a humanitarian organisation said yesterday.

The factories are part of a new push that will include special schools and residences to provide training, therapy and accommodation to help people with disabilities.

Precision machining and production of PVC parts are among the work for which employees will be trained at a school in Abu Dhabi that will be ready by the end of the year, according to the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO).

A rehab centre nearby will be dedicated to helping people who recently lost limbs.

"People with disabilities can work in any field," said Mariam al Qubaisi, head of the special needs sector at ZHO.

The organisation said the factory, in Abu Dhabi, would feature tools and jobs modified to suit people with disabilities.

It is expected to be completed by next year or 2013.

"We have an agreement with the General Holding Company (GHC) to have 400 work places available within four or five years," Ms al Qubaisi said.

"If a person has one arm, we will modify the machine to be used by one arm. The department is already there, and we started receiving cases for skills testing and assessment."

There will also be a similar, but smaller, factory in the Al Mirfa'a area in the Western Region.

The ZHO will be launching inpatient centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, the first of their kind for people with special needs in the UAE.

"Right now we only have day-care centres," she said. "But there are some people who have complicated disabilities, or don't have a suitable environment at home, or live in emirates far from care centres."

The residential centre in Abu Dhabi will provide vocational training for people with multiple and severe disabilities who are 16 and older.

The initial capacity for the centre when it launches at the end of this year will be 90 beds. A similar centre in Al Mirfa'a will open before 2014 with a 50-bed capacity as a pilot programme.

A halfway house in Al Ain, opening in September, will provide rehabilitation services for children and youths disabled because of accidents. "It will be a bridge between medical treatment at the hospital and the home," Ms al Qubaisi said.

The 4,400-square-metre facility in Al Ain will be able to accommodate 500 people during the day and has 15 beds for in-house students. It has a staff of 40 specialists consisting of therapists, social counsellors and other health workers.

Other more novel forms of therapy will be available by the end of the year, including a centre in the capital specialised in hippotherapy, or horse therapy, and in sensory therapy.

In hippotherapy, horse riding and the characteristic movements of a horse are used to foster motor skills and sensory input.

The centre will use 24 horses in 300 therapy sessions a week.

The organisation already has day-care centres in the capital and across the Western Region in Delma, Sela'a and Madinat Zayed.

There are 1,100 students enrolled in all of its facilities, and it has placed 54 "ambassadors" in different government departments to spread awareness about people with special needs.

ZHO is an "independent government organisation" that offers social and humanitarian services to people with special needs in Abu Dhabi emirate.

hdajani@thenational.ae