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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Time running out for special needs centre facing closure this week due to lack of funds

The centre, which offers discounts and free sessions to families who cannot afford the fees, will close this week if they don't find the Dh350,000 they need 

<p>Three-year-old Mohammed Hedi&nbsp;plays at the Dimensions Centre, which helps kids with special needs from lower income backgrounds but now faces closure.&nbsp;Chris Whiteoak / The National</p>
<p>Three-year-old Mohammed Hedi&nbsp;plays at the Dimensions Centre, which helps kids with special needs from lower income backgrounds but now faces closure.&nbsp;Chris Whiteoak / The National</p>

The manager of the Dimensions Centre, which treats people with special needs in Fujairah, has renewed an urgent appeal to the public for help as it faces closure this week.

The centre is a vital lifeline for those with children who need specialised care, but a lack of funds has left it facing imminent closure.

“It’s hard for me to say this, but the centre will close its doors this week as we can't afford to renew and pay for the rent. I disparately beg for the public’s help to keep the centre running,” said Tamara Tagliapietra, the centre’s manager.

“21 children with various disabilities will stop receiving the care and treatment they need in order to develop and progress. It breaks my heart and soul to see that coming,” she said.

Ms Tagliapietra said she received a call from the Ministry of Community Development on Monday saying that the centre will be fined if they don’t renew their licence this week.

“I told him that we are facing serious financial problems and we need time but he said that’s up to you, if I don’t renew this week we will be fined Dh2,000.”

“I haven't slept since yesterday as I’m trying to find a solution. I knocked on every single door and asked many governmental authorities in Fujairah for help but nothing happened, only promises that have never been fulfilled,” she said.

Twenty-one children aged between 3 and 15 are currently benefiting from the centre's services and are developing new skills with the help of therapists, while 10 others are waiting to be sponsored in order to join the centre.

“The property rental papers were also sent to the legal department as we couldn’t pay the rent since the beginning of the year, while three families couldn’t pay the discounted fees for more than three months as they are also facing financial difficulties,” said Ms Tagliapietra.

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The centre offers free sessions to children with special needs from families with a low income and offers discounted fees starting from 10 per cent and reaching 50 per cent for those who cant afford to cover the total amount.

“I can’t stop any child from benefiting from the centre’s services and it’s not their fault if their parents don’t have enough money to cover the fees. We all have children and we can imagine how hard it is to deprive them of their right to develop and becoming active members in the community,” she said.

Ms Tagliapietra said that they need to pay out around Dh350,000 now to keep the centre open for another year, which includes property rental fees, licences and the salaries of five specialists.

She has asked anyone interested in helping to contact her on 055 747 1010 - 09 224 2232 or through email tamara@dimensionsfuj.ae.