I may have mentioned in my blog that I have been volunteering at Down Syndrome school here in Riyadh. We had a meeting a few days ago discussing the plans for the next year and the money we are hoping to raise, as it’s a non-profit organization, and what we plan to do with it and even though I am relatively new to the school I am so proud of what they have done and what they plan to do I had to share it with you all.
The School was born out of the need of a mother, Ericka Koffroth Sabban, who married a Saudi man and moved to Riyadh. Ericka could not find any early intervention services for her young daughter who was born with Down Syndrome. She reached out to the Al-Nahda philanthropic society for women to help her establish a place that would provide these services for her daughter and other children in Riyadh who needed it.
It started as a small preschool with a grand total of 4 students in 1987. 10 years later it had expanded to offer services and education to children from birth to the age of 21.
The school had a lot of support from international leading experts and programs from day one. Video tapes were made and sent over with training guides for the teachers, experts and consultants would visit and contribute to the program, training, curriculum.
The methods gained and developed by the school were state of the art. It was the first school of it’s kind and continues to be a leader in it’s field and unique in it’s ability to cater to the individual needs of the children and to carry them from birth to adulthood. Not only did the school provide educational services to it’s student but it also provided counseling, support and training for parents and caregivers as well.
In 2010, with 150 students and 900 more on the waiting list, it was evident that it was time for AlNahda Down Syndrome School to become an independent entity onto it’s self in order to achieve it’s full potential and accommodate the growing need for programs like this one in the Kingdom. In January of that year, Saut: the voice of down syndrome society was born.
The vision and mission of the society is to provide state of the art services to all children with down syndrome and their families in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. How? by opening a center of excellence in Riyadh and expanding the school to accommodate 300 students. Then to establish 5 other schools around Saudi Arabia as well as satellite offices that offer support and training to parents and educational teams in existing programs.
“The society envisions a future where the needs of every child with Down Syndrome in Saudi Arabia are met with world class, individually tailored provision; a future where children and adults with Down Syndrome are integrated into society and respected as active, productive and valued members of the community.”
If you are able to support us by donating please click on this link for details. It’s even as easy as sending a text message from within the Kingdom with the number “1” in it to 5053 to donate 12 SR monthly or a blank text for a one of donation of 10 SR. We also appreciate any volunteers who would like to donate their time or services either in the upcoming fundraising events or items that are relevant to the school.
I’ve included an episode of the popular show here is Saudi called “Khawatir Shaab” that aired last Ramathan in which the host Ahmad Al Shugairi visited the school. I apologize for those of you who don’t speak Arabic and I will try and see if I can get some subtitles!
I’m sorry my comment has nothing to do with this post! But, I just recently discovered your blog – very randomly – and have spent quite a few days enjoying it. We’re the same age, but very different in everything else: I’m single, no kids, live in the US. But, I really love your blog. It’s very entertaining, interesting, and funny. I lived in Dubai for 4 years, and traveled around quite a bit, but never to your country (though not for lack of wanting!) Your writing is quick witted and graceful. If you ever wrote a book, I’d definitely buy it. :-) Anyway, I didn’t want to just lurk, so I thought I’d say how much I enjoyed reading your posts.
Hi Kate, Thank you for your comment! It means a lot to me when I hear things like this. I started blogging for fun but it’s nice when I know people are having as much fun reading what I write as I am having writing it! I always look at people from other countries of cultures who are my age and think how different our lives are
Mashallaah! I haven’t even heard about this school.. it looks like a wonderful organization! Will send an sms enshallah.. and thank you for sharing it with your readers! Haven’t been on my blog in ages.. and noticed u hate a new post… made me ultra happy :D
Yallah your turn to post now!
hey All,is really sad seeing now a days how many kids aumenting with the down syndrom and autism ,it’s so shocking! i have friend who is very well known alternative medicine ,also MD but chost this method of medicine now and has helped children with Autism to recover ! I wish that alternative medicine had ground in SA ! Toxic medicines are so bad for health and cause all this side effects we don’t even know about!unfortunatelly this kids have no other choice ! No alternative medicine allowed in the kingdom! Mina ( new expat to Riyadh)
Hello, we have a lot of alternative medicine here is Saudi. It is a huge huge huge part of our culture. I have never been given medication for colds or sore teeth or bruises its all natural things my grandmother gave me. We also have medicines and remedies we learned from the prophet pbuh. You must be very new to no hav come across this yet. I know of a couple of doctors who also studied alternative medicine. Most of the bedouins use natural remedied before resorting to going to doctors, sometimes to a fault.
Hello Mama B
This information regarding the foundation for Children with Down’s is new to me. I am presently teaching Pediatrics at the College of Nursing, King Abdul-Aziz University for Health Sciences here in Riyadh. As you likely know, there are many children with Down’s syndrome in the hospital …and now I am very happy to share this information through my Saudi students to the families who may be interested.
YOU may be interested to know that the University is offering a 250,000 SAR Prize for the organization (National and International) who has done the most for people with disabilities. This may be a chance for you to showcase the work you have been doing, and possibly win this prize.
Tell me how I can forward you the email we just received through National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) with all of the details of this prestigious award….and GOOD LUCK.
Thanks for all you do
Dear Mary Jo,
Thank you so much for your reply! And for your suggestion that we apply for this prize it sounds great! Please do pass on the information to any families you know who are not finding support. As I said the waiting list is huge but we have other ways of helping through training and providing the right start when we can for these children.
Please send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass it on to the school.
Again, thank you very much!
I know this comment comes late but i just saw this post and although i do note understand arabic this video melted my heart subhanallah. Those children are soooooo beautiful and it just makes me so happy that places such as saudi are starting to cater more and more to children in need. I love it when they took them on an excursion to the mall. Allah make it easy for all those trying to help this organisation and to make it even more successful so that many more children can benefit Ameen.
Kindly help me, my daughter is 6 years old. I am Pakistani. please some help us to get school for her. my cell number is 0535027961. appreciate if someone help me in this regards.
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