Egypt to open first public school for children with disabilities

Reem Leila, Saturday 25 Dec 2010

Pioneering school is the first step in meeting the rights and integration of people with disabilities as parliament prepares to discuss draft law on the matter

Under the banner of “Let’s draw a smile”, the ministries of Family and Population, and Social Solidarity marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The celebration held at the premices of the ministry of state of Family and Population, was attended by 200 disabled children along with their parents, and NGOs working with disabled children.

During the event, Moushira Khattab, minister for family and population, announced that Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif had approved the draft law of people with special needs on its way to being put before the People’s Assembly for approval.

“Minister of Finance Youssef Botrous Ghali has also agreed on creating a new fund to finance different activities and projects required for disabled people,” added Khattab.

Khattab said all citizens are under a moral obligation to assist people with disabilities, going as far as to ask attendees to identify such persons in their respective areas so that they may benefit from welfare schemes.

Stressing the need to hone and utilise the talents of the disabled, Khattab said that most disabled people are born with sharp wits and a sharp mind. Accordingly, she added, there should be special efforts dedicated to invest in and benefit from their disparate abilities.

One such initiative that was announced during the day is the creation of Egypt’s first school for people with special needs. The school will be run by the Ministry of State for Family and Population.

In an attempt to help people with special needs a hotline (08008886666) was created in 2005. This is in addition to the hotline 16000 set up three years ago which has benefitted more than 16,000 handicapped children.

According to recent statistics issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), there are 951,152 disabled people in Egypt, nearly a third of who are male.

At the end of the event, Khattab signed a protocol of agreement with Al-Orman and Wayana NGOs to establish 200 kiosks costing LE2 million to help parents of disabled children.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, held on 3 December, was initiated by the UN General Assembly’s designation of 1981 as the International Year for Disabled Persons. The day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and the benefits of their integration in every aspect of their community’s life.

The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

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