In 2003, four families joined together to start a support group for their loved ones with special needs. The support group offered each family a sense of community. But as their support group gained more and more families and their relatives with special needs grew older, they faced a dilemma.
Any special needs centre that their families were involved with did not accommodate older members.
“After the ages of about 15 to 20 years, many children with special needs had to leave the [special needs] centre they were with after they graduate,” Safia Bari, one of the original members of the support group, said.
She said: “There was a big question mark now. What does one do?”
Reaching that crossroad was the moment when Bari, with the help of her friends, decided to create a centre that focused specifically on older individuals with special needs.
“In 2007, we started with one apartment and had five children as members. Now, we have an entire centre with 38 students,” Bari, who is now the Director of Special Needs Future (SNF) Development Centre, said.
One of the main focuses of the SNF Development Centre is to give vocational training to people with special needs, which will help them develop their skills, find jobs and stabilise their future. The SNF Development Centre provides therapy and facilities to help with vocational, speech and special education.
In order to continue supporting young adults with special needs, the SNF Development Centre holds a fundraiser every year, which is the SNF Fun Bazaar. This event not only helps the centre grow, but also helps raise awareness about individuals with special needs in society.
The SNF Fun Bazaar will be held tomorrow [November 9] from 10am to 9pm. The day-long event is filled with a variety of activities such as face-painting, magic shows, henna, a stand-up comedy act, a fashion show, and bike rides.
Bari said: “People’s participation will be beneficial for the centre. One of the highlights is the fashion show, which individuals with special needs will participate in. Children will also be able to take rides on the motorcycles.”
Along with these activities, visitors can also shop at the bazaar for all kinds of items. “Entrance is free. People have donated all kinds of products to the bazaar, which you can buy. On the day of the event, you can come and shop for electronics and try the raffle draw and games.”
Other than visiting the bazaar and showing support, Bari said that people are always welcome to volunteer. She said: “This year we have 251 volunteers helping us with the bazaar, but we always need volunteers at the centre. They can come and see what we do and register to be a volunteer.”
For people interested in volunteering and looking for a suitable time, Bari recommends weekend volunteering. She said: “We have a plan where people can come and help out on Saturdays for three hours.”
For more information, kindly contact 04 3376759 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the Facebook page ‘SNF Development Center’ or visit the website www.snfgroup.com.