Charity Calls

Charity calls
Nicola Shipway, June 25, 2008


Sami suffers from mirror dyslexia and a depressive condition called bipolar disorder. Before he joined the Creative Learning Center last autumn, Sami had nowhere to go, having been expelled from school after school. But a year at the centre has worked wonders. Today, Sami, aged 14, is able to multiply and read books for fifth graders (a year ago he could hardly read or write).

Another pupil, Hamid, who is autistic, has also come on leaps and bounds, and is now able to sit still for ten or 15 minutes where once he couldn’t manage longer than two seconds. The Creative Learning Center has improved the quality of these boys’ lives; suddenly their future looks better than before, though it might not remain so – if the centre fails to find funds, it may be forced to close.

Education in place of prejudice “The thing is that there is no place for these children if we have to close,” says Kawthar al Hadhrami, chief executive manager of the centre, which provides special education for children with special needs. “We need someone to step up and say, we’ll pay the fees for these many children. We were hoping to be able to rely on donations. We are asking for them now.”

Since the centre opened last year, donations and volunteers have been elusive, which possibly reflects society’s tendency to discriminate against children with special needs. During her association with the centre, Kawthar has encountered vehement prejudice. “I’ve had people ring and make, ‘These children are better off dead’ kinds of comments.”

The centre: what it does The Creative Learning Center teaches children aged four to 21 with Down’s syndrome, autism and other learning difficulties. The first such privately owned centre in the sultanate, it opened on November 10, 2007, and has since provided a service that is unavailable elsewhere.

To date this admirable venture has encountered just one problem – a lack of funds. Without an injection of cash it may soon have to close, thereby shutting out children who have nowhere else to go. Kawthar’s motivation to set up the centre came in part from her own son, who has special needs. “There was nothing here for him,” she said, nor for other children like him – many of the pupils now enrolled were formerly restricted to staying at home. The centre allows them to interact with other people.

Teaching varies according to the needs of each child; young autistic children for instance need to be taught basic skills (how to eat and sit still and so on); whereas other pupils might be taught to read and write. Some may be eligible to study for a high school diploma – the Creative Learning Center is affiliated to an umbrella institution high school in the US.

Kawthar says that she currently has four pupils aged 20 whom she intends to enrol in the autumn on a high school vocational course. It is important that these men learn to work, she points out, because children cannot depend on their parents once the older generation dies.The centre is also valuable in that it offers parents a form of release.

According to Kawthar, parents of children with special needs are often worn out and suffering from sleep deprivation – the centre effectively gives them a break.

“One Pakistani man brought his child to us and he was crying,” she recalls. His distress was perhaps in part an expression of relief; with a monthly salary of RO120, he is unable to afford the educational fees, but the centre asks him only for half his child’s bus fare.

The problem: fees, wages, volunteers and rent This man’s case is not unique – Kawthar says that last year she had ten children who were not paying and some paid half fees. Herein lies the rub. The Creative Learning Center needs funds to continue to be able to subsidise children whose parents are unable to pay.Kawthar needs volunteers as well, to bolster her 20 members of staff.

Last academic year she had 44 pupils, and at least another 40 are already on the list for next term, which starts on September 13.

“Before this I owned a primary school in Al Hail and we never had a problem getting volunteers there. But a school like this, which finds it harder, thrives and depends on volunteers.”

The centre’s financial situation is dire: one of its three partners took out a loan on his house in order to fund it, and they have now missed two loan repayments. Rent on the villa in which the centre is housed is also pending (it must be paid six months in advance) and the landlord is threatening eviction.

“It’s funny because the mosque in my hometown now wants to do a fundraiser event to help the centre,” says American-born Kawthar, who has lived in Oman for 18 years. “I can get people in the US to organise something to help, but I cannot get people in Oman to help this centre or these children.”

To donate to the Creative Learning Center, call 96635730 or 95307344, or email information@clc-oman.com

Kawthar Al-Hadhrami <hoffie1@gmail.com> wrote:

Salaams,

I have had emails asking about the centers bank details. So i will just put it in one email and send it to everyone, I want to thank everyone that is giving us support… No amout is to small. I found in the account this morning that some ppl donated even 2 rials… well, that was two rials we didn’t have before, so Al-humdulilah for that person that donated that 2 Rials…. it will help with something.

Bank: Bank Muscat
Account name: Creative Learning Center
Account number: 142-40268-0081012
Branch: Al-Khuwair 33
Swift Code: BMVSOMRX
Country: Sultanate of Oman

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: Sat, 5 Jul 2008 02:52:40 -0700
From: “Kawthar Al-Hadhrami” <hoffie1@gmail.com>
Subject: Thanks and support

Assalaam Alaykum,

As most of you already know, I am one of the owners of Creative Learning Center. We are trying to help the children with special needs of Oman. We are taking all special needs children regardless of nationality.

As I have said in previous emails, there are very few resources for these children in Oman. Early Intervention Center is practically the only place that is really doing specialized programs for special needs children. However, they are only taking young learners and have a long waiting list.

I had been going around to parents’ houses to help these children for the last few years. The parents had begged me to open something for their children so that I could help them more. This was the idea that gave birth to Creative Learning Center.

We took children that had Autism, Down Syndrome, mental retardation and Cerebral Palsy (CP). All of these children had either been dismissed from their private or government schools or had been rejected from going to the regular schools all together.

Our aim in opening this center is to help and educated these children. We have gotten loans from banks and asked friends and relatives to give us money to start the center. Many of the children in the center are not paying fees. Out of the 50 children we have we have only 8 that are paying full tuition fees. I could not in my heart turn away families that could not afford the tuition, especially since there is no other option for these families.

There is a child that had been to four schools and every time after attending the school for about a month, the school would call the parents and them to come get their child. The school would expel him from their school. After all of this the mother just left him at home and hired a teacher to teach him. There is nothing drasically wrong with this child, He has a sever case of dyslexia and IQ deficiency (mild mental retardation) and would have been fine in the school system if he had gotten support lessons. The mother had told each school that she enrolled him in the problem with her child; however, the schools did nothing to support the learning needs of this child. This story is not unique; I have many families that have told me the same story, only the child’s name changes.

I really want to do more for these families but am unable to because of lack of funds and funding. These families need a place to put their children. I feel that is very important for these children to have an education and a skill so later in their life they can depend on themselves. What will happen after their parents die and there is no one to take care of these children that will turn into adults? Who will take care of them? Who will support them? Where will they live? These are all very important questions we must ask ourselves. It is so important that these children become self reliant and learn a skill so that they will not become a problem for government or society. We need sponsors for these children.

I feel within me that it is possible for these children to learn and to learn a skill and in some cases even go on to college and earn a diploma. I have seen this myself in the United States. However, they need to be given a chance. Of course, this depends on the degree of their disability. Children with mild to moderate disabilities are more than able to go on with training and function in society. We can train them for many different things. Children with mental retardation are usually very good with their hands. Therefore, they can be trained to repair computers, TV and DVDs etc. They are also good with wood work, so they can be trained to be carpenters. Most of them enjoy cooking, so maybe we can train them to be chefs. These are only a few of the possibilities. However, we have to start while they are still young; once they get older it is more difficult. I want to teach these children to be self-reliant on themselves instead of relying on the government or on handouts for help.

We want these children to get educated and learn a skill; this is important for their future. These children should not be neglected because they have different needs than other children.

Therefore we are asking for help for these children. We want so badly to help, teach them and give them a skill. However, as most of you know we are having difficulty with this project, the main reason is because we let many children go for free or at a very largely discounted rate. But as I said I could not turn these kids away. One of the owners has mortgaged his house in order to keep the center running and now he is in danger of losing his family house. Therefore it is very important for us to get people to sponsor some of the children.

I am asking everyone reading this email to give anything they can afford, no amount is too small. This is important for the future of these children. People within Oman can donate at any Bank Muscat Branch or Cash machine. People outside of Oman can send a wire transfer or pay by credit card. All details are on our website on the donation page at www.clc-om.com

Please help us to make a difference in these children’s lives. Every little amount counts.

Please forward this to others on your email lists and groups.

Thanks you and may God bless you always,

Kawthar Al-Hadhrami
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You Care: Creative Learning Center
Jul 12, 2008 – 12:38 AM – by AlMaawali

This was a story that was published earlier last month in a very popular newspaper but the response that it got as described by Kawthar Al Hathrami; Managing Director of Creative Learning Center (CLC), “We only got two donations and some other people have called and asked us for our bank account number but we didn’t receive anything”.


(Kawthar Al Hathrami)

It is a very sad situation. It is sad how we stopped caring for the needy and stopped thinking about their dreams and their future. It is sad how people with mental diseases are no longer considered human beings and worthy of our time and money. It is sad how people with special needs are not active members of our society. But why?

Some might even argue that people with mental illnesses and retardation are better off, not knowing what is going on around them and nothing to worry about. But are they really? Don’t they have dreams, aspirations and goals?
What about the parents? Parents who have to bare all the hardships of seeing their kids grow against their imagination and behaving in ways that they don’t understand and can not deal with. Don’t the parents deserve the the joy of seeing their kids’ achievements in life? Don’t the parents deserve some time for themselves? It is true that they love their kids but we all deserve a break.
These are question that could all be answered by watching the video and by us holding hands and making this happen one way or another.

I paid a visit to CLC and had a long hard talk with Mrs. Kawthar about this topic and how her center is dieing is debts and hopelessness. We spoke about the issue and the ways that we could all fix them. And it is only with your help that this could ever be done.

Be part of the solution. It really doesn’t take much.
Here is all that you need to start helping out:

To Sponsor a child:

Download and fill this PDF form then send the form in person or to this address:
PO Box 1364
Al-Athabia, Post Code 130
Sultanate of Oman

To send your donations:

Number:
(968)24475055 – (968)95307344

Address:
PO Box 1364
Al-Athabia, Post Code 130
Sultanate of Oman

Bank Information:
Bank: Bank Muscat
Account name: Creative Learning Center
Account number: 142-402680081012
Branch: Al-Khuwair 33
Swift Code: BMVSOMRX.

For more information, visit CLC’s website at www.clc-om.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kawthar kindly requests that you display the below banner on your website and link it to

http://www.clc-om.com/donation.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Kawthar Balushi <hoffie1@gmail.com>
Subject: Creative learning center (special needs center in Oman) needs support
Date: Sunday, October 12, 2008, 6:29 PM

Assalaam Alaykum,

As most of you already know, I am one of the owners of Creative Learning Center. We are trying to help the children with special needs of Oman. We are taking all special needs children regardless of nationality.

As I have said in previous emails, there are very few resources for these children in Oman. Early Intervention Center is practically the only place that is really doing specialized programs for special needs children. However, they are only taking young learners and have a long waiting list.

I had been going around to parents’ houses to help these children for the last few years. The parents had begged me to open something for their children so that I could help them more. This was the idea that gave birth to Creative Learning Center.

We took children that had Autism, Down Syndrome, mental retardation and Cerebral Palsy (CP). All of these children had either been dismissed from their private or government schools or had been rejected from going to the regular schools all together.

Our aim in opening this center is to help and educated these children. We have gotten loans from banks and asked friends and relatives to give us money to start the center.  Many of the children in the center are not paying fees. Out of the 50 children we have we have only 8 that are paying full tuition fees. I could not in my heart turn away families that could not afford the tuition, especially since there is no other option for these families.

There is a child that had been to four schools and every time after attending the school for about a month, the school would call the parents and them to come get their child. The school would expel him from their school. After all of this the mother just left him at home and hired a teacher to teach him. There is nothing drasically wrong with this child, He has a sever case of dyslexia and IQ deficiency (mild mental retardation) and would have been fine in the school system if he had gotten support lessons. The mother had told each school that she enrolled him in the problem with her child; however, the schools did nothing to support the learning needs of this child. This story is not unique; I have many families that have told me the same story, only the child’s name changes.

I really want to do more for these families but am unable to because of lack of funds and funding. These families need a place to put their children. I feel that is very important for these children to have an education and a skill so later in their life they can depend on themselves. What will happen after their parents die and there is no one to take care of these children that will turn into adults? Who will take care of them? Who will support them? Where will they live? These are all very important questions we must ask ourselves. It is so important that these children become self reliant and learn a skill so that they will not become a problem for government or society. We need sponsors for these children.

I feel within me that it is possible for these children to learn and to learn a skill and in some cases even go on to college and earn a diploma. I have seen this myself in the United States.  However, they need to be given a chance. Of course, this depends on the degree of their disability. Children with mild to moderate disabilities are more than able to go on with training and function in society. We can train them for many different things. Children with mental retardation are usually very good with their hands. Therefore, they can be trained to repair computers, TV and DVDs etc. They are also good with wood work, so they can be trained to be carpenters. Most of them enjoy cooking, so maybe we can train them to be chefs. These are only a few of the possibilities. However, we have to start while they are still young; once they get older it is more difficult. I want to teach these children to be self-reliant on themselves instead of relying on the government or on handouts for help.

We want these children to get educated and learn a skill; this is important for their future. These children should not be neglected because they have different needs than other children.

Therefore we are asking for help for these children. We want so badly to help, teach them and give them a skill. However, as most of you know we are having difficulty with this project, the main reason is because we let many children go for free or at a very largely discounted rate. But as I said I could not turn these kids away. One of the owners has mortgaged his house in order to keep the center running and now he is in danger of losing his family house. Therefore it is very important for us to get people to sponsor some of the children.

If everyone reading this email would only give 10-15 RO, it would make a big difference to a life of a child.

I am asking everyone reading this email to give anything they can afford, no amount is too small. This is important for the future of these children.  People within Oman can donate at any Bank Muscat Branch or Cash machine. People outside of Oman can send a wire transfer or pay by credit card. All details are on our website on the donation page at http://www.clc-om.com
Please help us to make a difference in these children’s lives. Every little amount counts.

Please forward this to others on your email lists and groups.

Thanks you
May God bless you always,

Kawthar Al-Hadhrami

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TG

Family historian of Broussard, Gregory, Sledge and Williams family tree

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