Visiting the Right to Live association for Special Needs makes you instantly feel that the world is a beautiful place. From teachers and founders to talented and energetic members, the association is a safe haven that provides care and training to people with intellectual disabilities of all genders and age brackets. Nora Moustafa, Marketing Manager of the association accompanied us in a tour throughout the buildings and introduced us to members and teachers who made beautiful and fruitful effort.
The incredible success story started out in 1981 by its president Naima Saleh joining forces with another 8 mothers. They took the courtyard of the Delivrande and got in action to provide their children of Special Needs with a place where they can learn, play and most importantly socialize. Four years later, they bought a plot of land in the Sheraton district to establish a four phase project, which included a school, sheltered production workshops, training center for personnel and residential care services then they kicked off end of 1987. In 2010, RTLA registered more than 200 people with various kinds and diagnoses of mental disabilities for different age brackets.
RTLA depend on grants, donations, sponsorships and fundraising events to support the cost of day to day progress and operations. It’s a non-profit organization registered with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. What’s actually great about the association is that the founders strictly insist that board members should be parents of Intellectually Disabled children, the thing that gives the association credibility and effectiveness.
The association provides lots of activities like engaging in community programs that focus on training specialists working in the field, providing parents counseling, creating employment opportunities for the intellectually disabled and participating in national projects that aim at improving services provided to persons with special needs.
The rehabilitation center includes classrooms and workshops where members learn daily living skills through art, music, drama and sports. They also participate in many outdoor activities, like gardening as well as various cultural and educational field trips.
We came across brilliant work done by the members. From candles, bamboo, weaving mats and rugs to fabric printing and carpentry. We also visited the ‘Soap Workshop’ which is a highlight of the association. The workshop is basically a collaboration with Unilever Mashreq to teach members product packaging. The workshop is actually a paid job so members can learn the basics and benefits of securing a job.
It’s great to have a respectful association run by great Egyptian mothers. The Right to Live is a true Egyptian treasure!