Abu Dhabi: The Special Care Centre (SCC), which runs a school in Abu Dhabi for children with special needs, is organising a gala dinner to raise funds for a new campus that will benefit more than 400 students.

The centre currently provides education and therapy services to 70 students from 16 different nationalities. Having outgrown its present location and with a large waiting list, the centre plans to construct new premises that will serve students with special needs.

Participants will donate Dh500 each for this year's Our World Unites for Charity gala dinner on April 29 at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

The centre takes care of students with conditions such as autism, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder and autism, Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, hearing impairment and developmental disorders.

Last year's gala dinner raised Dh600,000 which went into the making of five million bricks required for the new premises. Several fund-raising initiatives have been planned under the umbrella of Donate a Brick campaign, which was launched on May 2008 to help build the new campus in Al Bahiya. The centre has collected Dh9 million and plans to raise Dh16 million more.

"We would like to start the building process very soon; the faster we complete the project the sooner we can provide opportunities to those on the waiting list, many of whom are home- schooled at the moment. The community as a whole has been very supportive of the donate a brick campaign," said Reem Al Fahim, who was only 14 when she realised that helping physically challenged children was what she wanted to do.

According to Reem, the new premises is expected to offer students individualised educational, transitional and vocational programmes.

Among the facilities will be clinic cluster, professional development centre, early intervention unit, vocational unit, health and fitness unit, community lounge, food court, auditorium, and outdoor area.

"This year's gala dinner is going to be a great night out for members of the community. It's a chance to have fun and support a worthwhile cause at the same time. There will be several live musical performances, a four-course meal, dancing and auctions. Many businesses are donating free trips, hotel stays, dinner, UAE-based clothing designers are contributing items for the silent auction," she said.

Charity: Designer dresses on sale

A table for ten at the Special Care Centre gala dinner will cost Dh4,500 while individual tickets are priced at Dh500.

This year, the dinner theme is based on UAE businessmen and designers. Upcoming designers are donating unique pieces of clothing (including abayas) and accessories (including handbags and jewellery) to be sold as part of the live and silent auctions during the gala dinner. Businesses are offering packages and gifts that are not available for purchase.

For sponsorships, table bookings, or individual ticket purchase, contact Barbara Peacock on 055-444-8123 or e-mail sccgaladinner@yahoo.com