Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs is a non-profit organization which falls under the Ministry of Social Affairs. Established in 1981, Al Noor has been provided high quality professional training to the special needs community in Dubai for over 30 years. Starting with only 8 children the Centre has since expanded to facilitate and enrich the lives of up to 300 children and young people from different nationalities who have various physical and cognitive challenges such as Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism. The new all-purpose facility from which Al Noor now operates opened its doors in April 2007 and was generously donated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai and was made possible through the benefaction of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. Al Noor’s mission is to provide these individuals, regardless of their special needs or background, the same opportunity through professional training and care to realize their potential and integrate into the wider community and mainstream society. Al Noor follows a holistic programme addressing all domains of development through a trans disciplinary assessment and intervention approach, all delivered at an ISO certified standard. In addition to teaching, the level of development is enhanced with Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Psychological services, Sports and Music. Al Noor also prides itself on an exceptionally effective work placement unit that trains its students with a capability for open employment, integrating them into mainstream society post education. Many past students also play a huge part in the center’s very own vocational training units that incorporate carpentry, sewing, baking and screen printing. These past students are hired on a salaried basis to help in running these units as well as training the existing students to produce items that are then sold to further aid the fundraising activity. Being a nonprofit and subsidised entity, Al Noor is on a continuous striving to promote their fundraising strategies in order to maintain the exceptional level of services it offers to each and every individual enrolled at the center. Fundraising at the center comes from many sources, including annual centre events, the private and corporate hire of its state-of-the-art premises.
A particular star of the Al Noor’s fundraising achievements is the center’s very own and coffee shop, Smiles ‘n’ Stuff which helps to raise awareness and funds for the training centre. It is the only one of its kind in the GCC where all the products are handcrafted by children and young people with special needs enrolled at Al Noor. The goal of Al Noor’s vocational training unit is to make children skilled and productive members of the community and training is offered in carpentry, screen printing, sewing and bakery units.
Mohamed Salim Allawi