Sharjah: The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian charity dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, is to establish a large secondary school for students with hearing impairment in the West Bank, Palestine.
TBHF aims to help those with hearing disabilities improve their academic performance through the provision of specialist educational facilities that cater to their personal and academic requirements.
An agreement was signed recently at the headquarters of the Municipality of Qalqilya to construct the school at a total cost of $2.5 million (Dh9.18 million).
The initiative comes as part of TBHF’s efforts to support the Palestinian people.
Located in the strategic northern West Bank city of Qalqilya, The Big Heart School will be administered in partnership with Welfare Association, said to be Palestine’s largest non-profit organisation. Serving as a meeting point between all Palestinian cities, Qalqilya will facilitate access to 45,000 students of different age groups with hearing difficulties in the West Bank.
The school project, extending across an area of 2,000 square metres, will include a high school and a dormitory designed to serve students five to 18 years of age from all Palestinian cities and governorates.
The school will include all facilities necessary for education, care and rehabilitation for its students and will be fully equipped “in accordance with the highest technical standards and educational requirements”, TBHF said.
Mariam Al Hammadi, director of TBHF, said: “Inspired by the vision of [Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi], wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of TBHF, we seek to implement projects that have a sustainable impact and which contribute meaningfully to community development and empowerment. This project is one of the most important initiatives that we are implementing in Palestine as it addresses important gaps and needs of children with hearing impairment and provides them with an education that matches that of their hearing peers.”
Dr Tafeeda Jarbawi, director-general of the Welfare Association, expressed her appreciation to TBHF for its support and funding of the school, which will comprise five floors featuring 16 to 18 classrooms, a library, computer rooms, dormitories for male and female students, a section to provide examinations, and therapy for students with expressive and receptive language difficulties.
Set for completion within two years, the Big Heart School will help tackle the low literacy rate among deaf students in the Palestinian community. There are currently 12 schools containing 700 male and female students with hearing loss in the West Bank. Affiliated to civil organisations, these provide education up until grade eight only.