Saudi Gazette – A large group of eager children from Jeddah’s Help Center with their families gathered on Thursday to take part in a fun day hosted by the Help Center (Al Aoun).

The activity was to mark 30th anniversary of the Help Center, which was established in 1985 by the late Sheikh Ahmad Al-Juffali dedicated to the welfare of people with intellectual disabilities.

The children with their extended families were able to enjoy themselves a fun-filled day with exciting games, drama, sports and other entertaining activities.

Through fun activities inside the main building and at the playground of Help Center, the children enjoyed themselves and learned through games and entertaining activities.

Besides, a stage show was organized in which various show and special appearance of Iftah Ya Simsim’s characters.

As part of its 30th anniversary campaign, the Help Center, chose six words that are deeply rooted in its mission: Equality, Awareness, Rehabilitation, Daring, Loving and Sharing.

“This festivity has served as an affirmation of the Help Center’s board and employees dedication and commitment to severing and insuring that every person with intellectual disability has the right to equality,” said Maha Al-Juffali, director of Help Center.

In November 1985, the Help Center opened its doors as a pilot project, with three volunteer therapists providing therapeutic services to three children with varying disabilities.

“Looking back I believe our naivety was the secret of our success; we never even considered failing. We were on a mission and that has what propelled us to move forward,” said Al-Juffali.

The mission, as Al-Juffali explained, was to improve attitudes, inform and educate the community that individuals with intellectual disabilities have the right to be fully embraced and actively partake in all aspects of society.

“The early small steps, the failures, the brick walls, the crumpled up and binned pieces of paper with ideas on them, are seemingly insignificant moments that when they come together, the real lessons are actually found. That’s how, the foundation was born, things changed dramatically,” she said.

“We live in extraordinary times. This is a time of great prosperity. It’s also a time of great need. As a nonprofit, the Help Center’s board of trustees and its Medical Advisory Council (MAC) believes it is an obligation to give back,” she said.

“We must stop, look around and when we see a problem, do whatever is in our power to try to solve it. Thirty years on, the Help Center is a demonstration of possibility, showing that with passion, commitment and sound management practices, fundamental changes can be made to both the lives of individuals and to wider society,” Al-Juffali said.

“Looking back we can summarize our last 30 years in four words: From 0 to 10th year, we focused on research, 10-20 years the focus was on implementation, including raising awareness, 20-30 years was for expansion and from 30th year onward the focus would be on documentation and innovation,” she said.

Sponsors of the festivity were Gandour Factories, Qaderoon, CPC’s Binaa Wa Aamal, Siemens, Effat University, Jeddah Municipality, McDonalds, Samco, Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Munch, Nestle, Jeddah Institute for Speech and Hearing, Abjad Center, Gulf Disability Society.

“We are thankful to private sector companies and charity organizations for supporting our activities through the celebration,” said Al-Juffali.
“Hence the celebrations do not stop on the day, they will continue for a full year as we will be launching six campaigns: The Dream, One Is Capable, I Want To Be Heard, I Support, Come Cook With Me and Come Design With Me.”


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