Parents of Special Children Demand School for their Kids

A group of Pakistani Parents who have Special Children recently met with the Deputy Head of the Mission at the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh – Khayyam Akbar. A delegation comprising of about eight parents led by Ms. Asma Tariq apprised DHM Khayyam about a need to open a section at the Pakistani Schools especially dedicated to the Special Children. According to Mrs. Asma about 80 special children of various ages and categories were just sitting at home as there was no School where they could go to. “Parents of these special children have done everything in their capacity to get their children admitted to Schools but are now frustrated, depressed and hopeless with the prevalent situation. That is why they have come to the Embassy as a last hope”, Mrs. Asma remarked. According to Mrs. Asma presently there was no School where these special children could go to. “It is, therefore, becoming very frustrating for parents to see their children getting older and without education of any kind”, Mrs. Asma added

The Pakistani Ambassador HE Muhammad Naeem Khan had assigned Khayyam Akbar – Deputy Head of the Mission – to look into the issue and listen to the parent’s view point on this issue. DHM Khayyam had given a passionate hearing to the parents of Special Children and had promised to extend all possible help & assistance to them in this regards. “We will study this and if possible would begin a special session in Pakistani Schools dedicated to these special children”, DHM Khayyam said.

Recently during an event hosted by Pakistan Writers Club to mark the UN International Day for Disabled Persons in Riyadh this issue of Schools for Special Children again came up for discussion in the speech of Khayyam. “We need to open a special section in our Schools for our special children and I appeal the community to also extend cooperation in this regards”, DHM Khayyam had said.

Taking a cue from this urgent need of a School for Special Children, Engr Mohammad Qasim Al-Qurashi – Chairman of Bright Future School and her daughter Mrs. Reem Mufti Ahmed- pledged to seriously consider opening a dedicated section for these special children.

For this purpose Engr. Al-Qurashi convened a press conference in his School recently and laid out his proposal to help solve this problem.

The Press Conference per se was moderated by Mrs. Reem Ahmed Mufti. She made a comprehensive presentation about the School entitled, “Education is the Right of Every Child”. She introduced the Principal Ms. Bayan Al-Dakheel and Administrator Prof. Nadir Alam – who is the former Principal of Pakistan International School at Nasiriyah in Riyadh. She also introduced her teachers and other staffs who had lined up for this reception.

In her presentation Mrs. Reem mentioned that her School was open to the idea of opening a special section for the Special Children. “To begin with I would request Ms. Asma to arrange for a meeting with all parents whose children would be prospecting students at this special section for special children”, Mrs. Reem remarked. She said it was important that we categorize and list such students and make provisions for them at our School accordingly. “It was important to enlist such special children according to their emotional and physical disabilities – and needs – so that appropriate arrangements at the School could be made according to their requirements”, Mrs. Reem mentioned.

Speaking on the occasion Engr. Al-Qurashi assured the parents with his utmost cooperation in this regards. “These children are very dear to me and I would go to any length to extend help”, Al-Qurashi assured amidst appreciations from the parents.

Mrs. Asma Tariq was then invited to give her presentation about her research on this issue vis-à-vis the problems faced by the Pakistani parents of these special children. She briefed about her recent meeting with DHM Khayyam Akbar which she termed as very fruitful and encouraging.

Earlier on Prof. Nadir Alam speaking on the occasion mentioned that Bright Future International School was located at a very convenient location in the Mohammadia District of Riyadh. “It is an International School and has students from all nationalities – including Saudis. It has 28 spacious classrooms, neat and clean environment – both inside and outside the School – and good lot of teachers also”, Prof Nadir informed. “Right now this School has a license for up to Grade-3 classes however it would be expanded for higher classes in future”, Prof. Nadir mentioned.

During the question-answer-session, a passionate mother of a special child – Mrs. Uzma – narrated her experiences with her special child who happened to be her eldest child – a daughter of 9 years. “Each morning when my younger normal child prepares to go to School this special child of mine also puts on her uniform, grabs a school bag and demands that she be sent to School also. “At this moment I have no option but to cry in utter frustration & desperation that I am not able to send my child to School as there is no School to send to”, She informed with visible tears in her eyes. Another parent of a special child – Dr. Owais Chughtai – narrated his own problems. He mentioned that he has a special child who is mildly autistic. He wanted to send him to School but he is helpless as there is nowhere to send to.”I have run from pillar to post but without any success. I went to Embassy of Pakistan to seek help in this regards and now when I have come in this School at least I have a ray of hope that my child would be able to go to School”, Owais commented with an emotional touch. He also thanked Engr. Al-Qurashi, Mrs. Reem and Mrs. Asma for their help and cooperation in this regards.

This press conference was attended by Mr. Waseem Hayat Bajwa – Commercial Attaché at the Embassy of Pakistan and by a host lot Pakistani journalists and reporters representing various print and electronic media namely. Shahjahan Sherazi, Liaqat Anjum, HM Fayyaz, Akram Fazal, and Waqar Nasim Wamiq. It was also attended by Dr. Mansour Memon, Dr Erum Qalbani, Ambreen Faiz and other noted social workers and writers from Riyadh.

Press conference concluded with a sumptuous dinner for the guests.

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