The genesis of Manzil was a non-profit support group called ‘Special Families Support’ which was started by our Director Dr Ayesha Husaini on 9th December, 1999. The group grew to over 200 members and is one of GCC’s oldest non-profit groups focusing on social inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
The support group blossomed into “Manzil”, a non-profit Center that was officially inaugurated on February 7th 2005 by Sheikha Jameela Mohammed Al Qasimi, Director General, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. Meaning “Destination” in Urdu or “Home” in Arabic, Manzil caters to 42 students with cognitive disabilities (from 4 years onwards) with a staff of 27 making it a highly qualitative center with a significantly low student to staff ratio. The average experience of our teaching staff in the disability arena is over 13 years.
The organization is now spreading its wings further and is crossing international borders, doing inclusion research & consultancy and is also involved as an intellectual partner with Governmental entities.
I have personally interacted with the parents of some of the students and was touched by the joy I saw in the eyes of the parents at seeing their children step up with pride to find their place in mainstream society. Financial transparency has always been a focus in this organization, and I am happy to state that Manzil has always had a very good history in this regard.
Manzil’s commitment to improving the lives of persons with developmental disabilities was also evident in talking with the young adults in the transition-to-work class. The students were well mannered, had good functional communication skills and displayed a genuine interest in their peers and others though each student had been adequately prepared to make a contribution to society. And, since that is the ultimate outcome, I don’t think there is any greater testament to the work being done at the school.
The Family friendly atmosphere, coupled with well-developed and comprehensive curriculum provides the pupils of Manzil an outstanding environment in which to thrive.
The Director Dr. Ayesha S. Husaini, the senior management and staff of Manzil care about their student’s holistic development and have been eager and extremely supportive in participating in our pilot projects with best buddies since March, 2008 and Partial Integration since October, 2008.These are two programs many of us at The Millennium School, Dubai are extremely proud of.
We were fortunate that Manzil for specially abled children was started off in 2005; Sacha Randive my only child who has Down Syndrome was the first batch that joined Manzil. In her time with the dedication of teachers and entire school staff, Sacha was able to learn social skills to assist her in the workplace, manage her time effectively, know how to deal with people in authority and to be respectful, still having her own perspective on issues. Bold and yet working with the parameters of an organization. Hats off to Manzil and Thank you!