Muscat – The Ministry of Social Development is putting concerted efforts into the betterment and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities through 79 centres spread across the sultanate. In order to provide better outdoor facilities for persons with disabilities, it will soon develop a part of Azaiba beach.

Addressing Majlis A’Shura on Monday, H E Dr Laila Ahmed al Najjar, Minister of Social Development, said, “The ministry, in cooperation with the private sector, will implement a project to prepare Azaiba beach for persons with disabilities.”

She informed that the National Autism Centre in Muscat and the autism centres in Sur and Salalah will be operational next year. The ministry is also continuing work to complete the maintenance and development of the building of the Al Wafa Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities in the wilayat of Ibri.

About family and community development, H E Dr Laila said, “The ministry seeks to empower Omani women economically, politically and socially and to enhance their rights guaranteed by the Basic Law of the State.”

She informed that 18 cases of abuse were reported among women in 2021, who were accommodated in the Dar al Wefaq shelter.

The shelter provides care to women and children who have experienced any form of abuse or violence. It also provides temporary shelter, psychosocial support, legal advice and follow-up of these cases in the courts.

“Around 1,650 cases of abuse were reported among children in 2021, of which 49 were accommodated in Dar al Wefaq. The ministry implemented 65 awareness programmes, including training sessions, seminars and educational lectures targeting parents, children and specialists.”

H E Dr Laila added that the ministry seeks to enable Omani women’s associations to be self-financed and reliant by urging their boards of directors to invest in associations’ sites and facilities. She noted that a number of these associations have reached a satisfactory level of financial sustainability.

Addressing Majlis A’Shura, she stated that the number of rehabilitation centres for persons with disabilities now stands at 79, including 31 government centres, 37 private and 11 civil centres (NGOs).

“The number of persons with disabilities registered in rehabilitation centres until the end of 2021 was 4,879. Of these, 2,986 are in government centres, 1,498 in private centres at the expense of the ministry, and 395 are being taken care by private centres.

“These centres provide rehabilitation services in the fields of special education; physical, occupational and speech therapy; psychological and behavioural rehabilitation; and vocational rehabilitation,” H E Dr Laila said.

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