Abu Dhabi: The Zayed Higher Organization (ZHO) for Humanitarian Care, Special Needs and Minors Affairs has given out certificates of appreciation to 11 orphans and 24 special needs students while announcing their strategic plan for 2008 to 2010.

The ZHO currently has managed to enroll a total of 26 special need students in the last two years across government schools in the UAE and make sure close monitoring and follow up takes by specially trained educators.

Some of the services special needs students are currently offered at ZHO include vocational training, education and qualification services; management and investment of minor funds; social and psychological care; evaluation services, early intervention, physiotherapy, functional therapy; social and psychological care and total care for orphans.

“We have gone very far in servicing children with special needs across the UAE. Now they have their own curriculum and can depend on themselves in a lot of ways, classes have been re-organized to service them in the most comfortable possible way, which was not the case 30 years ago,'' said Mohamed Al Hameli, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Secretary General, ZHO.

Various special needs students, parents, family members, delegates and ministers were present at a meeting held Wednesday evening at the Intercontinental Hotel regarding ZHO's strategy plan and a discussion about benefiting people with special needs across the UAE.

It was also announced that ZHO will increase it's services to children with special needs in Delma and the Western Region, where physiotherapy and various workshops for mentally disabled youth will be available.

“We are here today to document the services, activities, and initiatives which ZHO will provide, according to the best international practices in the field, to serve these categories and to satisfy their aspirations and hopes,'' said Al Hameli.

Strategy Plan for 2008 to 2012

- Expand special needs services all over the Emirate of Abu Dhabi at a rate of 10 per cent annually.

- Apply 85 per cent of the appropriate international practices in the field of social, educational and rehabilitation care services

- Provide a five per cent rate in job opportunities for beneficiaries and another five per cent rate for minors, orphans and people with special needs.

- Provide public education for people with special needs at a rate of five per cent

- Organize annual international and regional championships for people with special needs

- Introduce mathematics and science in English Language in the curricular

- Encourage trips across the UAE for students at a rate of 10 trips per year

- Achieve seven per cent annual returns on minors funds investment

- Increase by 20 per cent annually volunteer work from the public in various ZHO services