Seminar sets disabled Saudi youth on path to work

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SOURCE: Arab News

Time: March 28, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi youth with disabilities were challenged to “Start the Impossible” and fulfil their job potential at a workshop for people with special needs. The workshop in the Abdul Latif Jameel Hospital hall on Monday provided activities and information to help participants recognize their abilities and smooth their path into employment.
The Saudi Abdul Latif Jameel corporation has signed a partnership agreement with the Sa’ee program to employ Saudi youth with special needs and contribute to community development. Sa’ee is a non-profit initiative established this year to find job opportunities and provide training for disabled people.
“We provide psychological support and legal services to help people with special needs blend effectively into the community,” Sa’ee’s founder, Marzoog Al-Otaibi, said.
One workshop participant, Mariam Al-Sulami, 26, told Arab News that cerebral palsy — a movement disorder that appears during childhood — meant she had been unable to attend school every day.
“I had to have surgery 13 times to be able to walk,” she said. “Every summer vacation I had to have an operation on my legs and I would spend six months of the year with my legs in a cast.
“But I was determined to continue my studies — nothing could stop me.”
Al-Sulami earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and for the past two years has worked as a certified technical and vocational trainer. “I was among the best female students in the city and I received a scholarship to Batterjee Medical College in Jeddah,” she said.
“I was dreaming of studying medicine and becoming a doctor or pharmacist because my GPA in high school was excellent and qualifies me easily to join any medicine school. But when I applied they could not take me into consideration as my appearance is ‘medically unfit,’ so I decided to pursue business administration,” Al-Sulami said.
President of the Physiotherapy Association in Jeddah, Heba Felimban, said: “We are trying to show the community that physiotherapy is one of the best ways to help people get over their disability and live their everyday lives normally, depending fully on themselves.”
Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel’s car division, Rowaid Al-Sawwaf, said: “We want to provide people with safe transport in accordance with the support the government is giving to help people with special needs overcome any obstacles they face.

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