What puts a smile of satisfaction beyond words on her face is the sight of children with special abilities playing and interacting with normal kids. The smile will be wider, permanent and more infectious when her dream of their full integration into society and mainstream jobs becomes reality one day.
Until then it’s going to be unrelenting work, including meeting public and private sector officials towards raising resources through charity events to fund the activities aimed at providing facilities and opportunities for these children to develop their abilities to make them ready for the big day.
The love and compassion Her Highness Sayyida Hujaija Al Said has for the kids at the Association for the Welfare of Handicapped Children is heartwarming. “The love of these children is pure and that really touches my heart. They are filled with joy and show their love without holding back. Being around them gives me a lot of happiness,” says HH Sayyida Hujaija.
She has been working relentlessly to raise the profile of the NGO and integrate specially abled children into society and into mainstream jobs when the time comes. The association was established in 1996 by Royal Decree but has been functioning since 1991. It has 11 centres spread across the Sultanate, tending to diverse academic, physical, social and emotional needs of 450 children aged between 5 and 14.
As an NGO, the association depends on contributions from public and private sectors for its day-to-day requirements. HH Sayyida Hujaija has organised various charity events and activities to raise funds for the association, actively involving in the affairs of the association and without hesitation to help with any requirements.
“I love what I do. I am blessed to have a very supportive husband. Without his support I wouldn’t be able to do all that I am doing. My role in the association does not fall into the 9-5 bracket. As volunteers we work round the clock and having the right support system is very important,” HH Sayyida Hujaija points out.
The pandemic has derailed the work being done by the association with daily classes being halted. “Our children are not able to receive their required sessions by the teachers and it is impossible to conduct classes for the children online. They miss their teachers and peers,” says HH Sayyida Hujaija. The association is preparing to conduct one-on-one sessions with the children very soon.
One of the goals of HH Sayyida Hujaija is to integrate children with disabilities into society and remove social prejudice. “We host events and activities where children with disabilities get to interact with normal children. It’s heartening to see how they all play together and spend time with each other,” says HH Sayyida Hujaija.
A staunch advocate of integration of children with disability into mainstream arenas, be that events or carnivals, HH Sayyida Hujaija hopes to see more families bring their children with special needs out into society and interact with others.
Among the facilities required for children with special needs is vocational training. She has met various organisations in the Sultanate to facilitate this and hopes to see some positive changes soon.
“I want the kids to benefit from society and vice versa. They have the potential to be productive and be integrated into the community.”HH Sayyida Hujaija Jaifer Al Said
On the occasion of the 50th National Day of Oman, HH Sayyida Hujaija says: “I am proud to be Omani. As a woman, I am proud of the achievements of Omani women who hold so many important posts and how far we have come. This has also been possible thanks to the support we have received from the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and now His Majesty Sultan Haitham.”