With the problems of curricula and infrastructures faced by the educational institutions, they are still indifferent to certain categories of society, especially the children of special needs who suffer in addition to their disability they are ignored by the educational institutions, prompting the General Secretary of the Al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine to take upon itself the task of educating and upbringing these children on the correct educational, social and religious foundations, by opening the Al-Kafeel Institute for Special needs in the neighbourhood of Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) to take care of them for free.
And to look closely at the Al-Kafeel Institute for Special Needs of the General Secretariat of the Al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine, Al-Kafeel Network has done a field tour in this institute, to know its aims and objectives and the children it receives. So we have met with the teacher Sarah Hassan Al-Haffar; The Institute Director to speak about this edifice, and she said: "Those of special needs are the children who have minor disability and are subject to learning, and this handicap is either mental affecting their intelligence level or they have down syndrome, or have severe psychological conditions such as the voluntary silence or depression or the children who have difficulties in speaking or those with hearing aid (ITE in the ear), or the children with not severe autism. First the children are diagnosed by the medical committees in the medical department of Karbala and then they are referred by it to the Institute as there is no other institute in the holy city of Karbala."
She added: "Both girls and boys are accepted, from (6 to 15 years old for the girls, and from 6 to 12 years old for the boys -after the specialist doctor diagnosis proving the case- to specify its ability to learn, by passing a test to the student under the supervision of the competent doctor for a certain period at the institute, the evaluation of the teachers and researchers to ensure his/her ability to learn and the possibility of the institute in providing the necessary assistance, then his/her admission to the institute is determined."
She also stated: "The curriculum are in form of six study levels, the lessons are given in form of pictures that enable the student to learn visually and easily, as for example Arabic lesson is in form of clips of images and letters, mathematics in form of numbers and simple mathematical operations, sciences to teach the matters related to the environment, and moral and Islamic lessons to teach short chapters of Quran and some holy hadiths, in addition to recreational classes such as sports, workshops of useful handy art works, all of which are performed in various specialized halls and laboratories equipped with modern teaching means, and with the use of smart interactive boards making the student progress in his learning. And today the Institute embraces currently 70 students after that it started only by 20 in the year 2009. Each student is subject of a follow-up throughout the year to determine his rehabilitation level and his progress during this period, upon which it is determined whether he/she is eligible or not to join regular schools."
He continued: "The Institute runs in an educational administrative system from 8 am until 1 pm, using the transport of the Al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine, as well as organizing recreational trips to the holy shrines and sanctuaries and parks inside and outside the province. The Institute has recorded more than a positive case that improved to the normal regular level."
As for the psychological and educational services provided to the students of special needs in the institute and how to develop them, Mrs Al-Haffar explained: "The mental disable person is a child who cannot adapt himself with others and in the institute there is a comprehensive care through which the child is merged with others by creating the appropriate ways to make encourage him to adapt."
She concluded: "The work in the Al-Kafeel Institute progress rapidly in providing the special services such as care and attention to this underserved segment of the society free of charge, without the any support from the state even if is one of the institutes that have humanitarian implications associated to the teaching. And the hope and confidence of the general secretariat of the Al-Abbas's (p) holy shrine in its staff remains and represents the incentive for a work that it will reap its fruits in the near future."